I got a new laptop a few weeks back–a Lenovo T440s–and the only gripe I’ve had with it is that the F-keys are disabled by default in favor of the function keys (volume +/-, brightness +/-, etc.). Maybe that’s good for the average user, but I need to use F-key shortcuts a lot more than I need to adjust the volume, so this I’ve found this “feature” to be quite annoying.
I ran into a similar problem when I bought the Touch Cover 2 for my Surface RT. It had the same problem, but I chose to ignore it since I was mostly using the tablet for emails and web browsing. However, I did recall reading somewhere that there was a way to reverse the default functionality.
I headed over to Google with that in mind. A quick search revealed that there was, in fact, a way to toggle the “mode” by using a keyboard shortcut: Fn+Esc. I tried it out, and two nice things happened. First, I got an on-screen notification that FnLock was enabled. Second, there’s a little, green light that’s now lit on the Fn screen (similar to Caps Lock on a lot of keyboards). I didn’t notice it at the time, but as I’m writing this article, I see that “FnLk” shows as the Fn-shortcut on the Esc key, which is great because I was just thinking it’d be nice if they made this feature a little more obvious!
Excited by my newly-found FnLock shortcut, I headed over to my Surface to see if the same shortcut would work there. It did not, but another quick Google search showed me that I could use Fn+CapsLock to achieve the same thing. It’s not the universal shortcut that I was hoping it’d be, but at least I can get the functionality I want on both computers!