Making the Apple Keyboard Play Nice with Windows

After a long, long love affair with Logitech, I’ve finally finished a slow migration toward Apple’s input devices.  Their aluminum keyboard took some getting used, but once I’d grown accustomed to it on my Macbook, I decided to get one for my Windows 7 desktop.  It seemed like everything was working perfectly until I pressed the mute button; nothing happened.  Volume down?  No go.  In fact, all of the media keys (volume up/down, mute, play/pause, etc.) refused to do anything. For whatever reason, SharpKeys and other keyboard mapping utilities don’t recognize Apple’s media keys.  The solution, it turns out, is to install a pair of Bootcamp files from your Mac OS X installation DVD.

Here are the steps that worked for me.  I’m running Windows 7 x64 with a 2010 Apple aluminum keyboard, and have a Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard installation disc.  As always, your mileage may vary:

  1. Insert your Mac OS X installation disc.  If it tries to auto-run anything, cancel it.
  2. Open Windows Explorer, right-click on your DVD drive, and select Open from the menu.
  3. Navigate to the Boot CampDriversApple folder.
  4. Copy BootCamp.msi (or BootCamp64.msi for x64 systems) to your desktop.
  5. Copy AppleKeyboardInstaller.exe (or x64/AppleKeyboardInstaller64.exe for x64 systems) to your desktop.
  6. Use a tool such as 7-zip to extract the AppleKeyboardInstaller.exe file.
    1. With 7-zip, can you do this by right-clicking on the file and selecting 7-Zip->Extract to “AppleKeyboardInstaller”.
  7. Navigate to the folder you extracted AppleKeyboardInstaller.exe to and run the DPInst.exe file to install the Apple keyboard driver for Windows.
  8. Click Start->All Programs->Accessories, right-click on Command Prompt, and select Run as administrator.
  9. In the command prompt, type “cd Desktop“.
  10. Install BootCamp by typing “BootCamp.msi” (or “BootCamp64.msi” for x64 systems) in the command prompt.
  11. Once the installation completes, you can delete the files on your desktop and remove the Mac OS X installation disc.  Reboot your computer and enjoy your new media keys!

April 2013 Update: I just tried this method using Windows 8 and the BootCamp drivers from Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Apple seems to be preventing the new BootCamp.msi  (version 5) from installing on non-Apple hardware, so the above method will fail on Step 10. Luckily I had an old copy of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion BootCamp drivers (version 4) which worked perfectly on Windows 8.

August 2013 Update: Thanks to Tom in the comments section, who pointed out that Apple’s Bootcamp update will install on non-Apple hardware, so we can use the latest Bootcamp drivers on Windows 8! On my machine, however, these new Bootcamp drivers set the time incorrectly after each reboot. The fix is to open up regedit.exe and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\TimeZoneInformation. Double-click the RealTimeIsUniversal key and set its value to 0. Reboot and enjoy!

17 thoughts on “Making the Apple Keyboard Play Nice with Windows

  1. I recently used an image off of your Meme cats images and received a somewhat angry response to that. I just wanted to apologize. I truly didn’t mean any harm from it. Lesson learned, I need to be sure and give credit where credit is due! Your stuff is awesome. Thanks for sharing it with all of us!

  2. Hey, thanks dude. This worked perfectly for me. only when I typed cd Desktop in the command prompt he didn’t do anything, but when I restarted I was able to use the media keys, without even doing step 8 9 and 10.

  3. When I run DPInst.exe the wizard says I can’t complete installation because it can’t find any drivers for my machine. Any ideas?

  4. Ignore my previous comment. I’m a num nut because I only extracted DPInst.exe and not the rest of the folder. It installed fine if it can find the files it needs in the folder it’s in.

    However, the Boot Camp Control Panel fails to start because it gets hung up trying to access the Start Up disk stuff. How did you get around this?

  5. Hey I’d just like to share how the bootcamp 5 downloaded directly from apples website seems to work on my copy of windows 8 64bit non mac hardware.

    Bootcamp 5 Link:
    http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1638

    I typed “C:\Users\username\desktop\bootcamp.msi” in command prompt as admin. All went well with a few pop ups that I just had to click through then the install successfully finished and prompted a restart.

    After restarting I installed applekeyboardinstaller64.exe immediately after that the media keys (I use spotify) volume keys and eject for Disc drive all work perfectly!

    So i don’t know if they’ve changed the bootcamp drivers since you tried them but just thought I’d share my experience with it, so maybe its worth giving it another try.

  6. The post is old but the info is still nice, thanks!

    One problem I stumbled upon is that I couldn’t find a way of changing the F1 etc behavior to not need to press FN. Now I can’t press F1 and etc without having to press FN first – that is, the play/pause are the default instead of F8, for example.

    Do you know how change that? Since it’s just a driver and there’s no ‘setup’ or something.

    Thank you!

    • After you install Bootcamp, there should be a small Bootcamp icon in the notification area. Double-click that to open up the Bootcamp control panel, which will let you change the function keys back into media keys.

  7. So just to summarize the update notes: I need to install an old bootcamp driver (which doesn’t check for apple hardware) first and then the updates will bring it to the latest and greatest without checking the hardware?

  8. I have windows 8.1 on a 32 bit PC and a new wired apple keyboard with the numerical keypad. In bootcamp there doesn’t seems to be anything referring to 32bit options. Can anyone help?

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