The function keys at the top of your keyboard serve as shortcuts to control certain hardware functions. For example, if you want to turn on the backlit keyboard, they let you do it by pressing a key, saving you from having to do the same thing through Windows.
By default, these keys can only be used when you press the dedicated Fn key with them. However, you can customize this setting, along with many others, to suit your needs. Here are the different ways you can modify Windows 10 and 11 function key settings.
What are function keys and why do you need them?
The function keys, or just “Fn” for short, are used to activate the functions of the F keys (F1, F2, F3, etc.) at the top of the keyboard. In essence, it acts as a shortcut key for basic but essential functions like changing volume, brightness, and backlight.
On most laptops, there are 12 function keys (there used to be a lot more on older devices), and you can use them by pressing them together with the “Fn” key on your keyboard. So, for example, if you want to enable the backlit keyboard with the F3 key, you can hold down the Fn key and then press F3 to make the desired changes.
We have a detailed guide to the function keys where we discuss what the 12 keys do. You can refer to it for more information on the subject.
1. How to Change Function Key Settings Using Mobility Settings on Dell Computers
The easiest way to change function keys is by changing the settings within the Windows Mobility Center. However, this method will only work for those using a Dell device.
Here is how to proceed:
- Type Windows Mobility Center in Windows search and click Open.
- Alternatively, launch Control Panel and navigate to the hardware and sound section.
- Click on Windows Mobility Center.
- In the next window, find the Fn key row section and expand the drop-down menu below it.
- If you want to choose the F keys for basic functions, choose Function key.
- Select media key if you want to use the F keys to perform functions that normally require you to press the Fn key.
If you own other devices, you may want to look for similar options in system or keyboard settings. You can also search the manufacturer’s official website for information on such customizations.
2. How to modify the function key settings in the BIOS
You can also make changes directly in the BIOS, which helps the operating system and hardware load correctly.
The steps to access the BIOS on different devices may vary. Below we have discussed the steps to access the BIOS and make the desired changes in HP. If you have a different device, it’s best to go to the manufacturer’s website and look up the steps to access the BIOS there.
- First, shut down your PC.
- Now reboot the device and repeatedly press the F10 key. This should successfully boot into the BIOS.
- navigate to System setup menu > Action keys mode.
- Use the Get into key to enable or disable functions.
- Click Departure to save the changes.
The steps to perform this action on other devices are somewhat similar, if not entirely. For example, on Acer devices, you need to press the F2 key and the power button at the same time. Then go to System Settings > Action Keys Mode and use the Enter key to make your changes.
3. How to change function key settings using UEFI settings
If you can’t boot into BIOS for some reason, try changing the Fn keys using UEFI settings. UEFI is basically BIOS on steroids as it offers a ton of extra features and is more powerful.
- press the Victory + i keys to open Windows Settings.
- Go to Update and security > Recovery.
- Choose Restart Now.
- In the next window, select Solve problems.
- Click on UEFI Firmware Settings > Restart.
- In the next window, go to the Setting tab.
- Select the Shortcut key mode and click Activated either disabled.
- Click Save money and then press Departure to log out of BIOS.
How to enable Fn lock
If you don’t want to press the Fn key every time you want to enable or disable any of the 12 functions, you can turn on the Fn lock. With this feature, the Fn key will appear to always be pressed on the keyboard and you can use any function key without having to press the Fn key first.
On most keyboards, the Fn lock is associated with the Esc key, but it may be different on your device. These keys usually have a lock icon on them. You can use the manufacturer’s website to find the lock on your device if you can’t find a key with a lock icon.
Once you have found the key, hold down the Fn key and press the lock key. This will enable the feature. You can follow the same steps to disable it in the future.
Is it a good idea to change the Fn key setting?
Changes to the Fn keys are safe and have no negative consequences. Key customization options within Windows are limited, but there are plenty of third-party resources you can check out if you want to take your keys a step further.
In Windows, you can also disable specific keys on your keyboard to avoid accidentally pressing keys you don’t use. As a general rule, if you follow the steps carefully, you shouldn’t have any problems!
Use function keys like a pro
Function keys are great for improving productivity and efficiency. With the proper techniques in mind, you can make the most of them. We hope that following the steps above enabled you to modify your function key settings. It is also important to note that all of the methods described above do not make a permanent change to the system, so you can always revert the changes.