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I have this problem on my laptop: If my Fn key is pressed, the normal (PC-like) F1 - F12 keys will be triggered; when it isn't, then the special keys will be triggered (e.g. brightness control, sound volume).

Is there any way I can invert this, so that when I press the Fn key the special keys will be triggered and when I don't the F1 - F12 keys will?

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14 Answers 14

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That's probably due to an extra option in the BIOS made by the manufacturer. When booting press F2 (usually) to get into the BIOS settings and there you can revert back to function keys instead of multimedia.

Have you tried to press the numbers lock key to change the fn keys functions?

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On my Dell XPS 15, it seems to be as simple as me accidentally pressing the Fn Lock button behind the Escape key. If you have this problem, simply hit Fn+Esc and it should revert back to normal, without having to go into the BIOS

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  • 5
    Also some ThinkPad laptops (in my case me E440), the Fn+Esc solved the problem. Thanx! Dec 26, 2015 at 9:21
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    Excellent! I didn't even see that little lock symbol with FN inside it on the ESC key. Kinda obvious once you know what it is. :o)
    – Kenny
    Apr 27, 2017 at 14:57
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    Oh wow, what a lifesaver! Sep 4, 2018 at 1:15
  • Even worked on my non Laptop Keyboard "Leopold FC 660M" (I pressed "FN + 1" to revert back to normal). Oct 17, 2018 at 12:22
  • On my Dell Inspiron 7786 FN+ESC switch between Functions and Multimedia ... Thanks
    – Fabrice T
    Apr 28, 2019 at 18:11
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On my Dell laptop I pressed Fn + Esc and the problem is solved for me. If you closely notice, there is a small lock (Fn written on it) sign on the Esc. Apparently, you can change the default behavior of Fn key using Fn + Esc.

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It depends on the manufacturer, and sometimes even on the model. Some keyboards have a physical switch hidden somewhere, some keyboards support pressing fn+caps, others require changing a setting in the bios.

The last resort, which is far from ideal but works on all models, is the software approach using AutoHotKey.

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  • Unfortunately, my new gaming laptop (Gigabyte Aero) completely lacks any way to invert the Fn key (no Fn lock feature in bios, etc.) So your suggestion offers the only hope!
    – Stabledog
    Sep 23, 2019 at 12:17
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Some Microsoft keyboards will recognize this keystroke as a toggle: “Fn” + “Caps”

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I had the same problem using a Lenovo Ideapad.

Solution for me was to turn off laptop, press the NOVO key, (reset and systems start, small button next to the powercord) and start up in bios mode.

In functions change the fn/fx option from "hotkey" to "legacy"

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  • Another solution for Lenovo usb keyboard is installing a driver which I had to use, anyone interested see this accepted answer superuser.com/questions/752800/…
    – Whome
    Nov 26, 2016 at 9:02
  • If you installed "Lenovo Vantage" and enabled its toolbar you can open it and toggle the "F1" symbol
    – xarantolus
    Jul 8, 2020 at 7:20
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I had the same issue with a Logitech K290 Comfort Keyboard keyboard where for some reason it appeared that Logitech had decided for me that I would be better off with the keys switched.

Once I downloaded the setup software (SetPoint) I was able to untick "Swap F key functions" and it went back to normal behaviour (thankfully, as with software development the last thing you want is to keep choosing that you actually want the function key you pressed!).

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All you have to do is to search for Windows Utility Center or Mobility Center. To get this option press Windows+X which gets you a a popup menu in the left corner of the screen. From there select Mobility Center or Windows Utility Center, and from there assign for your function keys.

Screenshot

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    "assign for your function keys", assign what? Is there an option there to invert the Fn key?
    – Arjan
    May 15, 2016 at 9:53
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    Some manufactures add a custom option here to invert the fn key.
    – BeeOnRope
    Aug 9, 2016 at 2:56
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Samsung laptops have Fn Lock key between F12 and PrtScr / Insert.

Though the result is slightly different - it does not revert function of Fn key, but works as if it was always on (unlike Caps Lock).

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For HP, press the F10 key to open BIOS Setup when starting the computer, then navigate to find Action Keys Mode, and toggle the selection.

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    On my HP EliteBook the default setting is also that the fn button is inverse (i.e. when you press any of the function keys, like F1 for help or F5 to refresh, then instead of triggering the Funtion-keys, it changes the volume or something random), very annoying. I noticed my fn key can be 'locked' so that it would trigger the f-keys correctly. Holding my Shift+fn key locks the fn key so it is inverse. My fn key has a background light to indicate when it is locked.
    – Spyder
    Aug 7, 2018 at 13:53
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You need to restart (to enter in BIOS) your computer to change this.

While first black screen comes Press F2 (this may differ in your laptop).

If a bios screen (may be unknown to you) appear then find Function Key Behavior select Multimedia Key First or Function Key First.

Function Key First

This is the default option. Press any function key to perform the associated function. For multimedia action, press Fn + the required multimedia key.

Multimedia Key First

Press any multimedia key to perform the associated multimedia action. For function, press Fn + the required function key.

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  • This answer only applies to a certain manufacturer's BIOS. You should specify which manufacturer you're referring to. It is not a universally-true concept.
    – Stabledog
    Sep 23, 2019 at 12:19
  • @Stabledog I have tested this in DELL and used similar functionality in HP. Sep 24, 2019 at 11:40
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On Dell machines, this is a very trivial process.

On boot, hit F2 and enter the Setup Utility. Go to Advance > Function key behavior > Select Multimedia key, and you should find what you are looking for.

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On my Samsung Notebook 9 Pro, there is a "FN Lock" key to the right of the F12 key that reverses the FN buttons. It lights up like the Capslock key when it is activated so you always know when its on.

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On an HP Elitebook I had to press Fn + Fn lock to revert to the previous state.

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