Not sure if this is common but when I unplug my laptop the screen gets dimmed out. I'd like to stop that so it keeps going on full lights. How can I do this?

I'm using windows xp.

  • 1
    Which laptop model?
    – splattne
    Jul 25, 2009 at 15:26

4 Answers 4


Most (all?) modern laptops have function keys beind the F-keys. These can be accessed by using

fn + F1..F12

It's quite common to have the ability to adjust the brightness of the screen through these keys as well.

From my experience you can remove the power and adjust this to your liking, and windows will remember this the next time you operate without power connected.

  • Oh man, you rock so much! And I wish SU was launched 1 year earlier so I hadn't lived with dim laptop lights and needed glasses to be put on me Jul 25, 2009 at 16:17
  • For anyone curious it was Function key + F4 that did the job for me, function key + F5 reduces the brightness Jul 25, 2009 at 16:18
  • glad I could be of help :)
    – pavsaund
    Jul 25, 2009 at 18:01
  • Changing to performance mode or the XP equivalent should have the setting too? If not make a custom performance setting that doesn't dim
    – Chris S
    Jul 25, 2009 at 18:17
  • Are you referring to the power-scheme? From the default UI it isn't possible to change this setting in XP. It is possible that one of the built-in power settings may have this though (varies by manufacturer).
    – pavsaund
    Jul 25, 2009 at 18:32

On some laptops you can edit these options on BIOS in Power Management tab (on my IBM Thinkpad T42 it came as normal or extended brightness). It largely depends on the manufacturer though.


Do keep in mind that by keeping your screen as bright, or even brighter then when it is plugged into an outlet, will mean that you will drain the battery life considerably quicker then keeping it at the lower, default setting.

On most, modern laptops there is an entire second set of keys on a keyboard that will only be activated when you use the function key in conjunction with them. They are usually highlighted in blue and are located to the mid-right of each of whatever the normal character is.

So if I, for example, wanted to brighten my laptop screen I would hold Fn + ↑, as the alternate function for the ↑ key is a sun with a second arrow pointing upward, if I wanted to dim the screen, I would hit Fn + ↓, as the corresponding blue function key is pointing down. There are some laptops where the bright/dim keys are located in slightly different areas, but it shouldn't be too hard to locate.

On a related side note: Some laptops, like the one that I own (Dell Inspiron 1525) have actually managed to include the entire numeric keypad that are often used to preform quick mathematical tasks in programs like Calc.exe. On my keyboard, it starts towards the bottom with M - ? (0, .(decimal point) and +) and proceeds up and to the left, all the way up to 7 - 0 (7, 8, 9, and /)

It can be quite interesting to find out some of the lesser know features that have managed to make it into the keyboard.

Note: I would have included a few more links to clear things up a bit, but I'm stuck with a new user status.

  • Do you mean that if i have my laptop at full brightness when its plugged in, but i dim it down when running on battery, that will cause it to consume the battery life quicker when it runs in battery? Aug 15, 2009 at 10:11

As far as I know there is no option for "screen dimming" in the Windows XP Power Options.

You'll have to check if the manufacturer of the laptop provides a tool/utility where you can change or fine-tune your powersaving options.

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