Suggestion - MacBook Pro Function Keys

Discussion in 'Parallels Desktop for Mac' started by bceverly, May 3, 2006.

  1. bceverly



    I'm hoping that you'll read through this one because I think it would help make the product better. I'm running your product on a MacBook Pro and love it. However, something that consistently bugs me (and it might be an OS X issue) is that my function keys, which i need to use a bunch in Windows because I'm primarily using my VM to run Visual Studio 2005 for C# development and I need to use the function keys on the keyboard.

    In OS X, those keys are mapped to things like volume control, screen brightness, etc. and I have to disable that functionality before I can use them as function keys in Parallels.

    Is it possible to write a keyboard driver that would catch the keypress and interpret it differently in the VM that you do in OS X so I can leave the setting alone (i.e. have them control things in OS X but be real function keys in Parallels)?

  2. duga


    You don't really have to disable the special functionality - you just swap the meaning of fn. So, to control volume you have to hit fn. Seems like it would be confusing to have the same key behave differently in different apps.
  3. maverick808


    I'd rather the behaviour of the keyboard function keys was NOT changed. The FN key already allows the function keys to behave normally in Windows and I like that I can still control brightness and volume inside the virtual machine using the function keys as normal without pressing FN.

    If you want to use the function keys in VS then simply hold FN. Please note that the order you press the keys is important though. For example, pressing Ctrl-FN-F5 will start your application without the debugger running but pressing FN-Ctrl-F5 will not (because the function was applied to Control rather than F5).
  4. maverick808


    Indeed, and you can achieve this in System Prefs already anyway. It's...

    "Use the F1-F12 keys to control software features" in Keyboard & Mouse->Keyboard.
  5. johnnykrisma


    Thanks for this tip Maverick, indeed, I had not noticed this option on my machine until you pointed it out. This is a good tip even outside of the Parallels realm.

    Last edited: May 3, 2006
  6. kaufman


    If you do this (and I did) don't forget to turn off the use of F9-F12 by Dashboard and Expose. Otherwise you still will not be able to use those keys.

  7. jmaynard


    Or you can do as I did and set those to Command-F9 through Command-F12.
  8. jonrobs


    This needs some thought

    In My View, there are two ways this can be done.

    1. While the Parallels window has focus the special key finctions are remapped. I do not like this method too much becase i need to remember which window i am in.

    the best way is to change as standard how the MacBook Pro F1 to F12 keys are mapped. I think when you start Parallels for the first time you should be asked how the special keys should be mapped. At the least they can open the preference pane for the keyboard and once that is closed open the dashboard and expose preference pane to remap those keys as well.

    If it stays the way it is most users will not find the solution by themselves.


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