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April 4, 2011 / douglasac

Setting Up A Microsoft Keyboard To Control Zune

So, today I went to Harvey Norman and bought something from there at a competitive price (I know, it’s a shock, isn’t it?). Specifically, I bought the Microsoft Wireless Desktop 3000. It was half price there ($65 vs.$129.95 normally) , and it was what I was looking at paying for it online before delivery. And they had them in stock., so, naturally, I bought one.

I did previously have a Logitech Wave keyboard and a Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer 3.0. The Wave was a lovely keyboard, but IntelliType shits all over SetPoint (IntelliType intergrates with the Windows Keyboard control panel, which means it’s got a normal interface whereas SetPoint was butt ugly and it’s own app, which sucked). It also didn’t play nice with Zune, especially with playing and pausing music: it would pause it for about half a second and the music would start again. Repeatedly. Eventually, I discovered that if you mashed the button repeatedly it would eventually pause the music. This annoyed me.

The Intellimouse Explorer was a lovely mouse, it was just getting old: had become shiny and smooth from overused and had some scratches from an unfortunate incident with my laptop’s powercord when they shared part of the bag one day.

So, after I uninstalled SetPoint and IntelliPoint 8.0, I installed the included IntelliPoint\IntelliType Pro 7.1 software, and tried to use the multimedia buttons to control Zune. Nothing.

I downloaded the newer versions for both (Version 8.01 for IntelliPoint, 8.0 for IntelliType), and tried to see if they’d work. Still nothing. Restarted and still nothing.

Some Googling revealed that IntelliType would only let the media controls control your default media player. So, first port of call: the Default Programs control panel.


Initially, I chose Set your default programs and let Zune have all it’s defaults (I think it had all but a couple which VLC and Media Player had). This worked to no avail, because the controls would still not work.


Next, I tried Set program access and computer defaults. Aha! This should work, I thought.


Selecting Zune as the default player and clicking OK, I thought this would solve that problem. Nope.


It just sat at that window for about ten minutes, doing nothing. So, I closed and thought, if Media Player is the default program… why not just disable it? So I did. Tada! The keyboard now controls Zune.

I assume that this would apply if you use WinAmp, that heathen program iTunes or some other program that won’t listen to the hotkeys, however I would suggest that before you disable WMP (because if you do disable it, it won’t be used for anything at all unless you explicitly open it from the Run dialog or navigate to C:\Program Files\Windows Media Player\ and open wmplayer.exe, then open something with it) you attempt to make your preferred program the defaulty.

TL;DR, to make a non-Windows Media Player program work with a Microsoft Keyboard using IntelliType under Windows 7, go to Start –> Control Panel –> Large Icons –> Default Programs –> Set program access and computer defaults and set whatever your preferred media player is as the default under Custom. If you find that it hangs, simply disable Windows Media Player.


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