Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Dell Studio - Restoring the Function Keys

I really like my new Dell Studio 17 laptop. But it does come with one really annoying feature. The function keys F1, F2 etc don't work as they should. They have been overlayed with "multimedia" keys which are enabled by default, so pressing F3, for example, brings up the battery dialog, F5, pops up the brightness control and F9 increases volume. In order to use the original F5 behaviour (e.g. to reload a webpage) you would have to combine it with the Function key (Fn) i.e. press Fn+F5. This is a big design defect, in my opinion. I would rather have my original F1, F2 keys back and combine them with the Fn key for multimedia, which I do not use as often.

There is a way to reconfigure the function keys. It involves changing a setting in the BIOS. You need to perform the following steps:

  1. When the laptop starts up (and you see the Dell Studio logo), quickly press F2 to enter the Setup Utility.
  2. Go to the "Advanced" tab.
  3. Move down to "Function Key Behaviour" and use the + key to change it from "Multimedia" to "Function".
  4. Press F10 to Save and Exit.

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