I have this issue with Lenovo Thinkcentre Edge. Its keyboard has Fn key, which acts in my Ubuntu (with Fluxbox) as if it is always "active/pressed".

I can't use standard F1-F12 keys unless I hold down this stupid key. You see, I'm a programmer so it's really pain to me.

So I decided to remap function keys with xev and xmodmap

I remapped F1-F3 and 'till this point everything is fine, but F4 does some kind of window minimization. When I run xev and hit F4, I don't get a reply from the program with a keycode and stuff, instead the window is minimized and when I maximize the window again there is no response from the key.

Important info: The function of Fn key can't be disabled in the BIOS.

So the question is: Do you have ANY idea how to solve my mystery?


# content of .fluxbox/keys
# click on the desktop to get menus
OnDesktop Mouse1 :HideMenus
OnDesktop Mouse2 :WorkspaceMenu
OnDesktop Mouse3 :RootMenu

# scroll on the desktop to change workspaces
OnDesktop Mouse4 :PrevWorkspace
OnDesktop Mouse5 :NextWorkspace

# scroll on the toolbar to change current window
OnToolbar Mouse4 :PrevWindow {static groups} (iconhidden=no)
OnToolbar Mouse5 :NextWindow {static groups} (iconhidden=no)

# alt + left/right click to move/resize a window
OnWindow Mod1 Mouse1 :MacroCmd {Raise} {Focus} {StartMoving}
OnWindowBorder Move1 :StartMoving

OnWindow Mod1 Mouse3 :MacroCmd {Raise} {Focus} {StartResizing NearestCorner}
OnLeftGrip Move1 :StartResizing bottomleft
OnRightGrip Move1 :StartResizing bottomright

# alt + middle click to lower the window
OnWindow Mod1 Mouse2 :Lower

# control-click a window's titlebar and drag to attach windows
OnTitlebar Control Mouse1 :StartTabbing

# double click on the titlebar to shade
OnTitlebar Double Mouse1 :Shade

# left click on the titlebar to move the window
OnTitlebar Mouse1 :MacroCmd {Raise} {Focus} {ActivateTab}
OnTitlebar Move1  :StartMoving

# middle click on the titlebar to lower
OnTitlebar Mouse2 :Lower

# right click on the titlebar for a menu of options
OnTitlebar Mouse3 :WindowMenu

# alt-tab
Mod1 Tab :NextWindow {groups} (workspace=[current])
Mod1 Shift Tab :PrevWindow {groups} (workspace=[current])

# cycle through tabs in the current window
Control Tab :NextTab
Control Shift Tab :PrevTab

# go to a specific tab in the current window
Mod4 1 :Tab 1
Mod4 2 :Tab 2
Mod4 3 :Tab 3
Mod4 4 :Tab 4
Mod4 5 :Tab 5
Mod4 6 :Tab 6
Mod4 7 :Tab 7
Mod4 8 :Tab 8
Mod4 9 :Tab 9

# open a terminal
Mod1 F1 :Exec x-terminal-emulator

# open a dialog to run programs
Mod1 F2 :Exec fbrun

# volume settings, using common keycodes
# if these don't work, use xev to find out your real keycodes
176 :Exec amixer sset Master,0 1+
174 :Exec amixer sset Master,0 1-
160 :Exec amixer sset Master,0 toggle

# current window commands
Mod1 F4 :Close
Mod1 F5 :Kill

# open the window menu
Mod1 space :WindowMenu

# exit fluxbox
Control Mod1 Delete :Exit

# change to previous/next workspace
Control Mod1 Left :PrevWorkspace
Control Mod1 Right :NextWorkspace

# change to a specific workspace
Control F1 :Workspace 1
Control F2 :Workspace 2
Control F3 :Workspace 3
Control F4 :Workspace 4

Mod4 d :ShowDesktop
Mod4 m :Maximize
Mod4 f :Exec firefox
Mod4 u :Exec unison-gtk
Mod4 e :Exec eclipse
Mod4 t :Exec thunderbird
Mod4 q :Exec qutim
Mod4 s :Exec skype

Ubuntu is 12.04 LTS, kernel

3.2.0-23-generic #36-Ubuntu SMP Tue Apr 10 20:39:51 UTC 2012 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
  • 2
    Check your BIOS for a setting to toggle the Fn key behavior.
    – jw013
    Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 11:05
  • 1
    Unfortunately, most BIOSes don't allow Fn behavior to be changed in any way. Your symptoms don't look like a problem with the BIOS though: the BIOS wouldn't know how to minimize a window. It looks like Fluxbox has mapped F4 to minimizing a window. Please post your Fluxbox configuration, and also tell us what Ubuntu release you're using. Do you see the same symptoms on a new account with no Fluxbox configuration? What about with other window managers? Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 21:55
  • I know it is not BIOS issue, I just mentioned it, because BIOSes on Lenovo notebooks allow to switch the function on Fn key. -> I'll edit original post and add what u asked for.
    – xholicka
    Commented Jun 27, 2012 at 8:40
  • 1
    @Gilles Most laptops come with extra functions on the F1-F12 keys for actions like suspend, toggle wireless/touchpad, multimedia/volume control keys, that are accessed by holding down Fn. I've seen many laptops that have a BIOS option to choose whether the physical key registers as F1-F12 or the extra function, since a lot of end users don't use the F1-F12 keys. Thinkpad Edge's even do this by default (you need Fn-F1 to get F1). What I meant was if this is the case, finding the BIOS option would be much easier than trying to remap each F1-F12 key individually.
    – jw013
    Commented Jun 27, 2012 at 13:18
  • @mat - I'm a relative newcomer here. I see that you made an edit but left in the phrase "You see, I'm a programmer ..." which had me LOL-ing. Is there guidance on this kind of humor? Maybe it's a question for meta ... Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 12:30

7 Answers 7


On Lenovo Thinkpad Edge, press Fn+Esc and Fn key will light up and you can use F1-F12 keys as default.


Press Fn + Num Lock to disable it.

  • 3
    Does not work for some keyboards (Logitech Comfort Keyboard K290). Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 13:40
  • This works on an E575.
    – bp.
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 2:30

It's a bios option. Look for 'enable media keys' or 'enable function keys'. Often it's worded differently, dig around. Honest, it's there.

It's nothing to do with your OS, as this would be happening regardless of what you're running. The bios toggles a bit-switch somewhere and the keyboard firmware uses that to determine if a Fn-F1 is F1 or something else.

Unfortunately, the vendors have decided we need to be playing music more than we need to be using F-keys as selectors. Logitech keyboards do this too, and there's a way to flip their 'default state' as well.

  • 2
    Man, like I stated before, there is no possibility to change this in BIOS. I literaly checked every single one setting in bios -> it can't be switched there. I'm sorry.
    – xholicka
    Commented Jul 17, 2012 at 7:34
  • Can you indicate which BIOS option is that? I did not find it either.
    – eltomek
    Commented Sep 19, 2014 at 8:55
  • 1
    thinkcenter is not a laptop, the bois option you mention is for laptops.
    – switch87
    Commented Nov 20, 2014 at 17:45
  • On my Lenovo laptop it was indeed a BIOS option. I had to disable Configuration/HotKey Mode. Would never have searched in the BIOS. Thanks!
    – pfnuesel
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 5:28

For Logitec wireless keyboards, namely my K400+, you can install Solaar from here.

It has an option to switch Fn keys to behave like normal F keys by default, just beware that the packaged versions (e.g. ppa) for some reason do not seem to include that option - I had to install from source from the latest master branch as pointed out in discussion on Github.

In short, clone the repo (git clone https://github.com/pwr/Solaar.git), run install.sh from rules.d dir, then you can run solaar from bin dir, which will start the tray GUI which contains the option "Swap Fx function" that you can toggle.

However, it doesn't seem to remember the state on reboot. What I did instead is added a line like:

~/Solaar/bin/solaar config 1 fn-swap 0

to any script that runs on startup (.bashrc or your window manager startup) which does the trick without adding the tray icon which you really don't need if you only want to use Solaar to switch the Fn keys behavior.

  • 1
    Note that solaar may be included in your distro. At least Debian and Ubuntu have it.
    – trr
    Commented Apr 1, 2022 at 5:16

If it was a laptop Lornix would be right, my lenovo has this BIOS-option, but on a desktop it's inside the keyboard, I have the same problem with my keyboard. It is possible there is software to switch the behavior of the keyboard, search on google with the model number of the keyboard, not the computer. If you can't find it, take a look at the source for my keyboard, it may get you on the right road? here is the source: logitech k290


I have a Logitech MX Keyboard and I use it with Ubuntu Mate. The Fn + Esc keys work but turn off when I switch to a different sound source.

I also have Solaar installed, which provides the battery percentage and most important to lock the Function keys to have my volume keys work all the time, even after I have rebooted, shut down, and start up the next day, or simply change a sound source. Solaar isn’t as optimal as the Logi Options to be used with a Windows or Mac computer, but it does the job for my needs.


On my laptop the left shift has a label bloq fn (french for Fn Block) so I can swap the fn-lock behavior with a click on fn + bloq fn.

  • 1
    I never realized my HP laptop's keyboard has it. Thanx! Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 14:07

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