Updated: 12/31/2020 by Computer Hope
The F8 key is a function key found at the top of almost all computer keyboards. The key is most often used to open Safe Mode in Windows. F8 also has other uses depending on the computer and program, as mentioned below.
How to use the F8 key
Open the program that uses the key and press F8. If the F8 key also has an icon on the key, it indicates the key has a secondary function. To use the secondary function, press and hold down the Fn key, and while continuing to hold the key, press F8.
If when pressing the F8 key the secondary function is performed (e.g., mutes audio), the function keys are the secondary function. For example, on an Apple computer, to press F8, hold down the fn key, and press F8.
If the FnLk (function lock) is enabled, the keyboard acts as if the Fn key is being pressed until it is unlocked.
Information about what the secondary function may be is found on the below secondary function of F8 section.
Where is the F8 key used?
The following list is all of the locations the F8 key can be used with information about how it’s used.
Function key used to enter the Windows startup menu, commonly used to access Windows Safe Mode. Some earlier computers may also use this key at boot to access the Windows recovery system, but may require a Windows installation CD.
Displays a thumbnail image for all workspaces in macOS.
Pressing the F8 key opens the Replace window in TextPad.
The secondary function of F8
For laptop keyboards and desktop computer keyboards with the Fn key, each function key has two functions. Unfortunately, there’s no standard to what each key uses as its secondary function, so every keyboard is different. Below is a list of different keyboards and their secondary function for the F8 key.
Apple keyboard F8 key
On Apple keyboards, the default F8 key primary function is to play and pause in media players. Pressing the fn+F8 for the secondary function is F8.
Cooler Master keyboard F8 key
On Cooler Master desktop keyboards, the F8 secondary function is one of the following options depending on the model.
Dell keyboard F8 key
On Dell laptop keyboards, the F8 key secondary function is to mute and unmute the volume.
HP keyboard F8 key
On Hewlett-Packard laptop keyboards with a screen or box symbol on the F8 key, the secondary F8 function turns up the audio.
Lenovo ThinkPad F8 key
On the IBM and Lenovo ThinkPad keyboards with a line through an antenna, the F8 key secondary function is to enable and disable airplane mode.
Logitech keyboard F8 key
On Logitech keyboards with a “G” in a circle on the key, the F8 key toggles the Game mode, which disables the Windows key.
Advanced Game mode settings are also available in the Logitech Gaming Software.
Logitech keyboards with two arrows pointing to the right fast forward or go to the next track in supported media players.
Microsoft Surface F8 key
On the Microsoft Surface laptops, the F8 key secondary function is the PrtScrn button.
Below are links to related keyboard shortcuts and individual key pages.
Fn, Function keys, Keyboard, Keyboard terms