I want to prevent my machine firmware from mapping the function keys on the keyboard in the way that HP thinks that they should be mapped, and map them in the way that I think that they should be mapped.

I have an HP ENVY laptop (but I suspect that this could apply to any Windows PC, at least with this HP firmware) running Windows 8.1.

In my opinion, HP has it backwards with Function keys.

HP is now, on models such as the Envy1, setting up the function key row on such systems as what it calls action keys. This is how they are configured in the factory default, now.2. It gives the keyboard uses like these:
* F2/F3 dim display/brighten display
* F5 keyboard backlight toggle
* F6/F7/F8 sound volume control
* et cetera

I prefer the "traditional" mapping:
* F2 rename file in folder; edit Excel cell; ...
* F3 repeat search
* F5 refresh
* et cetera

Whenever HP updates the BIOS, it resets the function keys to its factory default "action key" mappings. And then next time that I reboot these changes appear.

Now I could reboot my machine again, enter the firmware SETUP utility, and manually re-program the keys to my chosen settings, and then reboot a third time. The weblog post cited below3 explains how to re-set things this way.

But is there a way to display and change these keyboard mappings from within Windows at runtime, so that I do not have to reboot in order to set the keyboard back to the way that I like it?


  1. Disable The Fn + Function Key Combination on Certain Models. Support. HP.
  2. "Using the action keys". HP Envy 15 User Guide. HP. p.26.
  3. GizmoGladstone (2012-05-01). HOW-TO: Disable The Fn + Function on HP Laptops. The Next Bench. HP.
  • 1
    Unlikely; the reboot requirement is determined by the BIOS and how it works
    – Ramhound
    Mar 28 '15 at 11:25
  • ideally, if this can be done, open source software is preferable because it is the easiest to vet; equally good is software from a trusted website like Mark Russinovich's "Windows Sysinternals" which has a gazillion useful utilities but AFAIK not one for this purpose.
    – gerryLowry
    Mar 28 '15 at 16:11
  • if it can not be done, is there an open source or trustworthy utility that at least allows me to view the BIOS while Windows is running?
    – gerryLowry
    Mar 28 '15 at 16:15
  • DmiDecode for Windows might be useful. Not sure it will give you what you need re the HP action keys setting though. Source code is available (GPL).
    – DavidPostill
    Mar 29 '15 at 9:34
  • Does HP BIOS Configuration Utility work with your HP model? ftp.hp.com/pub/caps-softpaq/cmit/whitepapers/…
    – DavidPostill
    Mar 29 '15 at 9:44

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