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  1. #1
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    Function keys differ on laptops/notebooks

    I have received some feedback from one of my students that his Toshiba requires him to use the Fn key in conjunction with the function keys to work with software. i.e. using the Fn key like a Shift or Alt key. I have not found this to be necessary on the notebooks I am familiar with, but wonder if this is unique to Toshiba or are there other notebooks straying from this more or less standard?

    Thanks,
    Lynn Stearns

  2. #2
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    The "FN" key, along with the particular function key that you want to press, providing an additional set of functions for those keys, is pretty common among the various laptop brands. I haven't ever seen a laptop, however, that requires you to hold the FN key while pressing a function key in order to get the "function key" functionality.

    Space is at a premium on laptops, and so you never know for sure what compromises they'll make on the keyboard in order to fit everything.
    Last edited by mrjimphelps; 2013-04-22 at 14:02.

  3. #3
    5 Star Lounger RussB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjimphelps View Post
    The "FN" key, along with the particular function key that you want to press, providing an additional set of functions for those keys, is pretty common among the various laptop brands. I haven't ever seen a laptop, however, that requires you to hold the FN key while pressing a function key in order to get the "function key" functionality.

    Space is at a premium on laptops, and so you never know for sure what compromises they'll make on the keyboard in order to fit everything.
    Or the keypad on that laptop has been re-defined by someone.
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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Hey Y'all,

    On the last two Dell laptops I purchased the default for the F-keys was their hardware function, e.g. Increase/Decrease Volume, Switch Screens, Mute, etc. If you wanted F-1 you had to hold down the FN key. There is a setting in the BIOS --> Advanced Tab called Function Key Behavior with options for "Multimedia Key First" and "Function Key First". HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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  6. #5
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    I have seen that behavior showing up on more and more laptops in recent years, including Dell, Toshiba and Asus. As RG points out, there should be a BIOS setting that controls whether the Fn behavior is flipped or legacy, so Lynn should have his student check the BIOS to see how it's set.

    I honestly don't understand why manufacturers have started doing this. It makes it much more difficult to use multi-key combinations (such as Alt-F4 to close a window, for example). It also makes it very confusing when tutoring new laptop users when you try to explain why the blue Fn key does NOT control the blue legends on the keycaps but does the opposite.

  7. #6
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    It would be a good idea for your student to download the manual for his computer to understand how the keyboard combinations work on his model

    One time when I was working on a friends laptop computer (I don't recall whether or not it was a Toshiba) I made the following notes for him: maybe they could be helpful for your student

    Laptop Alt codes: 7-8-9-U-I-O-J-K-L and M act as 0-9 Keypad keys when NumLock is On
    Enable NumLock: Press NumLk or press Fn + ScrLk
    Press and hold the Alt key
    http://www.fsymbols.com/alt-codes

    On a laptop computer, there usually is no numeric keypad.
    So, instead, depress the Fn (function) key, then the Alt key, then the numerical code sequence.
    The numbers are on the fronts of certain keyboard keys:
    M=0, J=1, K=2, L=3, U=4, I=5, O=6, 7=7, 8=8, and 9=9
    http://tedmontgomery.com/tutorial/ALTchrc.html

  8. #7
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    I just reread your original post and it appears the issue is with software as opposed to alt codes?
    --- Is this true?
    --- If so can you let us know what software it is vs the ones which do work normally if any?

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