You have to admit Apple keyboard are slick, they are elegantly designed and well polished. If you happen to use an Apple keyboard primary on a Windows machine you will soon realize some awkward keyboard shortcut pattern. This become extremely annoying if you are a keyboard shortcut guy. (because old habits are hard to change) This is primary because of the “alt option” key and the “command” key on the Apple keyboard in Windows acting as “alt” key and the “windows” key.
While Windows do recognize the key the position of the “Windows” key have changed to where the original “Alt” key is for a PC keyboard. Hence, if you rely heavily on “Alt + Tab” to switch applications you will find now you are pressing the “Windows” key + Tab which will launch this animated 3D application switch. This problem not only broken the “Alt + Tab” keyboard shortcut pattern, it also breaks all the Windows key + (everything else) keyboard shortcut.
There are two solutions to this problem
Download this utility called SharpKeys to manually map (swap) the “Windows” key (Apple keyboard is the command key) with “Alt” key (Apple keyboard is the “alt option” key)
You need to make the follow mapping, once you are finished. You can save the change to registry by pressing “Write to Registry” then make sure you logout or restart your machine for the change to take effect.
However, this method is some what tedious, it require you to dig into which key is which, might cause confusion.
The easier way is to download another utility called AppleWirelessKeyboard. This is basically the missing Apple Keyboard Driver* for Windows (of course you don’t need a driver for USB plugin and play keyboards) but with this cool utility it makes use of the functional key as what it was originally intended on a Mac.
Press the following key on an Apple Keyboard with this tool installed on a Windows you will get the following function. What’s nice is just like a Mac when you press those function keys, there will be an on screen prompt fade in/out icon to indicate what you have just pressed, pretty cool.
- F3: PrintScreen
- F4: Task Manager
- F7-F9: iTunes control
- F10-F12: System volume Control
- Eject button toggles Fkeys/Functions.
- Fn + F key triggers function (useful when in F keys mode)
- Fn + Backspace = Delete
- Fn+ Eject: Eject CD
So that’s pretty much it for all the tricks you can do with your Apple Keyboard on a Windows machine, if you don’t have an Apple Keyboard the first method will always work for any kind keyboard to map properly according to your need, but the second method will not work.
Co-founder of Next of Windows and a cool geek 🙂
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Last updated: 08/04/2014