Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a Packard Bell Dot S netbook (also called Dot 510 I think), and to get an F3 key press I have to press Fn+F3, pressing just F3 on its own turns the wireless on or off. I make heavy use of the F Keys, so I'd like it if I didn't have to use the Fn key to get them.

My BIOS doesn't seem to have an option to swap them round, is there any way I can do it at the OS Level in Ubuntu?



FWIW here is what is in my bios:

InsydeH20 Setup Utility Rev 3.5


  • CPU type.speed, memory info etc etc


  • Time, Date, Quiet Boot, Network Boot, F12 Boot Menu, D2D Recovery, SATA Mode


  • Set Supervisor Password, Set User password, Set HDD password


  • Boot Order stuff


  • Saving Changes etc etc

Unless there is a hidden page? I recall a BIOS from years ago that had a hidden page. Googling shows nothing tho.

Update 2

Ok, it seems that xmodmad will only work for some keys. The wireless switch key, for example, works even when X is not running, so it must be at a lower level that it is being intercepted. I can't even get the keycodes for this key.

share|improve this question
@fossfreedom See my update... – DaedalusFall Jan 15 '12 at 14:15
Quite likely keytouch will do what you need: If not you can also try xkeyboard. Give them a whirl and see what happens – balloons Jan 15 '12 at 22:24
@DaedalusFall - what version of ubuntu are you using - also can you also try adding "acpi_osi=Linux" as a grub boot option? – fossfreedom Jan 15 '12 at 22:39
... @DaedalusFall - also - what version of your BIOS are you using - it seems 1.16 exists for DOT S... I cant find any release notes but maybe such a keyboard option would have been added in the latest update? – fossfreedom Jan 21 '12 at 20:30
1.16 that I can find says it is not for my netbook. I'll try updating the BIOS if I can find the right one tho. – DaedalusFall Jan 22 '12 at 12:46

You may try remapping your keyboard like they did in this thread. You can use the gui tool xmodmaps to find out the information you need. The command you will most likely need is xmodmap -e 'keycode 69=F3' or something like that.

share|improve this answer

I had the same issue on Dot SC, but it seems that Packard Bell corrected its mistake and finally included in BIOS setup an option to restore normal Function Keys behavior (BIOS ver. 1.9 dated 2012-10-23).

share|improve this answer

From the (un)help file on the HP laptop:

Note: It is not necessary to press the Fn key to use the F1 to F12 function keys when starting your computer or when using the BIOS.

To swap the hotkey and special function of the F1 to F12 keys, change the function key setting in the BIOS (to open the BIOS press F2 when starting your computer, then select the Main menu and change Function key behavior to Function keys).

share|improve this answer
As I have already stated there is no such option in by BIOS. – DaedalusFall Jan 21 '12 at 17:08
Although it does indeed say that in my real physical paper laptop manual. Definately not in the bios tho. – DaedalusFall Jan 21 '12 at 17:28

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.