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February 15, 2005, 6:02 pm
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Fn-F8 on my Dell Latitude would not always enable the external monitor
(I use the laptop alot for presentations). This was true if the laptop
was in, or not in, the docking station.
I fought this issue for several months as it would randomly appear and
then disappear. I could not find a cause.
Yesterday I removed the Beta Google Desktop (which I was not anxious to
do - very useful software). Immediately the Fn key started working
again - and it continues to do so.
I searched Google for a report of this problem - and found none. This
posting is submitted incase someone else has the same issue and is
On my Dell, from a power-on boot, you'll briefly see the Dell Bios
screen during POST then you'll see the boot menu. My boot.ini waits
for a menu selection before selecting normal XP or recovery XP. At
that point, you should be able to press the Fn key down and tap Up
arrow or Down arrow. The menu selection bar should NOT move up and
down - rather your screen brightness should change. If the Menu
selection bar does move, then you have the problem I had.
In continuing to boot, you can signon normally. Once XP is running
stable, you'll note that your Fn key seems inactive. Pressing
Fn-anything does not work. Your Fn key acts broken. In this failure
mode, you cannot switch to your external monitor with Fn-F8.
This condition will persist over shutdowns, suspends, in-dock and
out-of-dock situations until "something" happens (and I don't know what
this is) where the situation gets corrected. I think, but cannot
prove, it is a delay in Google Desktop Indexing loading.
The one thing I have not done is to reinstall Google Desktop to see if
the problem reappears. So this not is not an inditement of Google -
just a supposition.