I've got a Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000. In addition to the regular keys, it's also got keys for Web/Home, Search, Mail, Favorites (5), Calculator, and Media functions (Mute, Volume Up/Down, and Play/Pause). Everything works most of the time, and the exception is rather odd.

I use a programming system called Clarion. When that has focus, the Media keys don't work. (All the others still do.) I've also discovered that programs that I create using Clarion also block the media keys (only when they have focus). This indicates that it's probably something in Clarion's Run-Time Library (RTL) that's causing the trouble. The keys will work if I click on a non-Clarion window before hitting the media key, but that's an undesirable hassle.

The odd thing is that I have many colleagues with the same keyboard, and they have no problem.

When I recently upgraded from Vista Professional to Win7 Ultimate, I noticed that various things "appear" differently. For example, with my old system, when I changed the volume or muted the volume bar visualization always appeared at the bottom right on the screen. Now it doesn't appear in certain programs, even when it works. This indicates an order of precedence for visual elements.

I'm fairly certain a similar order of precedence exists for keyboard hooks. Depending on how the hooks are defined, and the order in which they're applied, it would seem that sometimes the IntelliType drivers don't see the media keystrokes.

The Media keys probably behave differently than the rest of the "special" keys, because they are more of a standard across all keyboards, so perhaps are handled by a different driver hooking mechanism.

Does anyone have any suggestions of how I might fix this problem? Is there some way to change the order of hooks? Delay the loading of the IntelliType driver? Thanks in advance!

  • Another clue: Clarion runs "elevated" (as an administrator). It's manifest file is external, so I tried changing it run non-elevated, which fixes the problem. Therefore, those particular media keys only work when non-elevated applications have focus. Unfortunately, Clarion needs to run elevated for various operations, so this doesn't resolve the problem. – Mike Hanson Oct 22 '12 at 17:50

If you kill itype.exe, media keys will work, hopefully this bug will be fixed. itype overrides the media keys. Also use mmkeys.dll for itunes, still wont help if itype is running, but will allow itunes media playback control without the window being active.


Basically, IntelliType takes over the media keys, and will not let you use them for anything but Windows Media Player. So far, there is no work-around. I thought it might be a matter of letting IntelliType know which media player was default, but that doesn't work, either. No matter what, the media keys will not work unless you're focused on the media player you're using. When you're focused on a window for another program, the media keys do nothing.

This may be a bug on MS's part, or it may be by design. All I know is that it was a huge pain in the neck!

  • 1
    That's actually incorrect! The media keys tend to be system wide, and can be configured via Intellitype in Control Panel to call any type of operation. E.g. I have it calling CMD files that run Perl scripts, telling my SlimServer to go to next/previous, or to pause/play. These work everywhere except when programs compiled using Clarion 7/8 have focus. However, others with Clarion have indicated that it works fine for them. I think there's something about the order in which the various drivers are loaded that causes the trouble, and I don't expect it to improve until I get a new machine. – Mike Hanson Sep 7 '11 at 13:13

When I recently upgraded from Vista Professional to Win7 Ultimate, I noticed that various things "appear" differently. For example, with my old system, when I changed the volume or muted the volume bar visualization always appeared at the bottom right on the screen.

To me this sounds like you're missing a driver. Did you perhaps have a drive for your media keyboard on your old system which you have yet to install on your new system? It's probably that which was responsible for displaying the visualisations you mention.

Installing said driver may resolve the focus issue.

  • YOu need MS's IntelliType software (from microsoft.com/hardware) for MS keyboard functions to work. – Richard Apr 11 '10 at 12:39
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    @Richard: not entirely true - the following keys work for me on XP with no drivers installed: Back, Forward, Stop, Mail, Search, Favourites, Web/Home, Windows (start menu), ContextMenu, My Computer, Calculator, and Sleep. In short, all my extended keys. The first 7 (excluding Mail) require the browser to support them though. – Hugh Allen Apr 11 '10 at 18:35
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    I believe the IntelliType driver was automatically loaded with the installation of Win7. Considering that Microsoft makes both the OS and the keyboard, this seems a safe assumption. Also, it says that IntelliType is installed. :) Regardless, I'll check if there's a newer version available. BTW, the visualizations are produced by the IntelliType driver. They are the same for both Vista and Win7. – Mike Hanson Apr 11 '10 at 23:49
  • @MikeHanson: IntelliType (and IntelliPoint) were not included with the Win7 install I did here. (And IntelliPoint was needed before the screen saver would cut in.) – Richard Apr 12 '10 at 7:34
  • @HughAllen: This answer is about Win7 not XP. – Richard Apr 12 '10 at 7:35

If you already got the proper driver it is possible, that this driver contains specific config profiles for different applications. Maybe you can configurate them somewhere in the options of the driver.

  • I've investigated this, and you can create different assignments for different programs. Unfortunately, those keys are still blocked when that program has focus. – Mike Hanson Apr 12 '10 at 9:34

I had this exact same problem and my only solution was to use HKTunes Portable (replacement for mmkeys).


  • It's not quite the same problem. My media keys work just fine, assuming that Clarion isn't in the foreground. When it is, then the media keys are not getting passed through to the operating system for normal use. Strangely, others using Clarion with the same keyboard and OS don't have a problem, so there must be something extra going on with my machine. Oh well... – Mike Hanson Jan 28 '12 at 11:07

If you feel like hacking a config file there is an XML configuration file here where all the commands are configured:

C:\Program Files\Microsoft IntelliType Pro\commands.xml

You can also look here and here.


For me, the issue was actually when any privileged application was in the foreground.

Media keys worked as normal when any non-privileged application had focus without any drivers or third party utilities.

If you have set Clarion to run as an Administrator, that might be the cause of your woes also.

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