Not every laptop has a standard full-sized keyboard like traditional desktops. Space is limited, but quick access to main functions must be organized for the user’s comfort. Laptop manufacturers often bind additional functions to the F1-F12 line of keys and add additional Fn key to for users to access those functions. Without those functional buttons using your laptop becomes inconvenient as they let you adjust brightness quickly, turn the volume up or down, and perform other actions.
After reinstalling Windows
After reinstalling an operating system and occasionally in some other cases, most Windows users find out that their Fn key is not working. So it becomes impossible to use additional functions assigned to F1-F12 keys, which makes using a laptop less convenient. In this article, we will explain why the Fn key might not respond and how to fix it.
Why pressing my Fn key has no effect?
If we exclude the possibility of the mechanical damage done to the keyboard, there are two possible scenarios for “Fn key not working” – Windows errors or BIOS-related issues. Here are the most common causes of this problem:
- Your device is missing specific laptop drivers including those in charge of the Fn key. This usually happens with users who have reinstalled their Windows and installed drivers from the “all-in-one” driver package that contain multiple drivers for main computer components. The same issue might happen after installing old drivers from a disc – highly likely they are not compatible with the current operating system (usually Windows 10).
- Your laptop needs dedicated software for the Fn key to function as intended. This software is created by the laptop manufacturer. It runs in the background all the time – and if it is not, then your Fn key is good for nothing.
- BIOS settings have been altered, and your Fn key was disabled in the process. Keep in mind that not every laptop model allows disabling the Fn key via BIOS.
Modern market is flooded with various laptop models from numerous manufacturers. It is understandable that they use different software and the methods for fixing the Fn key will not be the same. To get out of this tricky situation, we will go with examples. We selected five popular laptop brands for this guide, and now we will explain the course of action in each particular scenario.
Fn key not working on Lenovo laptops
Lenovo is one of the most popular laptop brands today. If you have their laptop with a dead Fn key, you need to go to their official website, find a support page, select a product you need drivers for, and download them. Lenovo’s official website is not very user-friendly and might difficult to navigate, so we recommend using a standard search engine and typing “your laptop model + needed driver.” The link to the official website would be among first suggestions. Another important detail: the website has tons of drivers for downloading and sometimes it is not clear which driver pack you should download for your laptop model. Here is what you need to know:
- Hotkey Features Integration for Windows 10 – a list of all laptop models compatible with the driver package.
- Lenovo Energy Management – this package will work with the most recent Lenovo laptops.
- Lenovo OnScreen Display Utility – this tool enables function keys. It is part of the Hotkey Features Integration pack, but you can download this utility separately.
We need to mention that Lenovo laptop owners have problems only with a few function keys not working such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. In this situation, the user must download drivers for the wireless adapters from the Lenovo website separately. If the problem is not Windows-based and drivers are ok, the BIOS settings must be checked. Depending on the model of the laptop, BIOS might have different menus such as “HotKey Mode” and “Fn and Ctrl Key Swap.”
Fn key not working on ASUS laptops
If the Fn key is not working on a laptop produced by ASUS, it means that required drivers are not installed on the device, or they are not included in the Windows startup list. There are two conditions to be met in order for the Fn key to work:
- You must have a specific driver pack installed on your laptop: it is called ATKPackage — ATKACPI driver and hotkey-related utilities. It can be downloaded from the official ASUS website (but we recommend using a search engine and typing “your laptop model + support” to save time). On the website you will need to select the version of your operating system and its type (32-bit or 64-bit), then click on the needed driver pack from the list, download and install them.
- When everything is done right, you will see a process hcontrol.exe run in the background in Task Manager (press Ctrl+Shift+Esc and go to the Startup tab to check). The process is added to run automatically on startup after the ATKPackage installation.
Usually, Asus laptops don’t have any options that allow users to enable/disable or change how the Fn key works via BIOS.
Fn key not working on Acer laptops
We find Acer’s official website very helpful and user-friendly. It lets you find any drivers you need with ease in a matter of seconds for any laptop model. You just need to open “Drivers and manuals” section and enter serial, SNID, or model number. Don’t forget to select the version of the operating system you are currently using (including 32-bit and 64-bit variants). After that, you will see a list of available drivers.
In order to fix the non-responding Fn key, you need to install a chipset driver pack. Plus, don’t forget to install an app called Launch Manager. If this does not help, you should try to install the Acer Power Manager application.
Note: after installing Launch Manager, the app will run automatically when Windows starts. If you delete the application from the list of startup programs, functional keys might not work again.
Fn key not working on HP laptops
In order to find drivers for a specific laptop produced by HP, you need to do the following:
- Open your search engine and type “your laptop model + support” (the link to the official website will be among first search results).
- When on the website, go to the section with software and drivers.
- Select the version of the operating system installed on your laptop.
- You will see a list of drivers available for download. To make the Fn key active again, you are going to need this software:
- HP Software Framework
- HP On-Screen Display
- HP Quick Launch
- HP Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI)
After installing all required apps, reboot your laptop and check whether the Fn key is back to life. We also want to mention that HP’s laptops allow users to customize the Fn key settings. For instance, you can set the button to be active all the time, which means that F1-F12 keys will work only when you are holding Fn and function keys will work without even touching the Fn button. The Fn settings can be found in the “System Configuration” section in the menu “Action Keys Mode.”
Fn key not working on DELL laptops
If a Dell laptop owner has discovered that the Fn key is not responding to commands, they also need to download a driver package that enables function keys. There are three applications that must be downloaded from the Dell website and installed on the laptop: Dell Power Manager Lite Application, Dell QuickSet Application, and Dell Foundation Services – Application.
Note: if the problem with the non-functioning Fn key has appeared on a laptop with older versions of Windows (Windows Vista or Windows XP, for example), then you will also need to download an additional app called Dell Function Keys.
All drivers we mentioned above must be downloaded for the specific laptop model and correct version of the operating system. This is what you need to do:
- Go to the official Dell website (Support – Drivers and Downloads section) and detect with SupportAssist your laptop model. If you don’t want to use the online utility, then you can just type your Dell Service tag, Product ID and model, or just browse the list of laptops to find yours.
- In the next menu, you need to specify your operating system and a category of drivers (if needed).
- After that you will see all a list with drivers and apps – all you have to do now is to download and install them.
We also want to mention that issues with the Fn key on Dell laptops can be caused by the wrong (or altered) BIOS settings. It is like with HP products – users can customize how the Fn key behaves (it may or may not require holding to use function keys). You can check current settings in the “Advanced” section in BIOS – look for a submenu called “Function key behavior.”