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How to Choose Whether Your Function Keys are F1-F12 Keys or Special Keys

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Modern laptop and desktop keyboards have a useful set of keys on the top row. Each key represents different actions such as volume, brightness, help, and other features. They may also work like the older version of the F1-F12 keys, but not in this era.

These keys will usually provide special behavior by default, but you can also use them as normal F-keys — for example, for gaming mode in PC. Instead of pressing “Fn” or the function key every time you press a key, you can choose according to what they do by default.


Action change can usually be toggled using the Fn Lock key. If you activate Function Lock, the keys will react as if you pressed the Function key at any time; turn off Function Lock then the keys will work back to normal. In other words, Function Lock is like Shift or Caps lock as long as you press or hold that button, they will work based on their job.

But it still depends on the keyboard you have, you might have a Function Lock key (Fn). If you don’t have one, all you have to do is press the Fn key and then press a “Fn Lock” button to turn it on. Just to give a pattern, on the keyboard below, the Fn Lock key appears as a secondary action to the Esc key. To activate it, just press the Fn key and Esc key. To deactivate it, just do the same thing as you activated it.


Most laptops today that ship with built-in keyboards usually have an option for this in their BIOS or UEFI setup screen. Restart your PC and press the dedicated key to boot up so you can access it on your screen — usually F2, F10 and Del Key — or if you’re not sure about this tutorial, you can also use the new way to access UEFI firmware in Windows 8, 10 and 11. You can browse the internet on the PC model you had before with “Access BIOS” or “Access UEFI”. You can also check your Computer’s manual for your last option.


This option may also find in different locations throughout this OS. With the help of using Windows in a Boot Camp configuration on a Mac laptop or PC, just go to the Boot Camp configuration panel from your system tray and you will see the option written “Use all F1, F2, etc,. key as standard function keys” at the bottom of the Keyboard tab.

When it comes to Mac OS X, this option can be found in the System Preferences window. Just follow these steps: Apple Menu> System Preferences> “Keyboard” icon> “Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys”.

The Dell has included this option in the Windows Mobility Center, and possibly some other PC manufacturers. Just right-click on the Start Menu and then click on “Mobility Center” for you to have access to it on Windows 11, 10, or 8.1. And for Windows 7 users, press Windows Key + X. This option is under “Fn Key Behavior.”

This feature may also be available in a keyboard settings adjustment tool provided by your computer manufacturer. You can find your device’s system tray or Start menu, and it may provide same options to control it. It is not regulated.

So basically, you can edit this setting right on the keyboard by using the Fn Lock key or a hidden Fn Lock shortcut. On some other laptops, this can be found as an option on the BIOS or UEFI settings screen that you can access when restarting or turning on. If all this doesn’t work, look in your keyboard configuration panels in the operating system itself.

And if there is no other solution, look for it in a web search for keyboard or laptop manufacturer and “Fn Lock,” or similar. They should have that details available on internet or in the manufacturer’s manual.

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