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Ask Max: Function Keys on a MacBook not working

Asked on 10/29/2007:

I have a MacBook whose function keys do not do their labeled functions (adjust brightness, volume, etc), b/c I imaged it from an image made on a iMac Flat Panel. From what I can tell, you cannot set these functions in the Keyboard Shortcuts control panel. I was hoping to copy the preferences file from another working MacBook whose function keys are working properly over to the one whose aren't, but I can't find any documentation on where the function key preferences are stored. Do you know where I would find these preferences so I can copy them, reset them, or change them?


testIt should not matter what computer you copied over the OS from, as all versions of OS X can boot any version of Mac, as long as it is a point version higher then what the computer came with from Apple. This is true with the exception of PowerPC Vs. Intel versions of the Mac OS. If it is a software problem you should be able to restore that functionality by downloading the latest Combo update for the Mac OS. Provided you are not already running 10.4.10. If you are then you will have to download the 10.4.11 update when it becomes available.

Now if this does not fix your problem, you may just be having a problem with an unintentionally changed preference. Go to System Preferences and select the "Keyboards & Mice" section. Now click on the Keyboard tab and make sure that there is no check mark next to "Use the F1-F12 keys to control software features." Uncheck it and close the window. Now try to use those special keys.

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