Sunday, September 13, 2009

Remap Right ALT to Windows key in Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7

I don't know about you folks, but I tend to be stuck with keyboards that lack the Windows Key (Win Key): one IBM Thinkpad T42, one Logitech Cordless Mediaboard Pro that I use with my "media center laptop" and a few server keyboards.

Here's how you can cope with this issue:
  1. If you don't already have Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools installed on a desktop/server, download it from Microsoft (direct link here). If you already have it installed, go to step 3.
  2. Install it either directly on the target machine or on a temporary one, as you only need remapkey.exe from it (I am not allowed to distribute it so please download it from Microsoft). After installing the downloaded package, you will find the file here:
    %programfiles%\Windows Resource Kits\Tools
  3. Run remapkey.exe (as Administrator) on the machine on which you want to remap the keys and change wichever keys you like, I personally choose to map the RIGHT ALT key to the WINDOWS key. It's important to choose the "Run as Administrator" option on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, otherwise the application cannot write into the registry.
  4. Reboot and there you go!
Some useful shortcuts in that are new for Windows 7 using the freshly remapped Windows key:
  • Win key + P = choose the display
  • Win key + UP = maximize current window
  • Win key + DOWN = restore the size of the current window or completely minimize it
  • Win key + SHIFT + RIGHT = move the current window to the next monitor to the right