This post shows how to change what the Fn keys do in Windows 11/10. The Fn or the Function key is a meta-modifier key used to activate secondary functions or special features on certain keys. The functionality of the Fn key depends on the keyboard manufacturer and model.
One thing I did not like about my Windows laptop keyboard was the behavior of the Function and Multimedia keys – that is, the topmost row in the keyboard. On my earlier one, I was used to pressing the key to activate the Function keys like F1, F2, etc., and to press Fn key + the F1, F2 key to activate the multimedia operations like Speaker on or off, Search, etc.
Swap or change Function key behavior in Windows laptops
I wanted to change this behavior; ie. I wanted to interchange, swap or inverse keyboard Function and Multi-media keys back to the one I was used to, and here are two ways you can do it.
How to change what the Fn Keys do in Windows 11/10
The method to change what the Fn key does is different for every manufacturer. However, one of these methods should help you:
- Via System BIOS
- Via UEFI Firmware Settings
- Via Windows Mobility Center
Let’s now see these in detail.
1] Via BIOS
The system BIOS can also be used to change the functionality of the Fn key. This method works in HP, Dell, Acer and most other devices. Here’s how:
- Open your device’s BIOS.
- In the System BIOS, navigate to the System Configuration menu and select Action Keys Mode.
- Press the Enter key to enable or disable it.
- Click on Exit to save the changes.
On Some laptops, you can see the following screen.
On such laptops, restart your Windows computer, and when it starts booting, press the F2 key to enter the BIOS settings.
Press the Advanced tab and double-click on Function key behavior. Change the setting from Multimedia key to Function key.
2] Via UEFI Firmware Settings
UEFI offers a graphical UI and allows navigating using a mouse and keyboard. You can modify the Fn button’s behavior by altering the UEFI Firmware Settings. Here’s how:
- Press Windows + I to open Settings.
- Navigate to System > Recovery and click on Restart now beside Advanced startup.
- Once you boot into the Windows Recovery Environment, select Troubleshoot > UEFI Firmware Settings > Restart.
- The UEFI Firmware settings will now open; navigate to the Configuration tab.
- Click on Hotkey Mode and select Enabled or Disabled.
NOTE: Entering the BIOS/UEFI and changing settings is normally not advisable – especially if you are not used to it. I, therefore, recommend you follow the next method.
Read: Function (Fn) keys not working on Windows laptop
3] Via Windows Mobility Center
You can easily change the Function key behavior using the Windows Mobility Center.
To open the Windows Mobility Center, open the Run box, type mblctr and hit Enter. It goes without saying that you can also access it via Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Windows Mobility Center > Adjust commonly used mobility settings.
Under Function Key Row, from the drop-down menu
Select the Function key instead of Multimedia key.
In this way, you can interchange, swap, or inverse keyboard Function (Fn) and Multi-media keys on your laptop.
What does the Fn key do on Windows 11?
The Fn or Function key is a modifier key that works somehow like a Shift key and helps activate the second feature of the dual-purpose keys. However, the functionality of the Fn key can change according to the key combination used. Note that its functionality can also depend on what manufacturer’s keyboard you’re using.
Why are my Fn buttons not working in Windows 11?
The Fn buttons may not work if the keyboard drivers are outdated and corrupted. Update them and see if the error gets fixed. However, if that doesn’t help, the problem may be with your keyboard; use a different keyboard to see if the error still appears.
NOTE: Please read the comment by David Joseph below.