Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Turn Fn or function key lock on or off on newer HP laptops

I purchased a stack of Compaq Presario CQ56-115DX laptops the other day because they were super cheap and fit their purpose almost perfectly. However, it would require using the F1-F12 keys a lot. I found that out of the box, you had to hold down Fn in order to do that. By default the special actions on each key was used instead. I did some searching trying to find a way to lock the function keys and luckily I was able to find one. HP calls them Action Keys, and it's a BIOS setting. Disabling Action Keys allows you to use F1-F12 by default, and enabling it lets you adjust the brightness, change the volume, etc without needing to hold Fn. You can find the official HP document here. Otherwise here's how to do it:

1. Turn on the computer
2. Press F10 as soon as you see the HP or Compaq splash screen. This should take you into the BIOS
3. Once the BIOS settings load, go to System Configuration using the arrow keys
4. Press the down key to get to Action Keys
5. Press F5 or F6 to toggle between Enabled/Disabled. Enabled will change the brightness or change volume, disabled will allow using F1-F12
6. Press F10 to save the settings and exit

8 comments:

Pierre said...

Great, thanks for the tip -- hard to find this info on t'internet

Anonymous said...

I think that this function is very poorly designed by HP. The user should be able to switch the fn key functionality on the fly. If someone knows of a way to do that please post it on here.

葉工頭 said...

The feature is re-active after resume from hibernation, the BIOS is untouched. very troublesome.

rslygh said...

If it reactivates on its own then I'd talk to HP directly because your machine would have to have some sort of problem they would need to address. Hibernation should have no effect on the BIOS since the BIOS is pre-OS load.

TravisHeeter said...

How does one deactivate the left-side keys that activate special functions? Especially the dvd one, that is so annoying because it's right next to the tab, I always hit it.

Anonymous said...

I tried for months to "correct" the issue. Thanks for the solution. It was easy but for me was painful working in the pre-load function

Anonymous said...

there is another way to use f1-f12 keys original function ... using the "alt gr" key in the right of the space tab.
press and hold alt gr + f3

but the combination with f11 and f12 doesn't seem to work ... what to do ... i only know that it works on f5 so that's the story...

there is also on HP.COM the manual of your product in pdf ;)

rslygh said...

To the previous comment you can use the Fn key, or whatever key it may be on your machine, to activate the actual F1-F12 functions when it's in default mode. However, this article explains how to change that so you don't need to use Fn at all to get to those features so I think you missed the point.