Fn key not working on Sony VAIO VGN-AR21S laptop

Posted on 2009-05-01
Last Modified: 2013-11-17
Dear Experts,

I have a Sony VAIO VGN-AR21S laptop that originally came installed with Windows XP Media Centre.  I have rebuilt it with Vista Ultimate and installed all the drivers and utilities supplied on the VAIO support site:-

However my FN keys are still not working (e.g. adjusting brightness, changing display mode to use external monitor etc).  Please can you help?

I was under the impression the VAIO event service was responsible for these buttons, but the service is installed and running.

Question by:geoff_austin
    LVL 11

    Expert Comment

    If you bring up Task Manager do you see Hkserv running as a process? If not than it appears that the service needed to make the hotkeys function is not installed.

    Have you tried this suggestion from the Sony support site?


       1. Click Start and click Run
       2. Type msconfig and then press ENTER.
       3. Select the Startup tab.
       4. Make sure that the check box is selected in front of Hkserv.
       5. Click Apply then OK.
       6. Restart your VAIO.

    If the problem is not solved, reinstall the hotkeys from the Application Recovery CD and if it is still not solved perform a full recovery.

    Author Comment

    Thanks for the response techzter.

    I don't have  hkserv running as a process, nor is it listed in msconfig or the registry.

    Do you know which driver / utility installs hkserv?
    LVL 11

    Expert Comment

    I think that you definitely have the proper download page. I am not exactly sure which download will contain the software you need. My guess is that it will be in the application/utility section. My 3 best guesses would be AppMon, Sony Utility Series, or VAIO Control Center. If you can't find it perhaps a quick call into support will help you track it down.

    Accepted Solution

    See attached screenshot of Programs and Features from the affected laptop.

    As you can see Appmon, Setting Utility Series and the VAIO Control Centre are all installed.

    I called Sony today but the laptop is outside of warranty.  I called the premium rate number and some clueless dude told me the Fn keys were not supported in Vista and I should try rebuilding from the installation CDs.
    LVL 11

    Expert Comment

    It sounds like you've done everything right. I'm not sure where else you could check. Hopefully someone else that has this laptop may come along to give you some further hints. The only other thing I could recommend would be to call back into support and see if another tech gives you a different answer. Sometimes you get better techs than others.
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    Hi.Just reinstall the Vaio Event Service. You can do that from:
    -Control Panel
    -Vaio Control Center
    -click on reinstall applications(not sure what it says on xp)
    -check on the programs and drivers tabs for Vaio Event Service and follow the instructions to reinstall it.
    It is more likely corrupted installation
    If you couldnt find it there, all the drivers and utilities should be on C:\Drivers folder I think
    Alternatively, just download the utilities package from the Sony website and reinstall  the Vaio Event Service, Sony settings utilities and Vaio Shared library.

    Author Comment

    techzter, snazy - Thank you for your responses.

    Don't think I can face calling Sony support again.  I almost lost the will to live last time.

    I have reinstalled the Event service already, but only from the same download as last time.  I will try downloading and installing once again.
    LVL 11

    Expert Comment

    Good luck Geoff. Does Sony have a chat session for support? I often find that I can trouble fairly simple things using the chat sessions as effectively as over the phone. That way you can work on other things while you wait. It may not be as dreadful as the phone support.

    Author Comment

    techzter - Thx for your comment.  No chat session that I can see on the Sony website :-(

    I have given the laptop to the user now and explained she cannot use an external display.  It's not a satisfactory result but I cannot spend any more time on the thing.

    Thanks again to all for their suggestions.

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