The Fn Key At the Wrong Place And How It Helped Virtualization

Another of my confusing titles for a post but this little story is too and shows how beneficial it is to sometimes have a look left and right from the beaten path.

I recently bought a new sub-notebook from Lenovo and was quite irritated that the Fn function key is were the STRG key is supposed to be. It drove me crazy as I use the STRG key quite often and always hit the Fn key instead. Luckily, Lenovo is aware of its blunder and offers an option in the BIOS to switch the Fn with the STRG key. While I was doing that I had a look around what other options the BIOS offers and I stumbled over a page at the time that had a couple of options for CPU virtualization support that were all disabled. At the time I just noticed it but since I didn't see a need to virtualize anything I left the options disabled.

Then a week or so later I turned to virtualization to have a Virtualbox VM with Windows XP in it to run some networking tools that are not available under Ubuntu. Runs like a charm as reported. Setting up Ubuntu in another client container, however, did not work as smoothly, the experience was very slow and the user interface not very responsive. I tried a lot of things to improve it, more memory, more graphics RAM, etc. etc. but nothing would help.

Then, while relaxing a bit I suddenly remembered the 'virtualization' settings in the BIOS. I rebooted the computer, activated the settings in the BIOS and started Ubuntu in the virtual machine again. And voila, it suddenly ran like a charm. The speed of Ubuntu running in the virtual machine is now pretty much the same as the Ubuntu host system. Incredible! I wonder why the Windows XP client doesn't need it!? Perhaps too old 🙂

So the Fn key at the wrong place actually helped me to get this totally unrelated problem solved. This, and of course that curiosity that made me have a look at the other options in the BIOS at the time. Sometimes I am amazed how the brain works.


3 thoughts on “The Fn Key At the Wrong Place And How It Helped Virtualization”

  1. I had to wonder for a while what’s the STRG key. Apparently that’s the CTRL key. It makes for easier reading if you use the English abbreviations when writing English 🙂

  2. Just a lil’ clarifier for those non-kraut’s reading the blog:

    STRG == Steuerung == control == CTRL

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