Dell laptop keyboard backlight control & timer [solved – ControlPoint download]

Q. I recently did a clean install of Windows 7 on my Dell laptop. I love the fresh and clean feel, but I can’t find where to adjust the duration on my keyboard backlight. Can you help?!

A. Sure! Backlit keyboards are one of Β my favorite options on Dell laptops. My previous Dell M4400 had a nice one and now my Dell M6500 (pictured has one too). I will hardly purchase a laptop unless it has a backlit keyboard, they are SO nice for night time or other low-light environments.

But, back to your question! You simply need to install the “Dell System Manager” portion of Β the Dell “Control Point” driver download.

Download links:

Here is the Dell download link, once the page loads expand the “ControlPoint” listing and then look for the “ControlPoint System Manager” driver download.

By default the driver will expand to:


Again, here is the OFFICIAL Dell Download Link (

Sometimes Dell changes their download locations, so here is a local mirror for your convenience:
(download id=”4″) [temporarily disabled, sorry!]

Driver details:

Here is the version info:

Title : ControlPoint:Dell ControlPoint System Manager Application
Version : A16
OEM Name : Dell
OEM Ver : 1.5.00000
Computers : Latitude – E6400 ATG, E6500, E4300, E4200, E6400, E5400, XT2, E5500, Z600, XFR E6400, E5400, XT2 XFR, E6410, E5510, E4310, E6410 ATG, E5410, E6510;
Precision – M4500, M6500, T7500, T5500, T3500, M6400, M2400, M4400
Oses : Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium, Windows 7 64-bit Professional, Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate, Windows Vista 64-bit BusinessWindows Vista 64-bit Home PremiumWindows Vista 64-bit Ultimate
Languages : Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Indonesian, Basque, Brazilian Portuguese, Bulgarian, Chinese, Chinese Hong Kong, Chinese-S, Chinese-T, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, English (UK), Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Iberian Portuguese, Italian, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Pan-Euro, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Serbian Latin, Slovakian, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian
Created : Thu Sep 2 23:27:34 CDT 2010

And the readme as well:

* Dell System Manager Readme *

Dell System Manager 1.5.00000

Changes from previous release:

– Removal of Dell ControlPoint Launcher: There is no longer a launcher page where the System Manager pillars (Power, System and Devices and Tablet) integrate into. The pillars can now be launched independently via the Start menu.
– Fixes for previously reported issues:
– Fix for not showing battery info for non Dell batteries
– Fix for Tablet Help file issues in Korean language
– Fix for cosmetic UI issues in Keyboard Backlighting
– Fix for not retaining the notification settings on upgrade
– Fix for issue where quick up/down arroow key usages in XT2 caused a Prnt Scrn command to be executed
– Changed description for Dell Power Plans to more meaningful ones
– Removed tablet Input mode options for Win7 OS (as features are available in the OS)
– Added option to allow specification of run time language during install time (to override native OS language)

Important Note:
– Even though the Dell ControlPoint Launcher / Framework has been removed, all the features / functions supported previously will still be available and functional via the independent System Manager pillars.
– The settings for notifications (Ambient Light Sensor, Brightness, Speaker Volume and Keyboard Backlighting) settings have been moved from HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Dell\DellControlPoint\DIS to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Dell\SysMgrExe\Preferences. The registry values for DlgDisablerALS,DlgDisablerKBD,DlgDisablerKBD and DlgDisablerVOL have been replaced with ShowAmbientLightSensorNotification,ShowKeyboardBacklightNotification,ShowBrightnessNotification and ShowVolumeNotification respectively.
– Notes to IT Admins can be found in the release package (called ITAdmins.HTML)


I hope this helps you out. I am a HUGE fan of Dell laptops, especially the Precision line, and I hope you get a lot of enjoyment out of your notebook. πŸ™‚


  • Edski

    Looking for a way to permanently change the default setting (1 Min) for my Dell XPS17 (L701x) for the backlit keyboard. There is a Keyboard Backlighting Control Panel. Every start up, it’s defaulted to 1 minute so I have to change it every time. Dell support only reads what’s in their manual and there’s a fee for tech support for this topic. I believe somebody with Registry skills could come up with a solution. Thanks in advance.

  • i just replaced a keyboard for a customer on a Dell Precision M6400, now he says when he tries to turn on the back light on the keyboard it flashes, as if it is trying to turn on but cant.. any idea? i have not looked at it yet, just wanted to gt an idea of what i am in for. thanks for your help!

    • J.D.

      Humm, that is very odd. Here is a link with a few tips you may want to try:

      If that fails, here is a laundry list of things to potentially investigate, sorry for nothing more concrete!

      Misc items:
      Was the old keyboard backlit and if so was the backlight working correctly on the old keyboard? It seems like this might be a hardware issue? Is the keyboard connector fully seated/locked?

      On the software see it may be worth checking to see: does the customer have the backlight duration set extremely low, or is their Dell backlight control software outdated? Latest BIOS installed? Any odd settings in power management or the BIOS? NOTE: I don’t think the illumination control

      Finally, has the user powered the system completely off and on? Sometimes I’ve had Dell keyboard backlights go flaky until a full power cycle occured…

      Sorry to not be of more help Michael, I have never encountered that before! If anyone else has tips/solutions please comment below, thanks πŸ™‚

  • Not sure if possible, but can you take the dell xt2 tablet keyboard and swap out with xfr model w/ backlit keyboard? If so, I think I will replace it… IT guy here, so shouldn’t be a big issue – Just came across this blog today. Running Windows 8, so I don’t think this works yet – Thnaks!

    • J.D.

      Good question!

      I don’t know for sure, but it looks like there is a good chance it would work. It sounds like you are already aware that many Dell models share keyboards and it is often simply a matter of taking out a non-backlit keyboard and replacing it with a backlit version (for example on the Dell M4400 series).

      However, the wildcard here with your question is that the “xfr” model is their rugged line so I’m not sure if they share the same motherboard & connectors etc. as the regular XT2.

      Thankfully, the keyboard connectors and mounting positions appear identical so the odds look good! Also if you are like me and find it hard to live without a backlit keyboard* the price is pretty low:
      Roughly $45 dollars and you could always sell it on eBay if it didn’t work.

      *NOTE: the backlit keyboard features rubberized keys which, while making it very rugged, may be significantly worse to touch type on πŸ™ I’m not saying you shouldn’t try it… I’m just saying it is something to be aware of πŸ™‚

  • Patty

    My Dell Latitude E6500 comes with 3 keys that control the volume from the keyboard. A sliding panel bar used to pop up when I pressed the keys [volume up, volume down, and mute], but the panel has disappeared and I can no longer control the volume from the keyboard. Any suggestions for how to get the volume panel to come back using keystrokes?


    • Hi Patty,
      Thank you for your comment. It sounds like it might be either:
      (A) a software issue – related to the Dell Control Point utility that generally handles volume control / brightness etc.
      (B) a hardware issue – if the volume control keys are experiencing issues

      My first suggestion would be to check the Dell Control Point (or system utilities) installed on your system and see if there are any volume options you can adjust or an easy way to “turn on” the sliding panel bar.

      If the software approach fails, you could also try pressing slightly harder on the volume buttons and/or checking to see if there has been any damage or physical change to those buttons that might be inhibiting their operation.

      I hope these preliminary tips are helpful and if any of the other commenters have tips/suggestions please feel free to share.

      Good luck Patty!

      Best regards,

  • Andre du Plessis

    My DELL ATG E6400 has a keyboard error that refuses to display the keys “2,w,s,x” and sometimes “0,o,k,m” as well.

    The odd thing is that sometimes they work without a problem.

    Do you perhaps have any idea what may cause this?

    • Hi Andre,
      Thank you for your comment.

      It sounds like a hardware issue to me. πŸ™ Have you tried cleaning the keyboard? Sometimes some compressed air applied to the afflicted area can help dislodge dust that can inhibit keystrokes (I had this issue on my Lenovo X220 and compressed air helped).

      Beyond that, it is fairly easy to replace the keyboard on a M6500 if need be:

      Finally, if you Dell is still under warranty you could always have Dell service perform the repair.

      I hope you find a solution to your keyboard issue and thank you again for your comment!

      Best regards,

  • don

    Holding down Fn + Right-arrow key fixed the problem on my Dell M6500 laptop.


    Asteroid Invasion

  • Texan

    Thanks for the info, helped me solve the back light problem on my m4400

  • Ar Hue

    The keyboard backlight timer control fix offered – worked! BIG THANKS!

  • Caven

    This works on Dell’s Precision M4800.

  • can i upgrade a dell precision m6600 or a dell m4600 to a backlit keyboard?

    • Dear Glenn,
      Thank you for your comment. YES, I believe you should be able to upgrade either laptop to a backlit keyboard. Normally you just swap out the old keyboard with the backlit keyboard and sometimes you have to connect one additional cable but there should be a spot on the motherboard for it.

      NOTE: I am basing this on experience with similar Dell models that I have upgraded.

      Best regards,

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