My Laptop Has No Numlock LED

Note: The tool described in this post worked on Fedora 33 but no longer works with Fedora 34. Because this code is no longer maintained it is unlikely that this problem will be fixed.

In addition to no Numlock LED, my laptop has no Capslock or Scrollock LEDs, either.

I have a great System76 Oryx Pro laptop that meets all of my needs for a powerful, if somewhat large portable computer. I actually have two of these Oryx Pros. One is mine and one belongs to a non-profit organization where I volunteer. Mine is a bit older, larger, and heavier while the one I use for the NPO is redesigned to be smaller, lighter, with more CPUs and the same 17″ screen size. But both of these laptops have different versions of the same simple problem.

My older version has a series of LEDs along the front edge that show all the usual information such as power, charging status, disk activity, and the Numlock and Capslock status. But there is no easy way to tell which light is which – except for the power and disk activity light. All the rest have unreadable text next to them – at least to my old eyes. The newer Oryx Pro has no lock key LEDs at all.

So it can be difficult to tell whether to expect upper or lowercase when typing, or numbers or cursor and page movement from the numeric keypad. What I needed was a status indicator for the lock keys and I found one.

I like and use the Xfce desktop on all of my systems. It is simple, easy, and uses far less system resources than many other desktops. So I did a little searching and came up with a plugin that displays the keyboard LED status in the Xfce panel. The best part is that Fedora provides a ready-built RPM package for this tool. Install it with the following command.

# dnf install -y xfce4-kbdleds-plugin

Then right-click on the top panel and open the Panel Preferences menu. Click on the Items tab and click the + button to add a new item; this opens the Add New Items menu. Locate and select the Kbdleds plugin and click the Add button which adds the item to the panel and closes the Add New Items menu. Back on the Panel Preferences menu you can select the Kbdleds plugin and use the up/down buttons to move it to the desired location on your panel.

Figure 1: The Numlock key is active as shown by the green background highlight.

The indicator is small with three letters, C(aps), N(um), and S(croll). When the corresponding key is activated, the background for that letter turns green as you can see in Figure 1.

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