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