The keyboard backlight on all laptops can be turned on and off using keyboard shortcuts. For example, to enable it on Lenovo ThinkPad T series, you need to use the Fn + Space keys. Many laptop users often ask if Windows 10 has a dedicated setting for adjusting brightness. The answer is yes and no.


Customize the backlight color on your laptop keyboard.


Is there a keyboard backlight in a laptop

Not all laptops have backlit keyboards. To check if your laptop has a backlit keyboard, go to the support page on the developer’s website or use the instructions for the device. Find the correct model and its parameters, and then check the specifications of your laptop. You can also determine the presence of such a possibility visually – carefully study the additional function keys on the device. They are usually marked with a different color on the F1-F12 buttons or arrows. In most cases, you must also hold down the Fn (Function) button, if available, to use the advanced hotkey functions.

How to turn on the backlight

Unfortunately, Windows 10 doesn’t have built-in components for customizing button illumination. But some major manufacturers offer their own software to change the default button lighting settings. For example, Dell on Windows 10 offers settings for turning on the keyboard backlight, adjusting the brightness , automatically turning off after 5, 10, 30, 60, 300 seconds of inactivity. To view all settings, Dell users need to open the Keyboard Properties setting and then go to the Backlighting tab.



Asus and Acer

Turning on the backlight on an Asus laptop is a couple of clicks. To start:

  1. Make sure the feature is enabled in BIOS.
  2. Make sure you update your drivers (enter your model number and install the keyboard driver).

When the light sensor is active, ASUS button diodes will automatically turn on / off the LED according to the environment. For manual adjustment, most Asus laptops use Fn + F4 (to turn on the backlight and increase its brightness) and Fn + F3 (to decrease the brightness and turn off the diodes completely). If your Acer laptop’s keyboard lighting does not work, use the Fn + F9 key combination, or the dedicated keyboard backlight button on the left.

Setting up the backlight on Asus 

Sony and Lenovo

Sony also offers options for standard keyboard brightness settings on some of its models. To see the settings, you need to open the VAIO Control Center and then click “Keyboard” and “Mouse” – “Keyboard light”. Here you can configure the software to automatically turn diodes on or off based on ambient lighting. Like Dell, Sony also offers the option to automatically turn off diodes after keyboard inactivity. To disable the feature, uncheck the box next to the Turn on backlight in low light conditions button. Here you can also configure the automatic mode and the time interval – 10 s, 30 s, 1 minute or “Do not turn off”. Lenovo does not open up new horizons for the use of diodes. Turning on the keyboard backlight on a Lenovo laptop is quite simple – using the Fn + Space key combination. That is, when you press Fn + Space once, the driver will turn on the backlight at medium brightness. Pressing Fn + Spacebar will increase brightness. Pressing the hotkey again will turn off the keyboard backlight completely.

Setting up the backlight on Lenovo


On the road at night or during a presentation in a dark room, it can be difficult to see the laptop keyboard. To avoid this hassle, opt for the HP Pavilion with under-keyboard backlighting that illuminates every key. The highlight character is usually displayed on the left side of the space. If this feature is enabled, you don’t have to turn on the light to type a letter or other text. Depending on the laptop model, the diodes can be activated in several ways:

  1. Turn on the laptop and press the “F5” or “F12” key (depending on the model).
  2. Look for the Fn key next to the Windows button on the lower left side of your keyboard. Press the spacebar while holding Fn to turn on the backlight.
  3. Press the key light button, if your laptop model has one. A dedicated backlight button is marked with three dots in a horizontal line (found on dv6-2022er, dv6-3250us and other dv6 series notebooks).

If none of the combinations worked, check the entire row of function keys. The desired key may be in a different location. If nothing happens, check your BIOS settings. To do this, select BIOS Setup or BIOS Setup Utility in BIOS, and then use the arrow keys to navigate to the System Setup tab. Be sure to enable Action Keys Mode (set to Enabled) if it is disabled.

Setting up the backlight on the HP Pavilion

If the lighting is only on for a few seconds, a timeout setting in the BIOS may be required:

  • Restart your laptop and immediately press F10 until the BIOS opens.
  • Then use the arrow keys to navigate to the Advanced tab.
  • Navigate to Built-in Device Options and press Enter.
  • Here select the Backlight keyboard timeout.
  • Press the spacebar to open the settings, then select the desired delay.
IMPORTANT. If you select “Never”, the diodes will always be active, which will quickly drain the battery. 

If the BIOS does not have this setting, the feature is most likely not supported. More detailed information can be found in the instruction manual or on the manufacturer’s website for the laptop model. To adjust the brightness (if your laptop supports this), press the function button two or three times in a row. If that doesn’t work, try pressing Fn with the function key.

MacBook and Microsoft

All recent MacBooks automatically adjust brightness in low light using a built-in ambient light sensor. You can also configure the parameters manually using hotkeys. Settings for automatically turning off diodes after a specified period of inactivity are found in the Boot Camp Control Panel. To open it, right-click the Boot Camp icon in the taskbar and select “Boot Camp Control Panel”. Microsoft Surface users can use Alt + F2 to increase keyboard brightness and Alt + F1 to decrease keyboard brightness. Other popular manufacturers such as HP, Asus and Toshiba do not offer settings for adjusting keyboard brightness.


When it comes to saving battery, one of the most effective methods is to turn off your device’s keyboard backlight. This feature is a huge advantage for all portable gadgets. But, unfortunately, not all laptop models support it. Consider turning off the lights using the example of Microsoft Surface Pro. Surface Pro has a built-in sensor that activates a diode underneath the buttons to make them stand out better. As long as Surface is plugged into a wall outlet, there will be no power consumption issues. But if it is running on battery power, activating the diodes will speed up battery discharge several times!

IMPORTANT. The developers at Linus Tech Tips recently conducted energy saving tests, which showed that turning off the backlight prolongs battery use by about 16%. 

Other useful settings for saving battery power:

  • Removal of peripherals, mouse and keyboard (20% -30% more battery life per charge).
  • Decrease display brightness by up to 50% (16% more battery life).

The lighting is automatically switched on and off using a built-in sensor. There are also manual controls for the option, but older versions of the Surface keyboard might not. The first two keys next to Esc are the function keys F1 and F2, which control the lighting on the device. If you just click on them, nothing happens. More precisely, pressing F1 or F2 will not change the brightness of the backlight or turn it off / on. To access special features of the Surface keyboard, hold down Alt:

  • Increase brightness – Alt + F2.
  • Decrease brightness – Alt + F1.

If you want to squeeze the maximum battery life out of Surface, you will have to give up such “goodies”. Of course, in some situations, for example, in the dark, the backlight is simply necessary, so the manufacturer has provided an increase or decrease in brightness.

Set up on Microsoft Surface Pro

How to change the keyboard backlight color

Some laptop models are equipped with different colors. For example, the Dell Latitude 14 Rugged 5414. The Latitude Rugged series has a backlit keyboard that can be manually configured. The following colors are available:

  • White;
  • Red;
  • Green;
  • Blue.

Alternatively, the System Setup (BIOS) can configure the system to use the two additional colors installed. To turn diodes on / off or adjust brightness settings:

  • To activate the switch, press Fn + F10 (if Fn lock is on, you do not need the Fn key).
  • The first use of the previous key combination turns on the lighting at minimum brightness.
  • Pressing the key combinations repeatedly cycles through the brightness settings by 25, 50, 75, and 100 percent.
  • Try a few options to find the right one or turn off the light under the keyboard completely.

To change the color of the diodes:

  • Press Fn + C to view the available colors.
  • By default, white, red, green and blue are active. You can add up to two custom colors in System Setup (BIOS).


Backlit Keyboard Setup in System Setup (BIOS):

  1. Turn off your laptop.
  2. Turn it on and when the Dell logo appears, press the F2 key several times to open the System Setup menu.
  3. From the System Setup menu, select RGB Keyboard Lighting. Here you can enable / disable standard colors (white, red, green and blue).
  4. To set a custom RGB value, use the input fields on the right side of the screen.
  5. Click Apply Changes and Exit to close System Setup.
IMPORTANT. The keyboard has a Fn key lock function. When activated, the secondary functions on the top row of keys become standard and no longer require the use of the Fn key. Fn lock affects only the F1 to F12 buttons. 

To lock Fn, press Fn + Esc. The other auxiliary function keys on the top row are not affected and require the use of the Fn key. Press Fn + Esc again to turn off the lock. The function keys will revert to their default actions.

Most mid to high end laptops today offer a backlit keyboard. Backlit keyboards make it easy to type in low light conditions, especially for those who cannot type in touch. If you already have experience setting up keyboard backlighting on a laptop, share your impressions in the comments below this article.

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