How to Turn Off or On and Troubleshoot the Backlit Keyboard on Your Dell Notebook Computer

How to Turn Off or On and Troubleshoot the Backlit Keyboard on Your Dell Notebook Computer



Depending on the model of your Dell computer and the features installed, it may or may not have a backlit keyboard.

The easiest way to determine whether your computer is equipped with a backlit keyboard, is to look at the F10, F6 or the right-hand arrow (located in the lower right-hand corner) key, to see if the illumination icon is printed on it. Your computer does not have a backlit keyboard, when the F10, F6 or the right-hand arrow does not have the illumination icon.

Refer to Table 1, as a reference to what the icon looks like, and what key combinations will toggle through the options available on your keyboard (off, dim or bright, depending on your hardware).

Possible Backlit Keyboard Key Combinations
Press the Notebook F10 Key key.
Note: When nothing happens while pressing the F10 key,
press and hold the Notebook Fn Key key and press the Notebook Esc Key key, and try again.
Press and hold the Notebook Fn Key key and press the Notebook F6 Key key.
Press and hold the Notebook Fn Key key and press the Notebook Right Arrow Key key.
Note: This is the right arrow key, located in the lower right-hand corner.
Figure 1: Backlit Keyboard Key Combinations.

When the key combinations do not toggle through the options, make sure the computer has the latest System Setup (BIOS), and that any configuration options in the BIOS are set correctly.

Refer to the Table of Contents and then select the link that matches the brand of your computer, follow the instructions for information on updating the BIOS and how to change the settings on the keyboard back light. Your backlit keyboard may have other options other than off (disabled), dim or bright.

Over time, many models of Dell computer have had different BIOS interfaces and different options depending on the hardware in the computer. Once in the BIOS, you will need to match your BIOS interface to the instructions.


Table of Contents:

  1. Latitude Computers
  2. Precision Computers
  3. Vostro Computers
  4. XPS Computers
  5. Inspiron Computers

1. Latitude Computers

  1. Make sure the BIOS is updated to the latest version. For more information, refer to Dell Knowledge base article What is BIOS and How to Download and Install the latest BIOS?

  2. Make sure the Keyboard backlit option is enabled in the BIOS.
    1. With the computer completely off, press the power button.

    2. Immediately start pressing the F2 key once a second (when the computer boots into Windows, shutdown the computer and try again).

    3. Click the + sign next to System Configuration.

    4. Click Keyboard Illumination.

      Note: When Keyboard Illumination is not an option, your computer does not have a backlit keyboard.

      Depending on the version of the BIOS on your computer, you will have different options.

      On the newer versions of the BIOS, the options may be:

      • Disabled or Off - The keyboard illumination will always be off.
      • Dim - The keyboard illumination will be at half brightness.
      • Bright - The keyboard illumination will be at full brightness.
        Note: There may be another option listed under Keyboard Illumination in the System Configuration menu, Keyboard Backlight with AC. When enabled this option will maintain the brightness level when set by the using the brightness level keys on the keyboard.

      On an older version of the BIOS, the options may be:

      • Disabled or Off - The keyboard illumination will always be off.
      • Auto ALS and Input - The keyboard will automatically illuminate in dim lighting conditions when the internal keyboard, touchpad or pointstick are used (when using this setting the Ambient Light Sensor has to be set to Enable in the BIOS.
        To make sure the Ambient Light Sensor is set to Enable perform the following steps:
        1. Click the + sign next to Video in the System Configuration menu.

        2. Click Ambient Light Sensor.

        3. Select Enable.

      • Auto Input Only - The keyboard will illuminate when the internal keyboard, touchpad or pointstick are used.
    5. Click Apply, and then Exit.

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2. Precision Computers

  1. Make sure the BIOS is updated to the latest version. For more information, refer to Dell Knowledge base article What is BIOS and How to Download and Install the latest BIOS?

  2. Make sure the Keyboard backlit option is enabled in the BIOS.
    1. With the computer completely off, press the power button.

    2. Immediately start pressing the F2 key once a second (when the computer boots into Windows, shutdown the computer and try again).

    3. Click the + sign next to System Configuration.

    4. Click Keyboard Illumination.

      Note: When Keyboard Illumination is not an option, your computer does not have a backlit keyboard.

      Depending on the version of the BIOS on your computer, you will have different options.

      On the newer versions of the BIOS, the options may be:

      • Disabled or Off - The keyboard illumination will always be off.
      • Dim - The keyboard illumination will be at half brightness.
      • Bright - The keyboard illumination will be at full brightness.
        Note: There may be another options listed under Keyboard Illumination in the System Configuration menu, such as:
        • Keyboard Backlight Timeout on AC - Allows you to set the time the backlight stays on while on A/C power.
        • Keyboard Backlight Timeout on Battery - Allows you to set the time the backlight stays on while on battery power.
        • Keyboard Backlight with AC - When enabled this option will maintain the brightness level when set by the using the brightness level keys on the keyboard.

      On an older version of the BIOS, the options may be:

      • Disabled or Off - The keyboard illumination will always be off.
      • Auto ALS and Input - The keyboard will automatically illuminate in dim lighting conditions when the internal keyboard, touchpad or pointstick are used (when using this setting the Ambient Light Sensor has to be set to Enable in the BIOS.
        To make sure the Ambient Light Sensor is set to Enable perform the following steps:
        1. Click the + sign next to Video in the System Configuration menu.

        2. Click Ambient Light Sensor.

        3. Select Enable.

      • Auto Input Only - The keyboard will illuminate when the internal keyboard, touchpad or pointstick are used.
    5. Click Apply, and then Exit.

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3. Vostro Computers

  1. Make sure the BIOS is updated to the latest version. For more information, refer to Dell Knowledge base article What is BIOS and How to Download and Install the latest BIOS?

  2. Make sure the Keyboard backlit option is enabled in the BIOS.
    1. With the computer completely off, press the power button.

    2. Immediately start pressing the F2 key once a second (when the computer boots into Windows, shutdown the computer and try again).

    3. Click the + sign next to System Configuration.

    4. Click Keyboard Illumination.

      Note: When Keyboard Illumination is not an option, your computer does not have a backlit keyboard.

      The options are:

      • Disabled or Off - The keyboard illumination will always be off.
      • Dim - The keyboard illumination will be at half brightness.
      • Bright - The keyboard illumination will be at full brightness.
        Note: There may be another option listed under Keyboard Illumination in the System Configuration menu, Keyboard Backlight with AC. When enabled this option will maintain the brightness level when set by the using the brightness level keys on the keyboard.
    5. Click Apply, and then Exit.

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4. XPS Computers

  1. Make sure the BIOS is updated to the latest version. For more information, refer to Dell Knowledge base article What is BIOS and How to Download and Install the latest BIOS?

  2. Make sure the Keyboard backlit option is enabled in the BIOS.
    1. With the computer completely off, press the power button.

    2. Immediately start pressing the F2 key once a second (when the computer boots into Windows, shutdown the computer and try again).

      Depending on the version of the BIOS on your computer, you will have different options.

      On the newer versions of the BIOS:

      1. Click the + sign next to System Configuration.

      2. Click Keyboard Illumination.

        Note: When Keyboard Illumination is not an option, your computer does not have a backlit keyboard.
        • Disabled or Off - The keyboard illumination will always be off.
        • Dim - The keyboard illumination will be at half brightness.
        • Bright - The keyboard illumination will be at full brightness.
          Note: There may be another option listed under Keyboard Illumination in the System Configuration menu, Keyboard Backlight with AC. When enabled this option will maintain the brightness level when set by the using the brightness level keys on the keyboard.
      3. Click Apply, and then Exit.

      On older versions of the BIOS:

      1. Look on the Main BIOS screen for Keyboard Type - backlite.

        Notes:
        • When Keyboard Type - backlite is not shown, your computer does not have a backlit keyboard.
        • In this version of the BIOS, when Keyboard Type - backlite is shown, the backlit keyboard is automatically enabled and there are no configuration options.

      2. Press the Esc key to exit the BIOS.

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5. Inspiron Computers

  1. Make sure the BIOS is updated to the latest version. For more information, refer to Dell Knowledge base article What is BIOS and How to Download and Install the latest BIOS?

  2. Make sure the Keyboard backlit option is enabled in the BIOS.
    1. With the computer completely off, press the power button.

    2. Immediately start pressing the F2 key once a second (when the computer boots into Windows, shutdown the computer and try again).

      Depending on the version of the BIOS on your computer, you will have different options.

      On some versions of the BIOS:

      1. Click the + sign next to System Configuration.

      2. Click Keyboard Illumination.

        Note: When Keyboard Illumination is not an option, your computer does not have a backlit keyboard.
        • Disabled or Off - The keyboard illumination will always be off.
        • Dim - The keyboard illumination will be at half brightness.
        • Bright - The keyboard illumination will be at full brightness.
          Note: There may be another option listed under Keyboard Illumination in the System Configuration menu, Keyboard Backlight with AC. When enabled this option will maintain the brightness level when set by the using the brightness level keys on the keyboard.
      3. Click Apply, and then Exit.

      On other versions of the BIOS:

      1. Look on the Main BIOS screen for Keyboard Type - backlite.

        Notes:
        • When Keyboard Type - backlite is not shown, your computer does not have a backlit keyboard.
        • In this version of the BIOS, when Keyboard Type - backlite is shown, the backlit keyboard is automatically enabled and there are no configuration options.
      2. Press the Esc key to exit the BIOS.

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Article ID: SLN153665

Last Date Modified: 11/29/2018 03:13 AM


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