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March 12th, 2020 19:00

XPS 13 9300 Home and End keys

I just got an XPS 13 9300 and just assumed that the Home and End keys would be Fn-Left and Fn-Right, like my XPS 13 9343.  Turns out, I was wrong to assume that. Fn-F11 and Fn-F12 is going to be a huge pain when navigating code and I was wondering if there was any way to change that in software or in the BIOS.  I've got the Developer edition so I'm using Ubuntu 18.04.  Please tell me there's something I can do here, because the keyboard is about the most important thing to me and I may have to return the laptop because of this.

Thanks, Andrew

4 Operator

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14K Posts

March 12th, 2020 20:00

Wow, really?  It's funny, I used to love having those navigational keys in the upper-right corner on my old Precision M6300 since that approximately matched a desktop keyboard layout, but I've gotten used to having them on the arrow keys, and on some Lenovo laptops that shortcut works even though the arrow keys aren't explicitly marked (because there are ALSO Home/End keys in the upper-right corner area).  But since I use keyboard shortcuts heavily, this type of thing is precisely why I carefully study the keyboard layout of any laptop I'm considering purchasing. Typically if the manufacturer's product page doesn't have a high-resolution photo of the keyboard layout, some review site will.

Anyhow, if you don't see anything in the BIOS, then you can't do anything in the OS to manipulate Fn-based key combinations because anything involving the Fn key is processed by the system firmware before anything even gets to the OS.  The Fn key itself isn't sent to the OS at all.  The best you could do would be to install a utility that allowed you to define custom keyboard shortcuts and use a combination involving some other modifier key(s), like Ctrl+Alt+arrow keys, although you'd have to be careful about conflicting with other OS functions.  I don't use Linux, but I know that on the Windows side, there are already functions mapped to Ctrl+arrows, Shift+arrows, and Ctrl+Shift+arrows.  And I know Autohotkey would be perfect for type of keyboard shortcut creation on Windows; not sure if there's a Linux version or equivalent though.

Or actually, since if you're on Linux, perhaps you could use the Windows key as a new Fn key without creating any conflicts?

52 Posts

March 13th, 2020 05:00

One of my very few bug-bears with this laptop.

I'm somewhat used to the whole swapping because of the Surface I use at work but so annoying!  OBviously you can lock the FN on/off using fn+escape but that then switches the F1/F2 etc to the volume up/down.

 

2 Posts

March 13th, 2020 09:00

Just received my XPS 9300 and noticed this issue, and wanted to echo the same concern.

In the past, Dell has been good about providing BIOS updates that improve keyboard usability for other XPS models. I'd like if Dell would consider a BIOS update that re-enables the Fn + Left/Right = Home/End key combination -- and maybe even make it an option that users can enable in BIOS (with it disabled by default, in case other users want to stick with the existing Fn + F10/F11 combination).

For now, I'm using AHK (on Windows) to bind RightShift + Arrow Keys = Home/PgUp/PgDn/End. It won't cover all situations (specifically text selection with Home/End), but at least it will help with nagivating around code.

117 Posts

March 13th, 2020 19:00

If you don't use right alt and right ctrl, those two keys would be perfect for remapping.

17 Posts

April 9th, 2020 03:00

The real solution is Dell releasing a BIOS update to send a Home or End keystroke when fn-left and fn-right are pressed, respectively.

 

Workarounds that require you to use your other hand or make ridiculous hand knots, or even repurpose other handy keys (the Win key is used in many Linux desktop environments as a Super key), aren't solutions.

It also seems like the easiest thing to do. There doesn't even need to be a toggle for this. I really wonder why someone decided to change this and why someone approved this change as a good idea. I really can't see how this is an improvement. It's a regression.

This is especially true considering that Dell are marketing this device as a development machine, which requires lots of text navigation. XPS users also have a loyal fanbase, and forcing us to change the way we type isn't exactly a reward for that loyalty.

 

Here's hoping that 1.0.8 will fix this. Soon.

9 Posts

May 23rd, 2020 01:00

I would like to echo my concern for this issue as well. I recently got my new XPS 13 9300 and the lack of Fn+Left/Right arrows for Home/End navigation is the one thing that really annoys me. I hope they can add this functionality in a BIOS update.

5 Posts

May 26th, 2020 00:00

+1 "The real solution is Dell releasing a BIOS update to send a Home or End keystroke when fn-left and fn-right are pressed, respectively."

4 Posts

May 27th, 2020 22:00

I have xps 9550 with fn + arrow functionality and I love xps in general. Since the 2020 upgraded lineup I was thinking about 9500 for me and 9300 for my wife but I guess I'll have to search for other options just because of the keyboard For regular people maybe this is fine, I guess they press Home button only once in a while. For developers navigation keys are more important than mouse/trackpad so if it's not convenient your productivity will plummet not talking about frustration not being able to do what you want.

Its a shame really that dell would a) mess with keyboard so much (9550 keyboard seems be perfect layout) b) would not provide firmware to at least partially solve this (the power button near delete button is also not a good decision).

I mean this years lineup is great looking and decent specced but the keyboard seems to be the deal breaker...

17 Posts

May 30th, 2020 01:00

The recent 1.0.11 bios update did not solve it yet

BTW I agree that the power button where delete used to be is sort of a bad decision, but on the other hand there has actually gone some thought into this: while you might accidentally put your finger there instead of delete, it's unlikely that you'll accidentally press it because they made the button's resistance much higher.

If only the same thought had gone into the mapping of the home and end keys I mean they could've literally saved themselves two buttons at the top

4 Operator

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14K Posts

June 3rd, 2020 12:00

Posted an update on this issue in another related thread, specifically this post.

1 Message

June 27th, 2020 16:00

yes echoing concern.
map "home" key to fn + left | map "end" key to fn + right 

It is completely counterintuitive to remove that functionality. 

For a "TECH" product built by TECH people... this is a weird one to mess up. Please fix this in an update.  


4 Operator

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14K Posts

June 27th, 2020 16:00

Another update in that larger thread I previously linked. Specifically, this post: https://www.dell.com/community/XPS/Control-Home-Control-End-Keys/m-p/7632904/highlight/true#M64376

14 Posts

August 21st, 2020 12:00

Unbelievable. Who makes such random decisions? I have no hopes whatsoever dell will ever fix this. They just dont care.

December 15th, 2020 12:00

You can fix this *stupid* and incredibly tone deaf keyboard layout flop on Dell laptops by using the AutoHotKey software (available at https://www.autohotkey.com/). Using this software, you can write a script that maps a hotkey combination to some other key output. For instance, I used this script to remap Alt+Left/Right to Home/End:

!Left::Home
return
!Right::End
return

While this solution works, it's unfortunate that I had to spend 2k+ for an inferior product. Will definitely *not* be recommending Dell XPS computers wholeheartedly as I used to. 

4 Posts

January 7th, 2021 09:00

To Dell: Please make Fn+Left/Fn+Right act as Home/End, these combinations send no keystrokes at the moment!

To the audience. Like many of us already did, I've used our beloved AutoHotkey to make life a tad easier. The snippet below achieves the following:

  1. Top row F11/F12 are now Home/End without the Fn key.
  2. Left Windows key acts as a "proper" Fn key, remapping all 4 of the cursor keys. With Shift+, Ctrl+ modifiers.

Hope it's useful. Cheers!

;
; Fix ugly Dell Home/End cursor keys.
; LWin acts as a Fn alternative.
;

; Make top Home/End available without Fn.
F11::Home
Home::F11
F12::End
End::F12

; All four arrow keys, with modifiers.
; Order: U, D, L, R.

<#Up::
  Send {PgUp}
  return

<#^Up::
  Send ^{PgUp}
  return

<#+Up::
  Send +{PgUp}
  return

<#^+Up::
  Send ^+{PgUp}
  return


<#Down::
  Send {PgDn}
  return

<#^Down::
  Send ^{PgDn}
  return

<#+Down::
  Send +{PgDn}
  return

<#^+Down::
  Send ^+{PgDn}
  return


<#Left::
  Send {Home}
  return

<#^Left::
  Send ^{Home}
  return

<#+Left::
  Send +{Home}
  return

<#^+Left::
  Send ^+{Home}
  return


<#Right::
  Send {End}
  return

<#^Right::
  Send ^{End}
  return

<#^+Right::
  Send ^+{End}
  return

<#+Right::
  Send +{End}
  return

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