I frequently come in contact with people who absolutely cannot operate a PC, no matter how much training they get.

I need some sort of programmable physical button or remote control that executes a script on a Windows machine when it is pressed. (And no, wiseguys, a mouse won't do.)

Does such a thing exist? If so, how can I set it up?


The USB Panic Button is scriptable. Of course it looks pretty silly.

  • 1
    This needs a siren and big red flashing lights when pressed.
    – Troggy
    Aug 3 '09 at 20:19

You could map a physical button to some script using autohotkey. For instance I use to map my CAPS-LOCK key to SHIFT :) It is very powerful with its own macro language and loads of tutorials out on the web.


Maybe combine Vdex's idea with a cheapo USB Presenter gadget to get a more "phyiscal" button.


This is kind of out-of-the-box, but you can buy buttons designed for arcade machines. Such buttons will require soldering and programming, or you can wire them into a keyboard.

Barring that, look for emergency switches (think "the big red button" buttons) which can be built into a system and are very easy to operate once installed.


My Microsoft Wireless Keyboard 4000 has 5 programmable buttons across the top labeled by number. I put little sticky labels above them to remember which one did what.

You can assign each of these buttons to open an executable. So you could write a script in your favorite language and have the buttons invoke it (call the interpreter to execute a script, maybe).

Microsoft Wireless Comfort Keyboard 4000

Note: I don't believe Microsoft sells this particular keyboard anymore but I'm sure there are others like it.

  • I bought mine a month ago :D
    – voyager
    Aug 4 '09 at 1:27

Maybe somthing like this could be useful:

usb button set


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