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1937 posts

Uber Geek
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Topic # 18294 5-Jan-2008 14:34
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I knew about this design flaw before I purchased my Lenovo laptop, but bought it anyway for a number of other factors.

One design flaw is not limited to Lenovo laptops. The other appears to be:

1. The special function "Fn" key is in the bottom left corner where my Control key "should" be. The Control key is to the immediate right of the key. Thus:

| Fn | Ctrl | instead of | Ctrl | Fn |

How can I change these around the other way? I'm running Vista Basic

2. Stupidly, Lenovo engineers have decided that we don't use our Home and End keys - these don't exist but are mapped to:

Fn + PgUp for Home
Fn + PgDn for End

I note that to the left of these keys, I have a 2nd Ctrl key (superfluous) and the "Windows Right Mouse Button Click" Key (that brings up the contextual menu.

Question: Can I get rid of my Right Ctrl key and Windows context menu key functionality and use them for Home and End instead?

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170 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 103052 5-Jan-2008 16:24
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There are several ways to remap keys within Windows. Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator is the software I use. This should allow you to work around your Home/End problem, assuming that your keyboard differentiates between Left Ctrl and Right Ctrl (most keyboards do).

The catch is that there is nothing you can do with the Fn key. The Fn key is not a normal key, and does not pass a scan code onto the OS, it goes directly to the BIOS instead, so Windows never gets a chance to remap it.

1937 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 53
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  Reply # 103058 5-Jan-2008 16:38
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It's completely flawed in design.

WHY put the Fn key in the bottom left where touch typists reach for Ctrl? It's not like you use the Fn key frequently, and when you do you can't even reach to most of the functions using a single hand Yell

In fact the most useful Fn function is screen brightness, and that is mapped to Fn + F10 and F11, which are JUST outside my reach (well actually I just tried and at a FULL stretch of little finger to thumb I can JUST touch it :/).

Even worse, Fn + F1 and F2 which ARE reachable with a single hand are mapped to volume up and down. But this keyboard has got Lenovo hardware keys to control volume!!

Thanks for your suggestion. Do you know about and if it differs significantly? Despite many things I hate about MS, ironically I tend to prefer using their small apps like this one :p

Edit: Wow a whole page of angry users!

LOLOL The best solution is to tape the 2 keys together - then Fn + Ctrl + letter = Ctrl + letter and Fn + Ctrl + Fkey = Fn + Fkey.

Ridiculous - not sure if I'll be able to find an elegant way to tape the keys together...Grrrr.


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Reply # 103076 5-Jan-2008 19:32
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LOL Tongue out next time get a laptop with the Fn key to the right of the CTRL key!

Seriously tho, autohotkey is a very cool program. I used it for a while to swap mouse tracking speeds for use with my touchpad (sloooow) and bluetooth mouse (fast). Unfortunately it can't do anything about the Fn key. Frown

I would expect Lenovo of all companies to make a sensible keyboard layout. Or have the Thinkpads gone downhill since Lenovo bought them from IBM?


1937 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 53
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  Reply # 103083 5-Jan-2008 20:17
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I actually forgot that an old thinkpad I got for nostalgia to play with had the same thing. I remember thinking how stupid it was :/ But I didn't use it daily! So Lenovo inherited this - unfortunately they didn't add trackpoints to their machines, but they did remove the Home/End keys!!

Seriously this is a 15" laptop with plenty of room for proper keyboard keys, but I guess it has to be the same keyboard for 15 or 14 inch models. The keyboard types nice (as I had read in reviews) though.

I've always loved Thinkpads and I think they remain the workhorses they always have been (time will tell). Trackpoints were great, and touchpads don't compare imo. But I'm slowly learning that touchpads are more versatile.

Last night I discovered how to "tweak" my touchpad. Aside from page scrolling, I was able to map middle-click to tapping the top left corner of the touchpad - very handy for Firefox!  

1937 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 53
Inactive user

  Reply # 103347 7-Jan-2008 15:10
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Problem solved.

Talked with Lenovo who told me that nothing could be done to change the keys in the way of software, etc.

Took laptop back to store and after consultation with the store manager they accepted a return (in "factory hdd restore state" and in 100% new condition).

Note to self: don't ever buy laptops with stupid keyboard designs.

170 posts

Master Geek
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Reply # 103365 7-Jan-2008 16:44
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Yeah, the number of times I've tried to copy and paste on someone's Thinkpad (only to wonder why nothing happened) is numerous. The sooner Lenovo sort it out the better.

The tape idea is an interesting workaround, but it sucks having to do something like that to a new laptop.

Good plan to take it back. It's the best fix yet!

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