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I understand that the programmable keys on keyboards (e.g. Volume Up/Down, Next Track, etc...) are now a feature of Windows 7. And indeed, when I plugged in my old Dell USB keyboard, it installed a number of things, among them Dell Keyboard Programmable Keys.

How do I now program them?

BTW, there are Windows 7 or even Vista drivers for this keyboard, it really is pretty old.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

If you go to your start menu and enter "keyboard" in the search bar, "change how your keyboard works" is one of the options that pops up in the control panel suggestions. Follow this link and you can adjust the function of your keys.

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Good shot, but it does not actually let you customize multimedia keys. – AngryHacker Jan 17 '11 at 6:22

Based on this Microsoft Knowledgebase article it would seem that while there is a body of default launchers now built in to Windows, to edit them one must install additional software, namely Microsoft's IntelliType which will add a new tab "Key Settings" to the Keyboard Control Panel. Following the download link, the IntelliType installer was not listed side by side with the IntelliMouse downloads; instead I had to select a specific keyboard product to get to a subpage with the IntelliType installer. I tested this with a Microsoft Natural 4000 keyboard on Windows 7 Ultimate, so I can't say for certain how it would work with a Dell or other-branded keyboard.

Also an older but interesting blog along with its comments that gives some background and peripheral info . I found that in my Windows 7 box the Registry key was not in HKCU hive, but HKLM instead (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\AppKey and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer\AppKey). In my case, only some of the keys were represented and I was able to edit the action taken with registry editing, but I was not able to add actions for apparently "unregistered" keys (although I only went up into the low 30's on the index-named reg keys before giving up) Also, as usual: caveat emptor; registry editing should be done with caution as it is easy break things in there.

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