How to Set a Laptop’s Backlit Keyboard to Always Stay Illuminated

Key Takeaways

  • Backlit keyboards are useful for working in low-light conditions, but the backlight often turns off after a period of inactivity to save battery.
  • Most laptops allow you to adjust backlight settings through keyboard shortcuts, BIOS/UEFI settings, or manufacturer software utilities.
  • Keeping the backlight always on can drain your battery faster, so it’s best to use this setting only when necessary.

As someone who often works late into the night, I understand the importance of having a well-illuminated keyboard. Backlit keyboards are a godsend for those of us who frequently find ourselves typing in dimly lit environments. However, one frustrating aspect of backlit keyboards is that the backlight typically turns off after a period of inactivity to conserve battery life. If you’re like me and prefer to have your keyboard illuminated at all times, there are a few methods you can try to keep the backlight always on.

Method 1: Use Keyboard Shortcuts

Most laptops have dedicated keyboard shortcuts or function keys that allow you to control the backlight settings. These shortcuts vary depending on the manufacturer, but they typically involve pressing a combination of the “Fn” key and one of the function keys (often F5, F6, or F10).

For example, on Dell laptops, you can press Fn + F10 to cycle through the backlight brightness levels, including the “always on” setting. On HP laptops, you may need to press Fn + F5 or Fn + F9 to toggle the backlight on and off or adjust its brightness.

To find the specific keyboard shortcut for your laptop, consult the user manual or do a quick online search for your laptop model and “backlit keyboard shortcut.”

Method 2: Adjust BIOS/UEFI Settings

If the keyboard shortcuts don’t work or if you want a more permanent solution, you can try adjusting the backlight settings in your laptop’s BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) or UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface).

To access the BIOS/UEFI settings, you’ll need to restart your laptop and press a specific key (often F2, F10, or Del) during the boot process. The key to press is usually displayed on the initial boot screen.

Once in the BIOS/UEFI settings, look for an option related to the keyboard backlight or keyboard illumination. The exact location and wording of this option may vary depending on your laptop’s manufacturer and BIOS/UEFI version, but it’s often found under the “System Configuration” or “Advanced” menu.

In the backlight settings, you should see an option to keep the backlight always on or to adjust the timeout period before the backlight turns off. Select the “always on” option or set the timeout to “never” or the maximum value.

Remember to save your changes before exiting the BIOS/UEFI settings.

Method 3: Use Manufacturer Software Utilities

Many laptop manufacturers provide software utilities that allow you to control various hardware settings, including the backlit keyboard. These utilities are often pre-installed on your laptop or available for download from the manufacturer’s website.

For example, Dell laptops come with the Dell Power Manager utility, which includes options for adjusting the keyboard backlight settings. On HP laptops, you can use the HP Support Assistant or HP Command Center to access backlight settings.

Once you’ve located the appropriate software utility, look for an option related to the keyboard backlight or keyboard illumination. You should be able to set the backlight to stay on permanently or adjust the timeout period.

Method 4: Use Third-Party Software (Windows Only)

If your laptop doesn’t have dedicated software utilities for adjusting the backlight settings, or if you’re using a non-branded laptop, you can try using third-party software solutions. These programs are designed to provide additional control over various hardware components, including the backlit keyboard.

One popular third-party utility for Windows is Notebook Fan Control (NFC). This program allows you to adjust the backlight settings, as well as control other hardware components like fans and CPU performance.

After installing NFC, navigate to the “Keyboard Backlight” section and adjust the settings to your preference. You can set the backlight to stay on permanently or customize the timeout period.

Keep in mind that third-party software solutions may not work with all laptops or may require additional configuration. Always exercise caution when installing and using third-party software, and ensure that you download it from reputable sources.

Considerations and Battery Life Impact

While having a backlit keyboard that stays illuminated at all times can be convenient, it’s important to consider the impact on your laptop’s battery life. Keeping the backlight on continuously will drain your battery faster, reducing your overall battery runtime.

If you’re working on battery power, it’s generally recommended to use the backlight only when necessary and to turn it off or set a reasonable timeout period when not in use. This will help conserve battery life and extend the time between charges.

Additionally, some laptops may have an ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts the backlight brightness based on the surrounding light conditions. In this case, you may want to ensure that the sensor is enabled and functioning properly to prevent the backlight from staying on unnecessarily in well-lit environments.


Having a backlit keyboard that stays illuminated can be a game-changer for those who frequently work in low-light conditions. By using keyboard shortcuts, adjusting BIOS/UEFI settings, utilizing manufacturer software utilities, or employing third-party software solutions, you can customize your laptop’s backlight settings to suit your preferences.

However, it’s essential to strike a balance between convenience and battery life. While keeping the backlight always on can be helpful, it’s generally recommended to use this setting judiciously and to turn off the backlight or set a reasonable timeout period when not in use to conserve battery power.

Remember, the specific steps and options available may vary depending on your laptop’s manufacturer and model, so be sure to consult your user manual or do some research specific to your device. With a little bit of tweaking, you can enjoy the benefits of a well-illuminated keyboard without sacrificing too much battery life.