Looking for a way to toggle the F-Lock key at startup.

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  1. Posts : 36
    Windows 10
       #1

    Looking for a way to toggle the F-Lock key at startup.


    Win 10, 22H2, 19045.3086

    My preferred keyboard is an old MS Natural Multimedia, with a PS/2 connector. This is one of those keyboards which have an "F-Lock" key to change the function keys from F1-12 to Help, Undo, Redo, etc. When Windows boots up, this F-Lock key is disabled, meaning that the F keys don't act as F keys by default. I find this annoying, so years ago I found a registry hack to remap the keys so that the default, non-locked state was for the F keys to act as F keys (here's a working link, but I have no idea if it's the original) . This works fine for almost everything, but there's at least one case where it doesn't.

    I'm playing a bit of Star Trek Online right now, which seems to read keypresses differently to every other game I've ever played with this keyboard: most of the F keys read as the remapped function, but three of them (namely F2, F3 and F10) are read incorrectly (as 7, 6 and H respectively), making those F keys effectively unusable in the game. I've flagged this problem with the devs on a couple of occasions but have absolutely no hope that it will ever be addressed.

    What I'd like is a way to get Windows to toggle the F-Lock key's status at startup. Newer versions of similar MS keyboards have been designed to start up with the F-Lock enabled by default - I have an MS Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 which does this - but I'm guessing that's done in the keyboard's firmware, or at least is dependent on native USB connectivity, which clearly can't be the case with my PS/2 connection.

    My googling has also led to a few results talking about changing settings in the BIOS/UEFI to swap the key's status, or using the Windows Mobility Centre, but my desktop PC lacks either option, which I assume are only for laptops.

    Does anyone know of any way to perform this toggle without using the registry, or perhaps in a different way that might not be incompatible with Star Trek Online?

    Thanks in advance.
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  2. Posts : 378
    Windows 10 Home 21H2
       #2
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  3. Posts : 43,377
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)
       #3

    This key cannot be remapped.
    Looking for a way to toggle the F-Lock key at startup.-1.jpg

    The Windows Mobility Centre, but my desktop PC lacks either option, which I assume are only for laptops
    The mobility centre is not available on a desktop by default, but can be enabled.

    From the huge searchable Tutorials section (do have a look...) I found this for you:
    Enable or Disable Windows Mobility Center in Windows 10
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  4. Posts : 36
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #4

    OldGrantonian said:
    Thanks for that, but I'm not looking to remap the function keys themselves, as they're already remapped. I'm looking to toggle the F-Lock button on startup so that I don't have to remap the keys anymore.

    - - - Updated - - -

    dalchina said:
    This key cannot be remapped.

    The mobility centre is not available on a desktop by default, but can be enabled.

    From the huge searchable Tutorials section (do have a look...) I found this for you:
    Enable or Disable Windows Mobility Center in Windows 10
    Thanks for those links. For the first one: I'm not looking to remap the F-Lock key, I only want to activate it automatically on startup.

    For the Mobility Centre: I'll give it a go.

    For the tutorial thread: a search for "F-Lock" (with quotes) returns no results. A search for F-Lock without quotes returns results capped at ten pages which seem to include every instance of the word "lock". I'll admit that I didn't check every result, but based on the snippets in the results, I don't think that any of them relate to the issue I have. Also, while I didn't explicitly search in the tutorials forum, I did the same search in the forum as a whole and the results were similar enough that I don't think there's anything here that already addresses my particular query, hence me raising it myself.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I tried the Mobility Center, but in its default state it doesn't contain any options for the function keys:
    Looking for a way to toggle the F-Lock key at startup.-clipboard-image.png


    I'll have a dig around and see if I can find some way to enable that option. I suspect that it won't matter, as the option, as far as I can tell, swaps the function keys to/from multimedia keys. My keyboard has dedicated multimedia keys, so unless the alternative functions can be changed to (or detected as) the Help-Undo-Redo-... keys instead, I think that all it would do would be to duplicate the functionality of other physical keys into the F keys.

    By the way, the reg keys in that link didn't work for me. I found an alternative which did: How To Enable Mobility Center On Desktop in Windows 10. Oddly, although that link is from WinAero, WinAero Tweaker itself doesn't seem to include this tweak.
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  5. Posts : 43,377
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)
       #5

    Point is, keyboards implement the Fn key as a hardware function, as I understand it. Thus you can't emulate it in software.

    I wasn't suggesting searching the Tutorials for "F-Lock" or anything like that. My reference was purely to the Mobility Centre about which you asked.
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  6. Posts : 36
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #6

    dalchina said:
    Point is, keyboards implement the Fn key as a hardware function, as I understand it. Thus you can't emulate it in software.
    Yeah, I guess so. My other keyboard both defaults to F-Lock being on and, IIRC, remembers its state for the next boot. I'd use it instead, but I prefer the feel of the keys on my usual keyboard, even though they're both cruddy rubber dome membrane boards (as an ergo keyboard user, there aren't many/any mechanical keyboards to choose from unless you're willing to spend a lot more money on one than I am right now).

    dalchina said:
    I wasn't suggesting searching the Tutorials for "F-Lock" or anything like that. My reference was purely to the Mobility Centre about which you asked.
    Fair enough.
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  7. Posts : 3,012
    Windows 10 Pro for the Bro
       #7

    I kinda know what you're talking about.
    I like this keyboard (by Microsoft) design a lot: Wireless Keyboard 3050
    The original one came with the F1 - F12 keys of pictures of Email, Home, etc, which I did not like a lot, since the blue text of F1 to F12, printed on the keyboard, is very difficult to see [picture below]. So I found a similar keyboard model, by Microsoft, which wasn't as advanced, YET had the exact F1 - F12 keys with the F1. F2, F3, etc, printed in white on the keys themselves, and I was like:
    "Oh I need those specific keys to replace the pictures ones off of my keyboard bro."
    Guy at the retail store was like: "Whatchu talkin' about bro?"
    I was like: "Don't worry about it."

    So I did this and that, which resulted in:
    Looking for a way to toggle the F-Lock key at startup.-image.png
    Which I love so much! (The white text that's printed on the key itself, is now visible, in white).
    [When I want to press F1, I don't want to press a picture of an Email, or a House, or a Car, or a Boat, or whatever; I want to press F1]
    My keyboard is set to automatically set those keys as: F1, F2, F3. Not a House, a Car, a Limousine, or a Yacht. So I never have to press the F Lock button.



    So...
    Action Keys Mode?
    How to Lock and Unlock Function (Fn) key in Windows 11/10
    Did you go through this whole tutorial as well?
    Also, F-Lock + Caps Lock together?

    Another link mentioning "Action Keys":
    Fn Lock | How to Turn on/off Fn Lock on Windows 10/11 - MiniTool Partition Wizard
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  8. Posts : 36
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #8

    pepanee said:
    Action Keys Mode?
    How to Lock and Unlock Function (Fn) key in Windows 11/10
    Did you go through this whole tutorial as well?
    Also, F-Lock + Caps Lock together?
    Since I'm trying to do this on my desktop, there are no laptop-friendly entries in the UEFI to do anything with the keyboard. F-Lock + CapsLock does nothing special. I couldn't find any way to change what the Mobility Centre shows in its options. I also tried using the PowerToys Keyboard Manager to remap the keys instead of my registry hacks, but whether or not the hacks are in place, it was reading all of the help/undo/redo functions as "undefined" and refused to remap more than one of them. I also found that none of the alternate functions were actually working on the F-Keys: I had to uninstall the current Mouse and Keyboard Centre app and reinstall an antique version of Intellitype in order to get them working again. Having done that, it still made no difference in PowerToys.

    Mind you, I don't think that remapping will help anyway, given that I don't think Star Trek Online is reading the keypresses in a way that is consistent with the existing remapping, and changing the remapping method is probably not going to change that.

    pepanee said:
    This page just contains two methods listed in lots of other places: press the physical F-Lock button, or use the BIOS to change the function. No help there, unfortunately.

    What's infuriating is that while it seems that there's no way to toggle the F-Lock in software, it's obviously absolutely possible to toggle both the caps lock and num lock in software. It's just that MS probably didn't sell enough of these particular keyboards to make it worth their while to do it, even though they absolutely put a (hardware) fix in for it on later keyboards. I guess I'm just out of luck.
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  9. Posts : 3,012
    Windows 10 Pro for the Bro
       #9

    Hmm... so I found this:
    https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/...6-94dd198a59f9

    Which lead to this:
    Turning F-Lock key ON automatically

    Which sadly enough, the link to the download of that .... no longer works. Maybe if you can find an alternate location to download that program from, then it may fix the problem...
    not sure...
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  10. Posts : 43,377
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)
       #10

    There are certain things that are implemented in hardware. That's just the way it was designed- not just by MS... there are many keyboard and systems manufacturers out there...
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