Give your Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 Previous/Next song functionality

This post shows how to “hack” your Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 to give Previous/Next functionality to the numeric “Favorite” keys (specifically the 4 and 5 numbers) although you can probably use this to set Previous/Next to any of the custom keys.

These will not be application-specific but system wide, which is the beauty of it. You don’t have to switch to your music player application in order to change the track. So far I’ve tried it with Spotify and iTunes, and it works.

Here are some things that are useful to know when you do this:

  1. The Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard center uses the registry to store/retrieve the assigned target program or commands to each of the special keys. The path on the registry is at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\IntelliType Pro\ModelSpecific\1016\EventMapping.
  2. Given that the registry is used, it is possible that for 64 bit installs there are duplicate entries on the usual SOFTWARE path and on the Wow6432 node. I bumped into that the first time I tried this. The tutorial that showed me how to do it was only for a 32 bit Windows install, so I didn’t know I had to look for the 64 bit entry at that time. This second time I did it, I’m on a Windows 8 x64, and I didn’t have to anything else other than to edit the default registry path. When I did this on Windows 7, I did have to alter the entries on the Wow6432 node.
  3. Each key has a corresponding registry Key/folder, and inside, a REG_DWORD (32 bit) entry has the actual command to execute for that key.

So, the actual steps to do this:

  1. Open the Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center.
  2. Go and assign custom targets for the keys that you want to you use for Prev / Next. I use #4 for Prev, so I set #4 to prev1.exe (the file does not have to exist, just makes it easier to find the key you need to edit on the registry) and I set #5 to next1.exe.
  3. Open Task Manager and kill the itype.exe process.
  4. Open the Registry, with Administrator privileges.
  5. Edit -> Find -> prev1.exe
  6. Just one registry entry should be found. Inside there will be about 4 or 5 entries. Delete all of those, it will not let you delete the default one.
  7. In that spot, create a new DWORD (32 bit) Value, make sure Hexadecimal is selected on the radiobutton, and paste the following text to its value: 000002c0. Rename the entry to “Command” (without the quotes) or it will not work.
  8. Now do the search for next1.exe, and repeat the procedure but assigning the new entry the value of 000002bf.
  9. Manually start itype.exe (location of default install is at C:\Program Files\Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center\itype.exe).

You should now have Previous/Next functionality on the keys that you selected. Hope it works.

Thanks to Tom from ElectroLab Games, which is where I saw the original tutorial: Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 + Play Next Song Hack

19 Responses to Give your Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 Previous/Next song functionality
  1. Ross

    Just wanted to drop a quick note to say thanks – this works perfectly (even in the newish Mouse and Keyboard Center that’s shipped nowadays).

  2. James

    I also wanted to say thank you. It still works on the newest installation of Intellitype Pro (8.2 I think) running on Windows 7 x64.

  3. Aaron

    Worked perfectly! Thanks!

  4. Edgar

    Aug, 2014 – Update, with the Win 7 64-bit IntelliType program/driver, previous and next tracks are built into the software. No need for regedits!

  5. Zac

    Thank you, SO MUCH. Tried a few times and kept running into the 32bit solutions, this worked like a charm. Playing a game and want to go to next track without alt+tab, left click spotify, left click next, alt+tab, heal the tank as fast as I can… You made that happiness possible.

  6. Jamie

    Just wanted to post an update that this worked perfectly as of 10/29/14. Thanks!

  7. Jamie

    Update to earlier comment: After I set the 4 and 5 keys to be previous and next, I went back and set key 1 to open Spotify. After doing this the 1 key properly opens Spotify but the 4 and 5 keys no longer function. I had to redo the steps to get the 4 and 5 keys to work again. Somehow setting the 1 key wiped out was saved for the 4 and 5 keys.

    After testing it out, the 1, 4, and 5 favorite buttons all work properly now, so if anyone wants to use the other 3 buttons they should probably set those first.

  8. Rob P

    Absolutely brilliant!! I have searched for this information for years and finally found someone who knows how to make it work… yay!!

  9. Kevin

    Just got a new 4000 keyboard in the mail and was sorely disappointed to find that it didn’t have the prev/next buttons. This worked like a charm. Thanks!

  10. Spence

    Brilliant, worked like a charm. Thank you so much for posting this.

  11. Bob

    Thanks a lot for sharing!

  12. Daniel

    thanks from sept 2016! (:

  13. Xavier

    Won-der-full! Many thanks for removing a small daily frustrating moment out of my life!

  14. Saeve

    Brilliant, thanks so much! 😀

  15. D

    This solution is spot on for Amazon Music. Haven’t tested with other players. Using Win10 64 bit Mouse and Keyboard Center.

  16. Bill

    Genius!

    By the way, I didn’t need to run regedit as Admin, and in fact couldn’t find the right keys when I did. You can edit HKEY_CURRENT_USER without being admin, at least on Win10. And no, my user account isn’t an admin 🙂

  17. Ammanuel

    I knew that there had to be a way to do this, thanks for showing us how!

  18. Joe

    Windows 10 – Worked like a champ, without having to delete other registry keys. Simply set the value for the Command.

    Great post, thanks!

  19. James

    Still works great! New system build with Windows 10 64-bit – Spotify is much more enjoyable now. Cheers!

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