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How to toggle Fn keys on Windows 10

A Windows 10 laptop has Fn or Function keys at the top. They perform two different functions; media control, and general app control. In order to switch between these actions, users must hold down the Fn key when they tap one of these keys.

The Fn key will switch the state/function of the Function keys from their primary to their secondary one. This key works like the Shift key i.e., it must be held down in order to use the secondary function of the Function keys. It doesn’t act as an on/off switch.

Toggle Fn keys on Windows 10

You can easily change the primary function of the Function keys on a Windows 10 laptop however, you have to go through BIOS to do so. If you’d like to be able to change the primary function of these keys from inside Windows 10 though, you’re going to have to settle for an Fn key that toggles the functions.

Hardware limitations

The Fn key can be ‘locked’ i.e. it can enter an On state where the Function keys will execute their secondary function. When the Fn key is turned Off, the Function keys will revert to their primary function.

This can all be done from Windows 10 and you don’t have to boot to BIOS but, it depends on the keyboard that you have. Your keyboard must have a key that can lock the Fn key (see Escape key in screenshot below). 

Toggle Function keys

To enable the Fn key lock, follow these steps.

  1. Tap the F1 key on your keyboard and see what it does to determine the primary function of the key.
  2. Tap and hold the Fn key on your keyboard.
  3. While holding the Fn key, tap the Fn lock key and then release both keys.
  4. Tap the F1 key and it will execute its secondary function.
  5. To unlock the Function keys, hold down the Fn key.
  6. While holding down the Fn key, tap the Fn lock key once and release both keys.
  7. The function keys will revert back to their primary function.

Conclusion

Function keys are often useful in games but if their primary action is set to control media, brightness, WiFi, etc on the system instead of giving the game (or any other app) control over it, they cannot be used within the game. You won’t really find apps that can toggle the Fn keys on the fly or add a virtual ‘Fn lock’. If your keyboard doesn’t have an Fn lock key, you’re out of luck.

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