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My Dell laptop (XPS 15z) has special keys on the F1 to F12 keys. If I want to disable keyboard backlight, for example, I must type Fn + F6.

  • Is it possible to invert it?

In fact, I don't often use the F* keys.

  • How can I only hit F6 to disable the backlight and Fn + F6 to type F6?

  • Is it possible?

Thanks.

  • People here I recommend going to the top voted answer not the accepted answer. It is much easier to do ctrl-esc than to mess around in bios. FYI. – neuronet Jun 22 '17 at 0:49
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    I updated the accepted answer. – Gp2mv3 Jan 5 '18 at 11:13
  • You can switch behaviour of function keys (to function with or without Fn key).. use Fn + Esc (fn padlock icon icon) – Chanuka Asanka Jul 15 '19 at 3:55
308

I am not sure if it works for all models, but on mine if you press Fn+Esc it changes the Fn lock so that F1+F12 work as normal and when you hold Fn+(lets say F11) it will change the brightness or whatever that keys secondary function is. Pressing Fn+Esc again reverts it back to default. Hope this helps.

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  • 13
    Gah, thank you for posting this! I accidentally pressed this without even realizing such a feature exists. Would go hunting around BIOS if you hadn't helped! – kaqqao Nov 11 '15 at 0:31
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    Wow that is an awful default toggle to have on a row that is so similar to the intended row. Why this isn't the accepted answer is a rare glitch in the SO matrix. – neuronet Jun 22 '17 at 0:48
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    This is a better answer as it is an easier option. Wondering why this is not marked as answer! – Raul Jul 29 '17 at 1:41
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    I always did it changing BIOS but didn't found this option in my new notebook. Fn+Esc worked, to be honest Esc even has a padlock icon but I was unable to figure out alone. – iurisilvio Jun 8 '18 at 15:46
  • Did not work on HP tre -1025 – virtualxtc Jun 22 '18 at 8:29
56

It should be possible to do it in the BIOS. Quoting the XPS 15z manual:

  1. Press F2 during POST (Power On Self Test) to enter the System Setup (BIOS) utility.

  2. In the Function Key Behavior, select Multimedia Key First or Function Key First.

    • Function Key First — This is the default option. Press any function key to perform the associated function. For multimedia action, press Fn + the required multimedia key.
    • Multimedia Key First — Press any multimedia key to perform the associated multimedia action. For function, press Fn + the required function key.
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  • This works for a different model Dell laptop I have as well, and I would suspect for anything else with Dell's BIOS (don't have experience with any other vendors). – zpletan Mar 13 '12 at 14:11
  • This also works for my Lenovo (Flex 2) Laptop. No 2 options as mentioned above, just an enable and disable option. – blo0p3r Sep 18 '14 at 3:36
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    On a new Dell XPS 13, the option is under "POST Behavior", "Fn Lock Options" – JavadocMD Jun 18 '15 at 20:59
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    If enabled in the BIOS (which I assume it is by default), you can toggle the behavior of the Fn key with the Fn+Esc hotkey. – airstrike Jan 31 '16 at 22:11
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On mine, the problem was that the NumLk key had been pressed. Pressing it again holding the Fn key reverted the Fn key back.

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  • This works for my laptop only 1 time (1 F-key click) after pressing and loding NumLk+Fn. Then it does not work again. – rightaway717 Dec 7 '18 at 13:54

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