Action Keys Mode - A Warning to Those Buying Certain New Laptops


 

For all I know the following may apply to some desktops and/or all-in-ones, too, but I've not yet encountered it in these environments.

Since the beginning of the laptop, convention had been that the function keys across the very top of the keyboard required the Fn key that's nested along the very bottom of the keyboard to be held before hitting a given function key to make it perform whatever function the manufacturer defines for that key.  Most people are familiar with function keys to do things like:  volume up, volume down, mute, wireless on/off, brightness up, brightness down, etc.

There is a new feature that HP, at least, calls "Action Keys Mode" which turns this convention on its head.  When activated, this makes a simple press of a given function key trigger its function rather than being passed along to whatever application as a key press.  This can have some "interesting" effects for screen reader users.  This function is currently enabled by default on my laptop and the F6 key so happens to be the Mute on/off toggle key.  When using NVDA, if I press F6 it simply toggles the mute state.  In order to make it behave as F6 normally would I must hit Fn+F6.  This does not apply if the SHIFT is pressed along with F6 in order to reverse the direction.  That works perfectly well.  I can only imagine the chaos this could unleash if you start using the various commands that employ the function keys on a system with Action Keys Mode activated.

Action Keys Mode can be disabled, but it is controlled via UEFI/BIOS.  On my machine one disables it by activating the UEFI menu by doing a repeated ESC key press during boot and selecting F10 choice.  Once the old-fashioned BIOS-like screen pops up, you have to transition to the System Configuration pane and arrow to the Action Keys Mode entry and disable it.  Since this is done well before the operating system is even involved, I don't know of a single screen reader that could be active to accomplish the task.

Since this mode is controlled by the hardware ahead of any intervention by anything else, you must disable it if you wish your function keys to operate "the way they always have."

Brian


Russell Solowoniuk
 

When I purchased my Lenovo Yoga Pro 2 laptop a little over a year ago from Future Shop, I had the tech guys there go into the bios and set the function keys to behave the way I needed for Jaws use. I had a bit of a fight to get them to do this, but insisted they do it or I would purchase the laptop somewhere where they would do it for me. It took the tech guy all of 3 minutes to do this. Don’t forget, when you are spending good money, that you have a right to have your laptop set up in a way that will work for you. It’s much easier to get them to do it before the sale is made! :).

Thanks,

Russell

On Jan 31, 2016, at 3:44 PM, Brian Vogel <britechguy@...> wrote:

For all I know the following may apply to some desktops and/or all-in-ones, too, but I've not yet encountered it in these environments.

Since the beginning of the laptop, convention had been that the function keys across the very top of the keyboard required the Fn key that's nested along the very bottom of the keyboard to be held before hitting a given function key to make it perform whatever function the manufacturer defines for that key.  Most people are familiar with function keys to do things like:  volume up, volume down, mute, wireless on/off, brightness up, brightness down, etc.

There is a new feature that HP, at least, calls "Action Keys Mode" which turns this convention on its head.  When activated, this makes a simple press of a given function key trigger its function rather than being passed along to whatever application as a key press.  This can have some "interesting" effects for screen reader users.  This function is currently enabled by default on my laptop and the F6 key so happens to be the Mute on/off toggle key.  When using NVDA, if I press F6 it simply toggles the mute state.  In order to make it behave as F6 normally would I must hit Fn+F6.  This does not apply if the SHIFT is pressed along with F6 in order to reverse the direction.  That works perfectly well.  I can only imagine the chaos this could unleash if you start using the various commands that employ the function keys on a system with Action Keys Mode activated.

Action Keys Mode can be disabled, but it is controlled via UEFI/BIOS.  On my machine one disables it by activating the UEFI menu by doing a repeated ESC key press during boot and selecting F10 choice.  Once the old-fashioned BIOS-like screen pops up, you have to transition to the System Configuration pane and arrow to the Action Keys Mode entry and disable it.  Since this is done well before the operating system is even involved, I don't know of a single screen reader that could be active to accomplish the task.

Since this mode is controlled by the hardware ahead of any intervention by anything else, you must disable it if you wish your function keys to operate "the way they always have."

Brian



 

On Sun, Jan 31, 2016 at 03:14 pm, Russell Solowoniuk <rsolowoniuk@...> wrote:
It’s much easier to get them to do it before the sale is made!

 Absolutely!!

I have to say that I'd not encountered a computer with this feature until I purchased my latest laptop last fall.  I have no doubt it's been around for at least a couple of years now, since there seems to be a link between the debut of Win8 and UEFI and this feature.

What's bad, though, is that this is not a feature or setting that tends to "get PR" as far as being listed on the box or sometimes in any of the documentation.  It's well-nigh impossible to be aware of it until you've already been caught out by it.  This is even truer if you can't test something with JAWS or another screen reader using some of the "naked" function key commands prior to owning the thing.

Brian


Robin Frost
 

Hi,
this was not the case for my HP Desktop recently purchased in October. It was however the case with my new Toshiba laptop purchased at the same time.
It should also be noted however that not all models and makes require that this be turned off in bios settings.
Some manufacturers such as Toshiba and Dell have a means to do this in control panel keyboard settings once the system is up and running.
Still it’s good to try I emphasize try and find out how a particular model handles this when making purchasing decisions as not all sales people or even tech support people are good about disseminating such information.
Robin
 
 

Sent: Sunday, January 31, 2016 5:44 PM
Subject: Action Keys Mode - A Warning to Those Buying Certain New Laptops
 

For all I know the following may apply to some desktops and/or all-in-ones, too, but I've not yet encountered it in these environments.

Since the beginning of the laptop, convention had been that the function keys across the very top of the keyboard required the Fn key that's nested along the very bottom of the keyboard to be held before hitting a given function key to make it perform whatever function the manufacturer defines for that key.  Most people are familiar with function keys to do things like:  volume up, volume down, mute, wireless on/off, brightness up, brightness down, etc.

There is a new feature that HP, at least, calls "Action Keys Mode" which turns this convention on its head.  When activated, this makes a simple press of a given function key trigger its function rather than being passed along to whatever application as a key press.  This can have some "interesting" effects for screen reader users.  This function is currently enabled by default on my laptop and the F6 key so happens to be the Mute on/off toggle key.  When using NVDA, if I press F6 it simply toggles the mute state.  In order to make it behave as F6 normally would I must hit Fn+F6.  This does not apply if the SHIFT is pressed along with F6 in order to reverse the direction.  That works perfectly well.  I can only imagine the chaos this could unleash if you start using the various commands that employ the function keys on a system with Action Keys Mode activated.

Action Keys Mode can be disabled, but it is controlled via UEFI/BIOS.  On my machine one disables it by activating the UEFI menu by doing a repeated ESC key press during boot and selecting F10 choice.  Once the old-fashioned BIOS-like screen pops up, you have to transition to the System Configuration pane and arrow to the Action Keys Mode entry and disable it.  Since this is done well before the operating system is even involved, I don't know of a single screen reader that could be active to accomplish the task.

Since this mode is controlled by the hardware ahead of any intervention by anything else, you must disable it if you wish your function keys to operate "the way they always have."

Brian


Russell Solowoniuk
 

I was lucky before purchasing my Yoga Pro  2 that someone on this list talked about the function keys needing to be changed in the BIOS, so I was aware of this before I brought my laptop home. Otherwise I would have had to wait for sighted help to do this at home.

That’s why I love this list! :)

Russell

On Jan 31, 2016, at 4:25 PM, Brian Vogel <britechguy@...> wrote:

On Sun, Jan 31, 2016 at 03:14 pm, Russell Solowoniuk <rsolowoniuk@...> wrote:
It’s much easier to get them to do it before the sale is made!

 Absolutely!!

I have to say that I'd not encountered a computer with this feature until I purchased my latest laptop last fall.  I have no doubt it's been around for at least a couple of years now, since there seems to be a link between the debut of Win8 and UEFI and this feature.

What's bad, though, is that this is not a feature or setting that tends to "get PR" as far as being listed on the box or sometimes in any of the documentation.  It's well-nigh impossible to be aware of it until you've already been caught out by it.  This is even truer if you can't test something with JAWS or another screen reader using some of the "naked" function key commands prior to owning the thing.

Brian



Soronel Haetir
 

Unfortunately this is only a temporary fix, at least for HP laptops.
HP laptops revert whenever the bios is updated and that has happened
several times with the one I have now. Thankfully I live with a seeing
eye human so when that happens getting it fixed is fairly easy.

On 1/31/16, Russell Solowoniuk <rsolowoniuk@...> wrote:
When I purchased my Lenovo Yoga Pro 2 laptop a little over a year ago from
Future Shop, I had the tech guys there go into the bios and set the function
keys to behave the way I needed for Jaws use. I had a bit of a fight to get
them to do this, but insisted they do it or I would purchase the laptop
somewhere where they would do it for me. It took the tech guy all of 3
minutes to do this. Don’t forget, when you are spending good money, that you
have a right to have your laptop set up in a way that will work for you.
It’s much easier to get them to do it before the sale is made! :).

Thanks,

Russell
On Jan 31, 2016, at 3:44 PM, Brian Vogel <britechguy@...> wrote:

For all I know the following may apply to some desktops and/or
all-in-ones, too, but I've not yet encountered it in these environments.

Since the beginning of the laptop, convention had been that the function
keys across the very top of the keyboard required the Fn key that's nested
along the very bottom of the keyboard to be held before hitting a given
function key to make it perform whatever function the manufacturer defines
for that key. Most people are familiar with function keys to do things
like: volume up, volume down, mute, wireless on/off, brightness up,
brightness down, etc.

There is a new feature that HP, at least, calls "Action Keys Mode" which
turns this convention on its head. When activated, this makes a simple
press of a given function key trigger its function rather than being
passed along to whatever application as a key press. This can have some
"interesting" effects for screen reader users. This function is currently
enabled by default on my laptop and the F6 key so happens to be the Mute
on/off toggle key. When using NVDA, if I press F6 it simply toggles the
mute state. In order to make it behave as F6 normally would I must hit
Fn+F6. This does not apply if the SHIFT is pressed along with F6 in order
to reverse the direction. That works perfectly well. I can only imagine
the chaos this could unleash if you start using the various commands that
employ the function keys on a system with Action Keys Mode activated.

Action Keys Mode can be disabled, but it is controlled via UEFI/BIOS. On
my machine one disables it by activating the UEFI menu by doing a repeated
ESC key press during boot and selecting F10 choice. Once the
old-fashioned BIOS-like screen pops up, you have to transition to the
System Configuration pane and arrow to the Action Keys Mode entry and
disable it. Since this is done well before the operating system is even
involved, I don't know of a single screen reader that could be active to
accomplish the task.

Since this mode is controlled by the hardware ahead of any intervention by
anything else, you must disable it if you wish your function keys to
operate "the way they always have."

Brian

--
Soronel Haetir
soronel.haetir@...


 

On Mon, Feb 1, 2016 at 09:44 am, Soronel Haetir <soronel.haetir@...> wrote:
Unfortunately this is only a temporary fix, at least for HP laptops.
HP laptops revert whenever the bios is updated and that has happened
several times with the one I have now.

This is pretty much true for all features and all manufacturers.  Flashing BIOS during an update replaces whatever you have with whatever settings are shipped in that BIOS update file.  In virtually all cases what's in that BIOS update file matches the manufacturer default.  'Tis the nature of the beast that BIOS updates are an all or nothing affair.

That being said, even though your machine may have BIOS updates available from the manufacturer, don't be in a big hurry to apply them if the machine is behaving the way you want it to and the way it always has.  Patches to BIOS tend to occur as the interaction between it and the OS or some application program uncovers a bug.  If you're not doing the thing that causes that bug, and your computer use routine follows a pretty consistent pattern, you're not likely to run into an issue unless you start doing something different than usual with software you've not used before.

Brian


David Moore
 

Hi,
My wife bought me a HP stream for Christmas, I love it except for the functions going back to having to hold down the FN key to get F1 through F12. Have a great one.

-----Original Message-----
From: Soronel Haetir
Sent: Monday, February 1, 2016 12:44 PM
To: jfw@groups.io
Subject: Re: Action Keys Mode - A Warning to Those Buying Certain New Laptops

Unfortunately this is only a temporary fix, at least for HP laptops.
HP laptops revert whenever the bios is updated and that has happened
several times with the one I have now. Thankfully I live with a seeing
eye human so when that happens getting it fixed is fairly easy.


On 1/31/16, Russell Solowoniuk <rsolowoniuk@...> wrote:
When I purchased my Lenovo Yoga Pro 2 laptop a little over a year ago from
Future Shop, I had the tech guys there go into the bios and set the function
keys to behave the way I needed for Jaws use. I had a bit of a fight to get
them to do this, but insisted they do it or I would purchase the laptop
somewhere where they would do it for me. It took the tech guy all of 3
minutes to do this. Don’t forget, when you are spending good money, that you
have a right to have your laptop set up in a way that will work for you.
It’s much easier to get them to do it before the sale is made! :).

Thanks,

Russell
On Jan 31, 2016, at 3:44 PM, Brian Vogel <britechguy@...> wrote:

For all I know the following may apply to some desktops and/or
all-in-ones, too, but I've not yet encountered it in these environments.

Since the beginning of the laptop, convention had been that the function
keys across the very top of the keyboard required the Fn key that's nested
along the very bottom of the keyboard to be held before hitting a given
function key to make it perform whatever function the manufacturer defines
for that key. Most people are familiar with function keys to do things
like: volume up, volume down, mute, wireless on/off, brightness up,
brightness down, etc.

There is a new feature that HP, at least, calls "Action Keys Mode" which
turns this convention on its head. When activated, this makes a simple
press of a given function key trigger its function rather than being
passed along to whatever application as a key press. This can have some
"interesting" effects for screen reader users. This function is currently
enabled by default on my laptop and the F6 key so happens to be the Mute
on/off toggle key. When using NVDA, if I press F6 it simply toggles the
mute state. In order to make it behave as F6 normally would I must hit
Fn+F6. This does not apply if the SHIFT is pressed along with F6 in order
to reverse the direction. That works perfectly well. I can only imagine
the chaos this could unleash if you start using the various commands that
employ the function keys on a system with Action Keys Mode activated.

Action Keys Mode can be disabled, but it is controlled via UEFI/BIOS. On
my machine one disables it by activating the UEFI menu by doing a repeated
ESC key press during boot and selecting F10 choice. Once the
old-fashioned BIOS-like screen pops up, you have to transition to the
System Configuration pane and arrow to the Action Keys Mode entry and
disable it. Since this is done well before the operating system is even
involved, I don't know of a single screen reader that could be active to
accomplish the task.

Since this mode is controlled by the hardware ahead of any intervention by
anything else, you must disable it if you wish your function keys to
operate "the way they always have."

Brian


--
Soronel Haetir
soronel.haetir@...


Russell Solowoniuk
 

Interesting! I never thought of that. I haven't updated the BIOS since purchasing my laptop. If I do update the BIOS and mess up my function keys, I will just take it to work and get one of my co-workers to fix it for me! :)

Thanks,

Russell

-----Original Message-----
From: David Moore [mailto:jesusloves1966@...]
Sent: Monday, February 01, 2016 3:33 PM
To: jfw@groups.io
Subject: Re: Action Keys Mode - A Warning to Those Buying Certain New Laptops

Hi,
My wife bought me a HP stream for Christmas, I love it except for the
functions going back to having to hold down the FN key to get F1 through
F12. Have a great one.


-----Original Message-----
From: Soronel Haetir
Sent: Monday, February 1, 2016 12:44 PM
To: jfw@groups.io
Subject: Re: Action Keys Mode - A Warning to Those Buying Certain New
Laptops

Unfortunately this is only a temporary fix, at least for HP laptops.
HP laptops revert whenever the bios is updated and that has happened
several times with the one I have now. Thankfully I live with a seeing
eye human so when that happens getting it fixed is fairly easy.


On 1/31/16, Russell Solowoniuk <rsolowoniuk@...> wrote:
When I purchased my Lenovo Yoga Pro 2 laptop a little over a year ago from
Future Shop, I had the tech guys there go into the bios and set the
function
keys to behave the way I needed for Jaws use. I had a bit of a fight to
get
them to do this, but insisted they do it or I would purchase the laptop
somewhere where they would do it for me. It took the tech guy all of 3
minutes to do this. Don’t forget, when you are spending good money, that
you
have a right to have your laptop set up in a way that will work for you.
It’s much easier to get them to do it before the sale is made! :).

Thanks,

Russell
On Jan 31, 2016, at 3:44 PM, Brian Vogel <britechguy@...> wrote:

For all I know the following may apply to some desktops and/or
all-in-ones, too, but I've not yet encountered it in these environments.

Since the beginning of the laptop, convention had been that the function
keys across the very top of the keyboard required the Fn key that's
nested
along the very bottom of the keyboard to be held before hitting a given
function key to make it perform whatever function the manufacturer
defines
for that key. Most people are familiar with function keys to do things
like: volume up, volume down, mute, wireless on/off, brightness up,
brightness down, etc.

There is a new feature that HP, at least, calls "Action Keys Mode" which
turns this convention on its head. When activated, this makes a simple
press of a given function key trigger its function rather than being
passed along to whatever application as a key press. This can have some
"interesting" effects for screen reader users. This function is
currently
enabled by default on my laptop and the F6 key so happens to be the Mute
on/off toggle key. When using NVDA, if I press F6 it simply toggles the
mute state. In order to make it behave as F6 normally would I must hit
Fn+F6. This does not apply if the SHIFT is pressed along with F6 in
order
to reverse the direction. That works perfectly well. I can only imagine
the chaos this could unleash if you start using the various commands that
employ the function keys on a system with Action Keys Mode activated.

Action Keys Mode can be disabled, but it is controlled via UEFI/BIOS. On
my machine one disables it by activating the UEFI menu by doing a
repeated
ESC key press during boot and selecting F10 choice. Once the
old-fashioned BIOS-like screen pops up, you have to transition to the
System Configuration pane and arrow to the Action Keys Mode entry and
disable it. Since this is done well before the operating system is even
involved, I don't know of a single screen reader that could be active to
accomplish the task.

Since this mode is controlled by the hardware ahead of any intervention
by
anything else, you must disable it if you wish your function keys to
operate "the way they always have."

Brian


--
Soronel Haetir
soronel.haetir@...


Soronel Haetir
 

Recent HP laptops are set to automatically install BIOS updates, you
have to disable it if you don't want them.

On 2/1/16, Russell Solowoniuk <rsolowoniuk@...> wrote:
Interesting! I never thought of that. I haven't updated the BIOS since
purchasing my laptop. If I do update the BIOS and mess up my function keys,
I will just take it to work and get one of my co-workers to fix it for me!
:)

Thanks,

Russell

-----Original Message-----
From: David Moore [mailto:jesusloves1966@...]
Sent: Monday, February 01, 2016 3:33 PM
To: jfw@groups.io
Subject: Re: Action Keys Mode - A Warning to Those Buying Certain New
Laptops

Hi,
My wife bought me a HP stream for Christmas, I love it except for the
functions going back to having to hold down the FN key to get F1 through
F12. Have a great one.


-----Original Message-----
From: Soronel Haetir
Sent: Monday, February 1, 2016 12:44 PM
To: jfw@groups.io
Subject: Re: Action Keys Mode - A Warning to Those Buying Certain New
Laptops

Unfortunately this is only a temporary fix, at least for HP laptops.
HP laptops revert whenever the bios is updated and that has happened
several times with the one I have now. Thankfully I live with a seeing
eye human so when that happens getting it fixed is fairly easy.


On 1/31/16, Russell Solowoniuk <rsolowoniuk@...> wrote:
When I purchased my Lenovo Yoga Pro 2 laptop a little over a year ago
from
Future Shop, I had the tech guys there go into the bios and set the
function
keys to behave the way I needed for Jaws use. I had a bit of a fight to
get
them to do this, but insisted they do it or I would purchase the laptop
somewhere where they would do it for me. It took the tech guy all of 3
minutes to do this. Don’t forget, when you are spending good money, that
you
have a right to have your laptop set up in a way that will work for you.
It’s much easier to get them to do it before the sale is made! :).

Thanks,

Russell
On Jan 31, 2016, at 3:44 PM, Brian Vogel <britechguy@...> wrote:

For all I know the following may apply to some desktops and/or
all-in-ones, too, but I've not yet encountered it in these environments.

Since the beginning of the laptop, convention had been that the function
keys across the very top of the keyboard required the Fn key that's
nested
along the very bottom of the keyboard to be held before hitting a given
function key to make it perform whatever function the manufacturer
defines
for that key. Most people are familiar with function keys to do things
like: volume up, volume down, mute, wireless on/off, brightness up,
brightness down, etc.

There is a new feature that HP, at least, calls "Action Keys Mode" which
turns this convention on its head. When activated, this makes a simple
press of a given function key trigger its function rather than being
passed along to whatever application as a key press. This can have some
"interesting" effects for screen reader users. This function is
currently
enabled by default on my laptop and the F6 key so happens to be the Mute
on/off toggle key. When using NVDA, if I press F6 it simply toggles the
mute state. In order to make it behave as F6 normally would I must hit
Fn+F6. This does not apply if the SHIFT is pressed along with F6 in
order
to reverse the direction. That works perfectly well. I can only
imagine
the chaos this could unleash if you start using the various commands
that
employ the function keys on a system with Action Keys Mode activated.

Action Keys Mode can be disabled, but it is controlled via UEFI/BIOS.
On
my machine one disables it by activating the UEFI menu by doing a
repeated
ESC key press during boot and selecting F10 choice. Once the
old-fashioned BIOS-like screen pops up, you have to transition to the
System Configuration pane and arrow to the Action Keys Mode entry and
disable it. Since this is done well before the operating system is even
involved, I don't know of a single screen reader that could be active to
accomplish the task.

Since this mode is controlled by the hardware ahead of any intervention
by
anything else, you must disable it if you wish your function keys to
operate "the way they always have."

Brian


--
Soronel Haetir
soronel.haetir@...










--
Soronel Haetir
soronel.haetir@...


Eric Ngondi
 

Brian and team,
You are just God send!!! Was fumbling around with my new hp and
causing rakas everywhere and no one was understanding! then I decide
to check my email and and right there on top most was brian's email.
!! What a coincident... I was just thrilled!
cheers

On 2/2/16, Soronel Haetir <soronel.haetir@...> wrote:
Recent HP laptops are set to automatically install BIOS updates, you
have to disable it if you don't want them.

On 2/1/16, Russell Solowoniuk <rsolowoniuk@...> wrote:
Interesting! I never thought of that. I haven't updated the BIOS since
purchasing my laptop. If I do update the BIOS and mess up my function
keys,
I will just take it to work and get one of my co-workers to fix it for
me!
:)

Thanks,

Russell

-----Original Message-----
From: David Moore [mailto:jesusloves1966@...]
Sent: Monday, February 01, 2016 3:33 PM
To: jfw@groups.io
Subject: Re: Action Keys Mode - A Warning to Those Buying Certain New
Laptops

Hi,
My wife bought me a HP stream for Christmas, I love it except for the
functions going back to having to hold down the FN key to get F1 through
F12. Have a great one.


-----Original Message-----
From: Soronel Haetir
Sent: Monday, February 1, 2016 12:44 PM
To: jfw@groups.io
Subject: Re: Action Keys Mode - A Warning to Those Buying Certain New
Laptops

Unfortunately this is only a temporary fix, at least for HP laptops.
HP laptops revert whenever the bios is updated and that has happened
several times with the one I have now. Thankfully I live with a seeing
eye human so when that happens getting it fixed is fairly easy.


On 1/31/16, Russell Solowoniuk <rsolowoniuk@...> wrote:
When I purchased my Lenovo Yoga Pro 2 laptop a little over a year ago
from
Future Shop, I had the tech guys there go into the bios and set the
function
keys to behave the way I needed for Jaws use. I had a bit of a fight to
get
them to do this, but insisted they do it or I would purchase the laptop
somewhere where they would do it for me. It took the tech guy all of 3
minutes to do this. Don’t forget, when you are spending good money, that
you
have a right to have your laptop set up in a way that will work for you.
It’s much easier to get them to do it before the sale is made! :).

Thanks,

Russell
On Jan 31, 2016, at 3:44 PM, Brian Vogel <britechguy@...> wrote:

For all I know the following may apply to some desktops and/or
all-in-ones, too, but I've not yet encountered it in these
environments.

Since the beginning of the laptop, convention had been that the
function
keys across the very top of the keyboard required the Fn key that's
nested
along the very bottom of the keyboard to be held before hitting a given
function key to make it perform whatever function the manufacturer
defines
for that key. Most people are familiar with function keys to do things
like: volume up, volume down, mute, wireless on/off, brightness up,
brightness down, etc.

There is a new feature that HP, at least, calls "Action Keys Mode"
which
turns this convention on its head. When activated, this makes a simple
press of a given function key trigger its function rather than being
passed along to whatever application as a key press. This can have
some
"interesting" effects for screen reader users. This function is
currently
enabled by default on my laptop and the F6 key so happens to be the
Mute
on/off toggle key. When using NVDA, if I press F6 it simply toggles
the
mute state. In order to make it behave as F6 normally would I must hit
Fn+F6. This does not apply if the SHIFT is pressed along with F6 in
order
to reverse the direction. That works perfectly well. I can only
imagine
the chaos this could unleash if you start using the various commands
that
employ the function keys on a system with Action Keys Mode activated.

Action Keys Mode can be disabled, but it is controlled via UEFI/BIOS.
On
my machine one disables it by activating the UEFI menu by doing a
repeated
ESC key press during boot and selecting F10 choice. Once the
old-fashioned BIOS-like screen pops up, you have to transition to the
System Configuration pane and arrow to the Action Keys Mode entry and
disable it. Since this is done well before the operating system is
even
involved, I don't know of a single screen reader that could be active
to
accomplish the task.

Since this mode is controlled by the hardware ahead of any intervention
by
anything else, you must disable it if you wish your function keys to
operate "the way they always have."

Brian


--
Soronel Haetir
soronel.haetir@...











--
Soronel Haetir
soronel.haetir@...



--
ERIC N. NGONDI
+254 720 963 825
Skype: ericngondi
Email: eric.ngondi@...
Alt. Email: info@...

YALI - Mandela Washington Fellow 2014
Ambassador - Kenya Society for The Blind (KSB)
Chairman - Vision Center for Disable Kenya VCDK

"The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare
up the steps - we must step up the stairs." ~ Vance Havner.


Michael Mote
 

I may have been fortunate, but recently when I was setting up a new Dell computer, I was able to go into the Windows Mobility center, and turn on the function keys, instead of the media key set up that was originally the default setting. Anyone who has a new computer may want to check into this, before going into Bios to make any changes. It's a lot easier, and your screen reader will read it for you.

-----Original Message-----
From: Russell Solowoniuk [mailto:rsolowoniuk@...]
Sent: Monday, February 01, 2016 8:48 PM
To: jfw@groups.io
Subject: Re: Action Keys Mode - A Warning to Those Buying Certain New Laptops

Interesting! I never thought of that. I haven't updated the BIOS since purchasing my laptop. If I do update the BIOS and mess up my function keys, I will just take it to work and get one of my co-workers to fix it for me! :)

Thanks,

Russell

-----Original Message-----
From: David Moore [mailto:jesusloves1966@...]
Sent: Monday, February 01, 2016 3:33 PM
To: jfw@groups.io
Subject: Re: Action Keys Mode - A Warning to Those Buying Certain New Laptops

Hi,
My wife bought me a HP stream for Christmas, I love it except for the functions going back to having to hold down the FN key to get F1 through F12. Have a great one.


-----Original Message-----
From: Soronel Haetir
Sent: Monday, February 1, 2016 12:44 PM
To: jfw@groups.io
Subject: Re: Action Keys Mode - A Warning to Those Buying Certain New Laptops

Unfortunately this is only a temporary fix, at least for HP laptops.
HP laptops revert whenever the bios is updated and that has happened several times with the one I have now. Thankfully I live with a seeing eye human so when that happens getting it fixed is fairly easy.


On 1/31/16, Russell Solowoniuk <rsolowoniuk@...> wrote:
When I purchased my Lenovo Yoga Pro 2 laptop a little over a year ago
from Future Shop, I had the tech guys there go into the bios and set
the function keys to behave the way I needed for Jaws use. I had a bit
of a fight to get them to do this, but insisted they do it or I would
purchase the laptop somewhere where they would do it for me. It took
the tech guy all of 3 minutes to do this. Don’t forget, when you are
spending good money, that you have a right to have your laptop set up
in a way that will work for you.
It’s much easier to get them to do it before the sale is made! :).

Thanks,

Russell
On Jan 31, 2016, at 3:44 PM, Brian Vogel <britechguy@...> wrote:

For all I know the following may apply to some desktops and/or
all-in-ones, too, but I've not yet encountered it in these environments.

Since the beginning of the laptop, convention had been that the
function keys across the very top of the keyboard required the Fn key
that's nested along the very bottom of the keyboard to be held before
hitting a given function key to make it perform whatever function the
manufacturer defines for that key. Most people are familiar with
function keys to do things
like: volume up, volume down, mute, wireless on/off, brightness up,
brightness down, etc.

There is a new feature that HP, at least, calls "Action Keys Mode"
which turns this convention on its head. When activated, this makes
a simple press of a given function key trigger its function rather
than being passed along to whatever application as a key press. This
can have some "interesting" effects for screen reader users. This
function is currently enabled by default on my laptop and the F6 key
so happens to be the Mute on/off toggle key. When using NVDA, if I
press F6 it simply toggles the mute state. In order to make it
behave as F6 normally would I must hit
Fn+F6. This does not apply if the SHIFT is pressed along with F6 in
order
to reverse the direction. That works perfectly well. I can only
imagine the chaos this could unleash if you start using the various
commands that employ the function keys on a system with Action Keys Mode activated.

Action Keys Mode can be disabled, but it is controlled via UEFI/BIOS.
On my machine one disables it by activating the UEFI menu by doing a
repeated ESC key press during boot and selecting F10 choice. Once
the old-fashioned BIOS-like screen pops up, you have to transition to
the System Configuration pane and arrow to the Action Keys Mode entry
and disable it. Since this is done well before the operating system
is even involved, I don't know of a single screen reader that could
be active to accomplish the task.

Since this mode is controlled by the hardware ahead of any
intervention by anything else, you must disable it if you wish your
function keys to operate "the way they always have."

Brian


--
Soronel Haetir
soronel.haetir@...


Bill White <billwhite92701@...>
 

Hi, Michael. Do you remember what the choice you selected said? In other words, did it say something like:
"Turn off action keys"?

Thank you.
Bill White billwhite92701@...

----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Mote" <miketmote73@...>
To: <jfw@groups.io>
Sent: Tuesday, February 02, 2016 6:05 AM
Subject: Re: Action Keys Mode - A Warning to Those Buying Certain New Laptops


I may have been fortunate, but recently when I was setting up a new Dell computer, I was able to go into the Windows Mobility center, and turn on the function keys, instead of the media key set up that was originally the default setting. Anyone who has a new computer may want to check into this, before going into Bios to make any changes. It's a lot easier, and your screen reader will read it for you.


-----Original Message-----
From: Russell Solowoniuk [mailto:rsolowoniuk@...]
Sent: Monday, February 01, 2016 8:48 PM
To: jfw@groups.io
Subject: Re: Action Keys Mode - A Warning to Those Buying Certain New Laptops

Interesting! I never thought of that. I haven't updated the BIOS since purchasing my laptop. If I do update the BIOS and mess up my function keys, I will just take it to work and get one of my co-workers to fix it for me! :)

Thanks,

Russell

-----Original Message-----
From: David Moore [mailto:jesusloves1966@...]
Sent: Monday, February 01, 2016 3:33 PM
To: jfw@groups.io
Subject: Re: Action Keys Mode - A Warning to Those Buying Certain New Laptops

Hi,
My wife bought me a HP stream for Christmas, I love it except for the functions going back to having to hold down the FN key to get F1 through F12. Have a great one.


-----Original Message-----
From: Soronel Haetir
Sent: Monday, February 1, 2016 12:44 PM
To: jfw@groups.io
Subject: Re: Action Keys Mode - A Warning to Those Buying Certain New Laptops

Unfortunately this is only a temporary fix, at least for HP laptops.
HP laptops revert whenever the bios is updated and that has happened several times with the one I have now. Thankfully I live with a seeing eye human so when that happens getting it fixed is fairly easy.


On 1/31/16, Russell Solowoniuk <rsolowoniuk@...> wrote:
When I purchased my Lenovo Yoga Pro 2 laptop a little over a year ago
from Future Shop, I had the tech guys there go into the bios and set
the function keys to behave the way I needed for Jaws use. I had a bit
of a fight to get them to do this, but insisted they do it or I would
purchase the laptop somewhere where they would do it for me. It took
the tech guy all of 3 minutes to do this. Don’t forget, when you are
spending good money, that you have a right to have your laptop set up
in a way that will work for you.
It’s much easier to get them to do it before the sale is made! :).

Thanks,

Russell
On Jan 31, 2016, at 3:44 PM, Brian Vogel <britechguy@...> wrote:

For all I know the following may apply to some desktops and/or
all-in-ones, too, but I've not yet encountered it in these environments.

Since the beginning of the laptop, convention had been that the
function keys across the very top of the keyboard required the Fn key
that's nested along the very bottom of the keyboard to be held before
hitting a given function key to make it perform whatever function the
manufacturer defines for that key. Most people are familiar with
function keys to do things
like: volume up, volume down, mute, wireless on/off, brightness up,
brightness down, etc.

There is a new feature that HP, at least, calls "Action Keys Mode"
which turns this convention on its head. When activated, this makes
a simple press of a given function key trigger its function rather
than being passed along to whatever application as a key press. This
can have some "interesting" effects for screen reader users. This
function is currently enabled by default on my laptop and the F6 key
so happens to be the Mute on/off toggle key. When using NVDA, if I
press F6 it simply toggles the mute state. In order to make it
behave as F6 normally would I must hit
Fn+F6. This does not apply if the SHIFT is pressed along with F6 in
order
to reverse the direction. That works perfectly well. I can only
imagine the chaos this could unleash if you start using the various
commands that employ the function keys on a system with Action Keys Mode activated.

Action Keys Mode can be disabled, but it is controlled via UEFI/BIOS.
On my machine one disables it by activating the UEFI menu by doing a
repeated ESC key press during boot and selecting F10 choice. Once
the old-fashioned BIOS-like screen pops up, you have to transition to
the System Configuration pane and arrow to the Action Keys Mode entry
and disable it. Since this is done well before the operating system
is even involved, I don't know of a single screen reader that could
be active to accomplish the task.

Since this mode is controlled by the hardware ahead of any
intervention by anything else, you must disable it if you wish your
function keys to operate "the way they always have."

Brian


--
Soronel Haetir
soronel.haetir@...
















__________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus signature database 12965 (20160202) __________

The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus.

http://www.eset.com




__________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus signature database 12965 (20160202) __________

The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus.

http://www.eset.com


Michael Mote
 

Hi Bill! On this particular computer, I have an option that says "Change function key behavior, current status is function key row. There is a combo box that allows you to choose between function keys, and media keys. You will want to choose the function keys option.
I don't know if this is available for your computer or not. It does depend on the make and model. I have two Dell computers, and it is not available on the other model, which is a latitude. Hope this helps!

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill White [mailto:billwhite92701@...]
Sent: Tuesday, February 02, 2016 8:13 AM
To: jfw@groups.io
Subject: Re: Action Keys Mode - A Warning to Those Buying Certain New Laptops

Hi, Michael. Do you remember what the choice you selected said? In other words, did it say something like:
"Turn off action keys"?

Thank you.
Bill White billwhite92701@...
----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Mote" <miketmote73@...>
To: <jfw@groups.io>
Sent: Tuesday, February 02, 2016 6:05 AM
Subject: Re: Action Keys Mode - A Warning to Those Buying Certain New Laptops


I may have been fortunate, but recently when I was setting up a new Dell computer, I was able to go into the Windows Mobility center, and turn on the function keys, instead of the media key set up that was originally the default setting. Anyone who has a new computer may want to check into this, before going into Bios to make any changes. It's a lot easier, and your screen reader will read it for you.


-----Original Message-----
From: Russell Solowoniuk [mailto:rsolowoniuk@...]
Sent: Monday, February 01, 2016 8:48 PM
To: jfw@groups.io
Subject: Re: Action Keys Mode - A Warning to Those Buying Certain New Laptops

Interesting! I never thought of that. I haven't updated the BIOS since purchasing my laptop. If I do update the BIOS and mess up my function keys, I will just take it to work and get one of my co-workers to fix it for me!
:)

Thanks,

Russell

-----Original Message-----
From: David Moore [mailto:jesusloves1966@...]
Sent: Monday, February 01, 2016 3:33 PM
To: jfw@groups.io
Subject: Re: Action Keys Mode - A Warning to Those Buying Certain New Laptops

Hi,
My wife bought me a HP stream for Christmas, I love it except for the functions going back to having to hold down the FN key to get F1 through F12. Have a great one.


-----Original Message-----
From: Soronel Haetir
Sent: Monday, February 1, 2016 12:44 PM
To: jfw@groups.io
Subject: Re: Action Keys Mode - A Warning to Those Buying Certain New Laptops

Unfortunately this is only a temporary fix, at least for HP laptops.
HP laptops revert whenever the bios is updated and that has happened several times with the one I have now. Thankfully I live with a seeing eye human so when that happens getting it fixed is fairly easy.


On 1/31/16, Russell Solowoniuk <rsolowoniuk@...> wrote:
When I purchased my Lenovo Yoga Pro 2 laptop a little over a year ago
from Future Shop, I had the tech guys there go into the bios and set
the function keys to behave the way I needed for Jaws use. I had a bit
of a fight to get them to do this, but insisted they do it or I would
purchase the laptop somewhere where they would do it for me. It took
the tech guy all of 3 minutes to do this. Don’t forget, when you are
spending good money, that you have a right to have your laptop set up
in a way that will work for you.
It’s much easier to get them to do it before the sale is made! :).

Thanks,

Russell
On Jan 31, 2016, at 3:44 PM, Brian Vogel <britechguy@...> wrote:

For all I know the following may apply to some desktops and/or
all-in-ones, too, but I've not yet encountered it in these environments.

Since the beginning of the laptop, convention had been that the
function keys across the very top of the keyboard required the Fn key
that's nested along the very bottom of the keyboard to be held before
hitting a given function key to make it perform whatever function the
manufacturer defines for that key. Most people are familiar with
function keys to do things
like: volume up, volume down, mute, wireless on/off, brightness up,
brightness down, etc.

There is a new feature that HP, at least, calls "Action Keys Mode"
which turns this convention on its head. When activated, this makes
a simple press of a given function key trigger its function rather
than being passed along to whatever application as a key press. This
can have some "interesting" effects for screen reader users. This
function is currently enabled by default on my laptop and the F6 key
so happens to be the Mute on/off toggle key. When using NVDA, if I
press F6 it simply toggles the mute state. In order to make it
behave as F6 normally would I must hit
Fn+F6. This does not apply if the SHIFT is pressed along with F6 in
order
to reverse the direction. That works perfectly well. I can only
imagine the chaos this could unleash if you start using the various
commands that employ the function keys on a system with Action Keys
Mode activated.

Action Keys Mode can be disabled, but it is controlled via UEFI/BIOS.
On my machine one disables it by activating the UEFI menu by doing a
repeated ESC key press during boot and selecting F10 choice. Once
the old-fashioned BIOS-like screen pops up, you have to transition to
the System Configuration pane and arrow to the Action Keys Mode entry
and disable it. Since this is done well before the operating system
is even involved, I don't know of a single screen reader that could
be active to accomplish the task.

Since this mode is controlled by the hardware ahead of any
intervention by anything else, you must disable it if you wish your
function keys to operate "the way they always have."

Brian


--
Soronel Haetir
soronel.haetir@...
















__________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus signature database 12965 (20160202) __________

The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus.

http://www.eset.com




__________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus signature database 12965 (20160202) __________

The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus.

http://www.eset.com


 

On Tue, Feb 2, 2016 at 07:00 am, Michael Mote <miketmote73@...> wrote:
I have two Dell computers, and it is not available on the other model, which is a latitude.

 Michael,

           If possible, could you check whether the computer that lets you tweak the function key functions via Mobility Center has anything at all in UEFI/BIOS related to the function keys?

           It's very unusual for anything at the OS level to tweak anything in BIOS.  I suspect that the function control of the function keys on that computer is controlled by the OS after it's running as opposed to anything in BIOS.

           Heaven knows it's an easier thing to change if it's at the OS level of control when you can have your screen reader tell you what's going on.  I wonder, if it is under the control of a program running under the OS whether JAWS would just "hijack" the keys to work as they should anyway when running?  It can't do that when BIOS level control of the key actions is at play.

           Does the Dell Latitude you have come with "action keys" equivalent enabled?  I have an old Dell Inspiron, but it predates Windows 8 and UEFI by a long time, and the whole idea of the "action keys" setup didn't exist.  You always pressed the Fn key in conjunction with a function key to initiate that key's action back then.

Brian