The function keys at the top of your keyboard serve as a shortcut to control certain hardware features. For instance, if you want to turn on the backlit keyboard, they allow you to do so by pressing a key, saving you from having to do the same through Windows.
By default, these keys can only be used when you press the dedicated Fn key with them. Nevertheless, you can customize this setting, along with many others, to suit your needs. Here are the different ways you can modify the settings of Windows 10 and 11 function keys.
What Are the Function Keys, and Why Do You Need Them?
Function keys, or just “Fn” for short, are used to trigger functions of the F keys (F1, F2, F3, etc.) on the top of the keyboard. In essence, it acts as a shortcut key for basic yet essential functions like changing the volume, brightness, and backlight.
In most laptops, there are 12 function keys (they used to be a lot more in the older devices), and you can use them by pressing them along with the “Fn” key on your keyboard. So for instance, if you wish to enable the backlit keyboard using the F3 key, you can hold the Fn key and then press F3 to make the desired changes.
We have a detailed guide to function keys where we discuss what all 12 keys do. You can check it out for more insight on the topic.
1. How to Change the Function Key Settings Using the Mobility Settings on Dell Computers
The easiest way to change function keys is by modifying settings within the Windows Mobility Center. This method, however, will only work for those of you using a Dell device.
Here is how to proceed:
- Type Windows Mobility Center in Windows search and click Open.
- Alternatively, launch the Control Panel and navigate to the Hardware and Sound section.
- Click on Windows Mobility Center.
- In the following window, look for the Fn key row section and expand the drop-down under it.
- If you wish to choose the F keys for basic functions, choose Function key.
- Select Multimedia key if you want to use the F keys to perform functions that typically require pressing the Fn key.
If you own other devices, then you might want to look for similar options in the System or keyboard settings. You can also search the manufacturer’s official website for information regarding such customizations.
2. How to Modify the Function Keys Settings in the BIOS
You can also make the changes directly in BIOS, which helps the operating system and the hardware load properly.
The steps of accessing BIOS in different devices can vary. Below, we have discussed the steps of accessing BIOS and making the desired changes in HP. If you own a different device, then it is best to head over to the manufacturer’s website and look for the steps of accessing BIOS there.
- First, turn off your PC.
- Now restart the device and repeatedly press the F10 key. This should successfully launch the BIOS.
- Navigate to System Configuration menu > Action Keys Mode.
- Use the Enter key to enable or disable the features.
- Click Exit to save the changes.
The steps of performing this action in other devices are somewhat similar, if not entirely. For instance, on Acer devices, you need to press the F2 key and the power button together. Then, navigate to System Configuration> Action Keys Mode and use the Enter key to make the changes.
3. How to Change the Function Key Settings Using the UEFI Settings
If you cannot boot into BIOS for some reason, try changing the Fn keys using UEFI settings. UEFI is basically BIOS on steroids, as it offers a bunch of additional functions and is more powerful.
- Press the Win + The keys to open Windows Settings.
- Head over to Update & Security > Recovery.
- Choose Restart now.
- In the following window, select Troubleshoot.
- Click on UEFI Firmware Settings > Restart.
- In the following window, head over to the Configuration tab.
- Select the Hotkey Mode and click on Enabled or Disabled.
- Click Save and then press Exit to sign out of BIOS.
How to Enable the Fn Lock
If you do not want to press the Fn key every time you want to enable / disable any of the 12 functions, you can toggle on the Fn lock. With this feature, the Fn key will appear to always be held down on the keyboard, and you will be able to use any function key without having to first press the Fn key.
In most keyboards, the Fn lock is associated with the Esc key, but it can be different in your device. Typically, these keys have a lock icon on them. You can use the manufacturer’s website to find the lock on your device if you cannot locate a key with a lock icon.
Once you have found the key, hold the Fn key and press the lock key. This will enable the function. You can follow the same steps for disabling it in the future.
Is It a Good Idea To Change Fn Key Settings?
Changes to Fn keys are safe and do not have any negative consequences. The customization options for the keys within Windows are limited, but there are quite a few third-party resources that you can look into if you want to modify keys a step further.
On Windows, you can also disable specific keys on your keyboard so you can avoid accidentally pressing keys you don’t use. As a general rule, if you follow the steps carefully, you should have no problems!
Use the Function Keys Like a Pro
Function keys are great for improving productivity and efficiency. With the right techniques in mind, you can make the most of them. We hope that following the steps above enabled you to modify the setting of your function keys. It is also important to note that all the methods outlined above don’t make a permanent change to the system, so you can always revert the changes.