How do I change the functions assigned to keyboard keys?

jmt356
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How do I change the functions assigned to keyboard keys?

Post by jmt356 »

I have a laptop in which fn is where ctrl should be. I want to invert the functions. I have another laptop which has a very annoying button next to Enter that launches PowerDVD. I want to disable that key. Can these operations be done easily by a beginner / intermediate computer user without completely disabling or crashing the computer and (preferably) within Windows without having to download additional software?
Regards,

JMT

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DaveA
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Re: How do I change the functions assigned to keyboard keys?

Post by DaveA »

What is the make and model of these machines?

As they may be hardwired but some are controlled by the keyboard definition.
All of the laptops that I have seen, have the "Fn" key between the Ctrl and the Windows key. You are just NOT use to the NEW laptop keyboard and I do NOT think it is going to change any time soon.
I am so far behind, I think I am First :evilgrin:
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Rudi
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Re: How do I change the functions assigned to keyboard keys?

Post by Rudi »

You might be referring to the Lenovo brand of laptop. The CTRL key is on the inside of the Fn button. I have had Lenovo laptops for the past 4 years (excellent laptops :grin: ), and am so used to the CTRL key on the right of Fn that I get frustrated when working on another brand. So life is....
AFAIK, you cannot swop the Fn and CTRL keys (at least not on a Lenovo). Other "special" keys on most laptops can be activated or disabled, but as Dave says...it is ultimately brand orientated.
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Rudi

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PJ_in_FL
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Re: How do I change the functions assigned to keyboard keys?

Post by PJ_in_FL »

"Fn" keys are very difficult to modify at the operating system level, even with programs like AutoHotKey that are designed to redefine keys and key sequences. These keys are dedicated to system-level functions like turning the display on / off, enabling external displays, etc., and typically are monitored by low-level routines at the keyboard BIOS level.

Easier to buy a different laptop with a keyboard you like or invest in a wireless keyboard/mouse combo, plug in the tiny dongle and off you go!
PJ in (usually sunny) FL

jmt356
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Re: How do I change the functions assigned to keyboard keys?

Post by jmt356 »

I am trying to swap the ctrl and fn keys on a Lenovo Thinkpad. Is this not possible?

I am also trying to deactivate several keyboard buttons (PowerDVD, calculator, etc.) on an HP G64 laptop.
Regards,

JMT

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Re: How do I change the functions assigned to keyboard keys?

Post by JoeP »

Joe

PJ_in_FL
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Re: How do I change the functions assigned to keyboard keys?

Post by PJ_in_FL »

The FN key is a HARDWARE modifier key and alters how the keyboard controller chip reports keypress scancodes to the operating system. No software solution or registry hack will change that. Some exceptions are possible on laptops where a specific combo-key using the FN key has been programmed at the BIOS level to produce a scancode that can be captured and redirected to another function. For instance, my Dell laptop combines the Fn+End keys to generate the scancode for PrtSc (Print Screen). In that case, I can capture that combination and perform a function using AutoHotKey to watch for the PrtSc key. Those are "one-off" solutions, not wholesale key swapping of Fn and Ctrl that you're asking about.

Some BIOS level hacks are available depending on the laptop make and model, but these require access and knowledge to apply BIOS changes.

See http://forums.lenovo.com/t5/T400-T500-a ... d-p/656961 that discusses a BIOS hack on some models of Lenovo laptops.

Disabling those "extra" keys is much simpler as the keyboard generates normal scancodes for those keys. Sharpkeys, the program JoeP suggested, uses the Windows registry to modify or disable the keys. Once the registry is modified by the program and the PC is rebooted, Windows handles the keyboard changes, so no programs have to be running in the background.

Anything further will need a program running to capture the scancodes and perform a function. AutoHotKey is very capable of doing this and much more. Disabling the key to run your default browser, for instance, requires this two line script be executed by AutoHotKey:

Code: Select all

#InstallKeybdHook
Browser_Home::
The syntax is {key}::{action} so any key can be listed by name in front of the "::" and leaving the action blank disables the key. Simply add more lines to the script to disable more keys.

See http://www.autohotkey.com/docs/KeyList.htm for a list of other keys or how to find the scancodes for non-standard keys like "Launch PowerDVD" probably is.
PJ in (usually sunny) FL

jmt356
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Re: How do I change the functions assigned to keyboard keys?

Post by jmt356 »

I found out how to swap the fn and ctrl keys, as discussed on the link posted by PJ_in_FL. It is as follows:
1. Reboot the computer
2. Press F1 to enter BIOS setup
3. Config -> keyboard/mouse -> Fn and Ctrl Key swap

Is anyone aware of how to assign the right Ctrl or PrtSc key the Context Menu function without having to install third-party software?
Regards,

JMT

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HansV
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Re: How do I change the functions assigned to keyboard keys?

Post by HansV »

I don't think that's possible without third-party software. Doesn't your keyboard have a menu key? It's usually between the right-hand Windows key and right-hand Ctrl key:
KeyboardBottomRight.jpg
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Regards,
Hans

jmt356
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Re: How do I change the functions assigned to keyboard keys?

Post by jmt356 »

Hans: It does not. Lenovo discontinued the context key (which I believe you are referring to as the "menu" key).

What about disabling a key on my keyboard that launches power DVD and another that launches the calculator? Can those be deactivated?
Regards,

JMT

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HansV
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Re: How do I change the functions assigned to keyboard keys?

Post by HansV »

I think you'd need third-party software for that.
Regards,
Hans

jmt356
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Re: How do I change the functions assigned to keyboard keys?

Post by jmt356 »

Is anyone aware of a good third-party software that can assign to a PrtSc or Ctrl key the function of the Context key / Menu key?
Regards,

JMT