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How to Use Function Keys on My Dell Laptop

Updated April 17, 2017

Dell Corp. formed in 1988 and global expansion was rapid, placing Dell computers in many homes and businesses around the world. While known for their ease of use, some Dell laptops have one counter-intuitive feature that might prove difficult for new users. The function keys across the top of the keyboard (commonly known as "F1,", "F2" etc.) often appear to have reverse functionality, meaning the media functions assigned to the keys by Dell are primary and the standard Windows functions are secondary.

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  1. Locate the function keys, positioned horizontally across the top of your Dell laptop's keyboard.

  2. Verify that your function keys have reverse functionality by observing their colour. If the media functions are white and the standard function keys ("F1", "F2" etc.) are blue, your keys function in the opposite manner as the standard keyboard, meaning the Microsoft Windows functions are secondary and the media key functions are primary.

  3. Locate the blue "Fn" key at the bottom left-hand corner of your Dell Laptop's keyboard. It will be next to the "Ctrl" key.

  4. Press and hold the "Fn" key, then press the corresponding function key you desire to use. This will activate the Windows functionality of the key.

  5. Shut down your laptop using the Windows Start menu and "Shutdown" function, then restart your computer. Alternately, use the "Restart" function in the Windows Start menu.

  6. Press the "F2" key (do not press the blue "Fn" key) at the Dell welcome screen. You will see a message on the screen stating "F2 Setup." If you reach the Microsoft Windows welcome screen, you have missed the proper screen and will need to repeat Step 1.

  7. Look for and open the "System Configuration" or "Advanced Settings" menu. The name of the menu where you change your function key settings will vary by system.

  8. Locate and select the "Function Key Behavior" settings and adjust them to the "Function Key First" setting.

  9. Click "Apply" and then "Exit" to complete the computer start-up process. Your function keys will now function as they do on a standard keyboard.

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About the Author

Allen Moore's career includes awards in poetry and creative fiction, published lyrics, fiction books and nonfiction articles as well as a master certification in automotive service from the Ford Motor Company. Moore is a contributing writer for RF365.com and various other websites, a ghostwriter for Rainbow Writing and has over a dozen works of fiction currently in print.

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