Change Fn key settings in Windows 10

Remember pressing the F5 key to refresh on your Windows 95 computer? It was almost obsessive. In the past, the F1-F12 keys each had only one function, but modern keyboards often include additional functions that you can use with an Fn key (also called the Function key

How are Fn keys useful?

The Fn key turns the F1-F12 keys into dual-purpose keys. Essentially it works like a standard keyboard shortcut, but there is a slight difference. The combinations differ between manufacturers and models. You’ll usually find them on laptops (where you can usually change things like screen brightness), but you’ll also find them on some specialty keyboards (like gaming or productivity boards).

For example, on a Dell XPS15z, Fn + F5 increases the brightness, while on a Lenovo G560 the same combination shows the settings of the wireless device.

In addition to F keys, you can also use Fn keys with other keys such as PgUp, Insert, and arrow keys. Using a combination of Fn along with one of these keys is useful for doing a lot of things, including adjusting the screen brightness, turning the screen off or controlling the volume, and much more. .

However, sometimes you find that simply pressing an F key (without the Fn key) activates a command such as increasing the playback volume. In such cases, you cannot use the F keys for standard keyboard shortcuts, such as pressing the F5 key to refresh.

Here is a simple solution. You can tinker with the settings of the Fn key in several ways, and that’s what we’ll walk you through in this guide.

Disable the Fn Lock

Modern desktop and laptop keyboards have an Fn Lock key (ie a key with a lock icon). In most cases you will find a lock icon on your Esc key, but it is also possible that your keyboard has the lock on the Shift key or the Num Lock key.

When you press Fn + Esc (or the key with the lock icon), it will enable the Fn lock.

Once you’ve done this, you no longer need to press the Fn key to perform functions such as adjusting the screen brightness or turning Wi-Fi or Bluetooth on and off. Just press the appropriate F key and that should work. It’s similar to how you use Caps Lock. You don’t need to hold down the Shift key to type capital letters when Caps Lock is on.

If you’re experiencing something similar, but want to use your standard F keys, you’ll need to disable the Fn lock. You can disable it the same way you would enable it. Press the key with the lock icon along with the Fn key.

Change Fn key settings from Windows

You can also change the settings of the Fn key from within your operating system. If you own a Dell laptop with Microsoft Windows 10 or 8, you can change the function key settings from Windows Mobility Center.

Press Win + X or right click the Start Menu button on Windows 10 to open the power menu and select Mobility Center† You can also go to the Control Panel and navigate to: Hardware and SoundWindows Mobility Center

Select the drop-down menu under the Function key row option under the Adapted by Dell Inc. section. You will see two options here: Function key and Multimedia key

Select Function key if you want to use the F keys for standard functions, and Multimedia key if you want to use F keys to perform functions that would otherwise require you to press the Fn key.

Likewise, on laptops from other manufacturers, you can find the option to change the function key options in the system configuration tool. For example, on Lenovo, you can use the Lenovo Keyboard Manager or the Samsung Settings app on a Samsung laptop to change the behavior of function keys.

Change Fn key settings in BIOS

In most cases, the previous two methods should help you change the settings of the Fn key, but if not, you can use the BIOS settings.

Keep in mind that you shouldn’t mess around with settings you don’t fully understand, as this could make your computer unbootable.

On many, but not all, laptops, you can change the Fn key settings from the BIOS or UEFI firmware. You can access your BIOS settings by rebooting. At startup, press F2, F10, or Delete (keys vary from manufacturer to manufacturer) while your computer is still starting up. Alternatively, you can use the new way to access the BIOS on Windows 10.

At this point, you’ll need to shop around a bit, as UEFI settings are placed under different sections based on the BIOS interface, which varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.

For example, on my HP laptop, the setting is below the System configuration tab. the . modify Action Keys Mode until Switched on makes the F keys function normally, i.e. you need to use the Fn key along with an F key to perform a relevant function.

Fn key makes life easy

If an OS upgrade or an inadvertent change in settings has caused your Fn key not to work as it should, it can be a temporary annoyance.

However, the Fn key is still one of the most useful keys on your keyboard. It eliminates a few clicks for numerous functions and lets you run them by just pressing a combination of keys.

Fn key is also available on various Apple keyboards. If it doesn’t work properly, you can: Troubleshoot Fn Keys on Mac OS also.

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