For the longest time the Media button on my keyboard used to launch Winamp. I don't remember having to do anything to set that up. But suddenly now the button launches stupid Windows Media Player when I press it. I have tried everything I can think of to change it back. Winamp is set to open all the filetypes it can. It is set as my default media player (from Default Programs > Set program access and computer defaults). When I go to Default Programs > Set Default Programs there is only a small list of programs there and Winamp is not one of them and there doesn't seem to be anyway to add or remove programs from that list. I don't no what the point of that silly thing is.

I tried re-installing Winamp. I looked through the Windows Media Player options, nothing there. I considered uninstalling or disabling WMP but that isn't easy and I'm not sure if I want to do that anyway. My keyboard doesn't have any special drivers installed and I can't find any for it, BenQ doesn't support it anymore. It worked fine before without drivers anyway.

So the question is where is the magic place to set what the Media Button does? Something in the registry?

  • 2
    What model of BenQ keyboard do you have? What version of Windows are you running?
    – aportr
    Mar 14, 2012 at 23:57

9 Answers 9


On Windows 7 (and since Windows ME apparently) these enhanced keyboard keys can be handled directly by Windows using the APPCOMMAND system.

The associations for these keys are stored in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\AppKey.
(It can be overridden, per user, by adding it in HKCU as well I think).

AppKey 16 is the "Media Launcher" key (APPCOMMAND_LAUNCH_MEDIA_SELECT). By default it has an association with .cda (Audio CD's).

So which ever program you have set as the program to handle Audio CD's will be what opens when you hit the Media Launch key.

I have Winamp currently set to control .CDA files (Winamp-->Options-->Preferences-->General Preferences-->File Types), and it opens when I hit the "Music note" key on my Logitech with no additional drivers installed.

  • Nicely done! Strange, in the Winamp preferences it is set to open CDs but when I actually checked Default Programs > Set Associations, .cda was indeed set to Windows Media Player. Finally! Thanks dude.
    – Moss
    Mar 15, 2012 at 2:08
  • Yeah, Winamp's internal association setter and Win 7's "Program Defaults" associations don't play well togeather. :) Mar 15, 2012 at 12:16
  • 4
    Nice way! Instead of changing the file association of .cda files, I would recommend to add another text value named "ShellExecute" to key 16 where you just specify the path to your winamp.exe or desired program. Of cause you are supposed to remove the association value to .cda.
    – user425088
    Mar 5, 2015 at 8:55
  • @flex, thanks! Just what I needed. You should post that as an answer. I wanted to launch the Windows 8 Music app, but it doesn't seem possible to associate it to the .cda extension. So I just created a ShellExecute value with microsoftmusic: as its content. Aug 19, 2015 at 15:06
  • What about other hot keys? (I have 14 hotkeys+a scroll wheel to control the volume, but in registry, theres only five AppKeys)
    – RogUE
    Jan 24, 2016 at 11:30

This is the real thing you have to do to make anyprogram be default of media button: Startmenu-> Control Panel-> All Control Panel Items-> Default Program-> Associate a file type of protocol of program -> ... find .cda, click on it and click "Change program..." -> Choose any media program you want like Jetaudio or Winamp -> OK

Then you can instead open your program by pressing media button.

  • did not work for me on windows 10
    – Ev0oD
    Jun 5, 2016 at 14:18

In Windows 8.1

  • Control Panel\Programs\Default Programs - Set program access and computer defaults
  • expand "custom"
  • in "Choose a default media player" select "winamp"
  • 1
    Please be aware, that this overrides all file associations
    – binco
    May 23, 2015 at 18:14
  • This also works for Windows 10. Adding on to this, you can set the rewind, pause/play, forward buttons like so: Open up the Winamp Preferences and the browse down to General Preferences \ Global Hotkeys. The first thing you should check is whether the “Enabled” hotkey is checked. If it’s not, then select that and most likely that will fix your issue. Source: howtogeek.com/howto/windows/…
    – Onosa
    Jun 22, 2016 at 21:00
  • More specifically in Windows 10 it goes by what is associated with MP3s
    – Mark Sowul
    Feb 15, 2018 at 3:44

In Windows 7 run registry, go to


AppKey 16 is the "Media Launcher" key. By default it has an association with .cda (Audio CD's).

Delete value "Association". Creat new value "ShellExecute" (REG_SZ type) and as data set path to the program.

E.g: ShellExecute = c:\Program Files\foobar2000\foobar2000.exe

  • What does this add that the accepted answer doesn't?
    – Burgi
    Mar 7, 2016 at 11:48
  • @Burgi, for me it showed concrete name of registry value and how it should be filled. Accepted answer insists I will read documentation to do this instead Jul 19, 2021 at 13:07

For Windows 10 I had to change the default app for Music player:

Settings -> System/Apps (depending on Windows build) -> Default Apps -> Change Music player

  • This helped for Email too (Outlook)
    – Dan
    Mar 26, 2021 at 12:24


The Winamp Preferences screen is accessible via the Bento or Modern skin by selecting 'Preferences' from the 'Options' menu.

It can also be accessed in all skins by hitting Ctrl+P on your keyboard, when Winamp is the focused application.

General Preferences: Global Hotkeys

  • Enable default multimedia key support: Will attempt to process media keys by using WM_APPCOMMAND messages ('off' by default). Try checkmarking this option if your Play/Pause, Stop, Previous & Next keys aren't recognized by just using the 'Enable' Global Hotkeys setting below.
  • Enabled: Checkmark this to enable Global Hotkeys. Global Hotkeys can be used to perform actions (Play, Stop, Next, Previous, Rate Items, Copy Title, etc) even when Winamp isn't the active application.
  • Action: Select which extra hotkeys to enable via the drop-down menu.
  • Hotkey: Use your keyboard to select a unique hotkey for the selected action (eg. hold down Ctrl + Shift + H) then click the 'Add' button.
  • 3
    Link-only answers are discouraged here at SU due to potential future link-rot. Please include pertinent information in your answers. Mar 15, 2012 at 0:23
  • 1
    Sorry. I've copied the information now.
    – matthewk
    Mar 15, 2012 at 0:40
  • Sorry, not exactly the problem I was having. The play control keys were actually working, just not the app launch button. I did have the WM_APPCOMMAND button checked but it made no difference. Anyway, problem solved.
    – Moss
    Mar 15, 2012 at 2:10

For Windows 8.1 (32-bit) this is the simplest solution:

Control panel >
Default programs >
Associate a file type or a protocol with a specific program >
Click MP3 under Extensions >
Change program


There is another solution which, in my opinion, is a little more elegant. Not sure if it's still needed as the original question was answered more than 5 years ago, but I hope it will be useful to someone:

  • Run RegEdit and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\AppKey

    As Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 mentioned in the accepted answer, your Media button is AppKey 16

  • Delete the Association registry key in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\AppKey\16

  • Add a new String Value key and name it ShellExecute

  • If you have Winamp installed, set the value simply to winamp

  • If Winamp is not installed in your system, like when you just have it in a folder or it's a portable install, a refugee from the previous OS, or if the previous step does not work for some reason, set the value to the absolute path of your Winamp executable, e.g. C:\Program Files (x86)\Winamp\winamp.exe

Now your Media button should run Winamp exclusively.

You can actually make media keys run any other programs, BAT files, VBS scripts or shell commands using the same technique.


For Windows 10 LTSC Settings -> Apps -> Default Apps -> Music Player change the default Program to Winamp

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