One common frustration for users after upgrading to Windows 11 is finding that their laptop’s brightness buttons have suddenly stopped working. Whether on a Dell, Lenovo, HP, or other brand, losing control of screen brightness from your keyboard is inconvenient.
Thankfully, with some focused troubleshooting and a few tweaks, you can likely get your brightness buttons functional again in Windows 11. This guide examines why this issue happens and the top fixes to restore the brightness keys on your laptop or tablet.
Diagnosing the Root Causes
There are a few root causes that typically lead to brightness button issues after upgrading Windows versions:
Like most PC peripherals, the buttons rely on drivers to translate press inputs into actions like changing brightness. If these drivers are outdated or generic, they may partially work or fail entirely in a new OS.
Power Management Conflicts
Power management handles screen brightness as part of battery conservation. Changes to these systems in Windows 11 may break expected behaviors from function keys.
System Firmware Problems
At a lower level, your device firmware interfaces between hardware and software. Incompatibilities here can also manifest as non-working keys.
So while the symptoms are simple – pressing brightness keys does nothing – there are a few places to check under the hood when troubleshooting.
Top Fixes and Workarounds
With many possible culprits, try these fixes in order to resolve brightness buttons not working windows 11:
Update All Drivers
Outdated drivers are one of the most common culprits behind peripheral problems after an OS update.
To update them:
- Open Windows Update settings
- Click “Check for Updates”
- Install all available driver updates for your hardware
This will fetch the latest compatible drivers from your device manufacturer. For some users, this alone gets brightness keys working again.
Toggle Adaptive Brightness
Windows 11 defaults to adaptive screen brightness, which overrides manual changes. Disable this to rule it out as an issue:
- Go to Settings > System > Power & Battery
- Turn the “Adaptive Brightness” toggle off
Now try using your brightness keys again. Without adaptive mode, they should directly control backlight levels.
Adjust Power Plan Settings
Further power plan tweaks can help if power management features are interfering with your keyboard buttons.
Under each plan’s advanced options, ensure these are set:
- Button Brightness: 100%
- Enable Adaptive Brightness: Off
- Turn On Button Backlights: 1 Minute
The “Turn On Button Backlights” timeout stops power management from disabling your backlit keyboard, which often houses brightness keys.
Check for Firmware Updates
If other fixes don’t resolve the issue, outdated firmware may be the culprit. Check your manufacturer’s support site for a BIOS, EC, or other firmware update. Carefully follow instructions to flash the new firmware code.
Workarounds for Persistent Issues
If all else fails, two handy workarounds give alternative ways to control brightness. Neither fixes the underlying issue but serves as a temporary solution.
Leverage Keyboard Backlight Keys
Many backlit keyboards have brightness controls that also change screen brightness by default. Test different key combinations to find one that works, if available.
Use the Brightness Slider in Quick Settings
Windows 11 conveniently retains a screen brightness slider in Quick Settings. Pull down from the top right and move the slider up or down to control backlight levels.
Don’t resign yourself to a dim display if your function keys stop working after a Windows 11 upgrade. A bit of patience, attention to drivers and power settings, or firmware updates often gets brightness buttons working again.
For computers afflicted with deeper incompatibilities, keyboard backlights or Quick Settings give you temporary ways to adjust screen brightness. With either a permanent fix or a usable workaround, you can stay productive without squinting at your screen.
The key is avoiding hasty returns or system rollbacks when a fixable issue like this appears after an OS migration. Instead, methodically try the most common remedies here to restore full control of display brightness through your keyboard buttons again.