The F-Lock key, introduced by
Microsoftin 2003Fact|date=October 2008 toggles the state of the function keys. When on, keys F1 to F12 behave as standard, with meanings defined by the application being used at the time. When off, new behaviour is used: F5 means "open", F10 means "spell" etc. In early models, the state reverted to off at each reboot or keyboard reset, but later models retained F-lock state across reboots.
Other keyboard manufacturers (such as
Logitechand Viewsonic) have now also implemented the F-Lock onto their keyboards.
The introduction of F-lock was marked by criticism on several points. First, the behaviour was unintuitive: Pressing a key such as F4 by default no longer had its normal meaning, so combinations such as Alt+F4 appeared not to work.
Secondly, the choice of secondary function assigned to each key appeared to be arbitrary: whereas F7 was the traditional key for spell-check (used notably by Microsoft itself in its Office products), F7 was assigned the function of "reply", and spell-check was assigned to F10. This caused strong criticism from some commentators. [For example, http://www.udolpho.com/weblog/?id=00582.]
Due to these issues, a number of methods for disabling the F-lock function appeared on the web. [http://jtsang.mvps.org/flock.html]
The new behaviours assigned to the keys are as follows:
* [http://jtsang.mvps.org/flock.html Microsoft F-Lock Key Info]
* [http://weblogs.asp.net/jgalloway/archive/2005/11/29/431762.aspx F-Lock Key XML fix]
* [http://www.linuxquestions.org/linux/answers/Hardware/Microsoft_Keyboard_Function_Key_Fix F-Lock Key Eliminator for Linux]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.