How to Enable Function Keys on a Microsoft Keyboard

By Erin McManaway

i Justin Beaupre/Demand Media

The function keys are the F1 through F12 keys located across the top of the Microsoft keyboard. Software and computer programs often assign special functions to these keys, such as pressing F1 to launch help. When your function keys don’t respond properly within software, you can troubleshoot both the keyboard and software settings to resolve the issue. You may need to update keyboard drivers to the newest version or even install a hotfix that patches a keyboard bug in the operating system.

Step 1

Ensure that the “F-Lock” or “Function Lock” key is toggled on, if your keyboard includes this key. When properly toggled on, some Microsoft keyboards display a light next to the “F” setting, similar to a light for Caps Lock or Number Lock. If the F-Lock is toggled off, your function keys will not respond correctly. Press the “F-Lock” key to switch between settings.

Step 2

Download and install the newest Microsoft keyboard drivers on your computer. You can download drivers based on your keyboard’s model number from the Microsoft hardware website (see Resources). If your function keys still don’t work properly, you should apply the Microsoft hotfix to your operating system.

Step 3

Download and install the Microsoft hotfix from the support website (see Resources), and then restart your computer. This patch fixes a bug in Windows 7 that prevents the function keys from responding properly.