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!