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Does a new USB keyboard work immediately on a laptop?

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I've got an old Toshiba Equium EA-60 which has key input problems. For a long time the keyboard has been unpredictably unreliable.

In order to get started I have to enter a date and time (battery which keeps these is worn out) and then a Toshiba password. I can't do this with the existing keyboard because not all keys work, and I only have a limited number of goes at the Toshiba password so don't want to keep trying.

I want to try an external USB keyboard, but I will have to buy one. Before I do this, I want to ask if this keyboard will work straight off without any installation (obviously until I get logged in I can't carry out any hardware installation).

I hope the USB keyboard will show me if it is the existing keyboard which is faulty, or something else, but if I can't use it to get past the first screens then it can't help me with this.

Thanks for any help.
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Usually the USB keyboard should work but in some machines the BIOS have one option to control if the USB keyboard is enabled or not.
The option could clearly talk about USB mouse or generically say USB legacy support.
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