How do I lock and unlock the FN key? Function keys are special keys to perform system-related tasks instantly without going anywhere in settings or control panel or no combination of different keys is required to perform the desired system task. On the keyboards of laptops, as well as keyboards used with desktops or PCs, a topmost row is referred to as Function keys row which has 12 special task keys labeled as F1 to F12. These keys act as shortcuts, for performing some special tasks which include saving files, maximize or minimize web browsers, and refresh the page.
The function which is performed by these FN keys can be different in different operating systems or some special application software. Normally, standard operations that are performed by these function keys are pre-defined and specific. Like the F1 key is used as the “Help” key. In the Windows Operating System, in an open and active window, you press the F1 key, it provides you help about that. Same as F2 key is used to re-name any selected object, file, icon or shortcut, etc. While it is also used to enter in BIOS setup when pressed at the time of starting of a laptop or computer. F3 is used to open the search option at Windows desktop. Similarly, combinations of F3 and Ctrl or Shift key perform other different tasks.
Additional Functions of Function keys
Nowadays, standard function keys are also used for additional functions which are required for routine working of users. These additional functions are increasing or decreasing screen brightness, increasing or decreasing volume of sound, power usage like sleep, on or off Wi-Fi, keyboard backlit control, and some others like these. Sometimes, when dual-task is performed by these standard function keys, then these keys are called Action keys as well as function keys also. The action of every key is also printed on every key along with the labeling of the respective function key.
Lock Function key
Locking of the function key is referred to the procedure of changing the functionality of Function keys to its original task. Because, by default, these keys performed their additional action instead of default function. To lock the function key, mainly two methods are used which are described below.
On almost all keyboards of laptops, a special key is provided which is labeled as ‘Fn’. This key is used independently and with a combination of different other keys. This ‘Fn’ is mostly present on the left lower corner of the keyboard between the “Ctrl” and the windows key. As shown in the below pic.
In a very simple way, by pressing and holding this ‘Fn’ key on the keyboard, function keys are become locked which can be pressed to perform the default task. This way is used in most of the keyboards of laptops.
In another way, an additional key which is labeled as “Fn Lock” is given along with the ‘Fn’ key. Both keys are press simultaneously to lock the function key. In many keyboards, the left shift or Caps Lock key is designated as the “Fn Lock” key. For reference, you can see the below pic.
In some other keyboards, a dedicated ‘Fn Lock’ key is provided to toggle between locking and un-licking function keys, as shown in the below image. In the following pic, the Esc key is used as the secondary task of “Fn Lock”. By pressing and hold the ‘Fn key’ this “Fn Lock” is pressed to lock the function keys. While, to unlock, press, and hold the ‘Fn key” and press Esc key.
Other than these few ways, to lock the function keys of the keyboard, in some machines, different key combinations of “Fn key” are also used. In these combinations, the general keys of keyboards including Ctrl, Shift, Alt, or even Caps Lock is used.
These were the different ways to lock the Function key of the keyboard by using ‘Fn key’. Now I tell you the procedure of lock and un-lock function keys from BIOS which is also known as firmware and is present in ROM of laptop or PC. Basic-Input-Output-System is a program that is provided by the manufacturer to control the hardware configurations and settings including keyboard.
Function key lock/un-lock from BIOS
For the settings of your keyboard from BIOS, restart your laptop and when logo screen has appeared on the monitor, press any of key like F1, F2, F10, Esc or Delete key or some manufacturer uses a combination of different keys including Ctrl and Alt. These keys are different in different company’s laptops and PC’s. After entering the BIOS setup, you will see different menus there including Main, Settings, and Exit, etc. The menu which contains the settings of the keyboard can also be changed in a different model of laptops. Mostly it is available in Settings Menu or Advanced Menu of BIOS setup. Either it is Settings or Advance, when you enter that menu, there will be an option that controls this feature and you are required to change this. Below is the screenshot from which you can easily understand this procedure.
In laptops of HP, the words to this operation are changed. These function keys are referred to as “Action keys” there and you can Enable or Disable their properties after entering the BIOS settings of hp laptops. The screenshot is given below for a better understanding.
In the case of Windows 8 or Windows 10, instead of traditional BIOS settings, a new interface is used by Microsoft to perform the system settings. That interface is called Unified Extendable Firmware Interface which is also abbreviated as UEFI. If you want to enter this interface, restart your machine while pressing the SHIFT key.
When your machine gets restart it directly takes you in the UEFI menu from where you can change your required settings.
These are the different methods by using which you can control the functionality of these special keys available on your keyboard which are called with different names including Action Keys, Tasks Keys, or Multimedia keys along with their generic name of Function keys according to their behavior.