For quite a while now I am using a Cherry mechanical keyboard. More specifically, a Cherry G80-3000LSCDE-2.
I freaking love this keyboard and would not switch back to another one if someone paid me to do so. That's because even though, I am not the best touch-typist, this mechanical keyboard's haptic experience gives me a great typing flow and its pronounced "click, click" adds to a great typing (coding) experience.
Dude, where are my media keys?
There was only one thing I initially missed and these were the media keys my former keyboard had. Most importantly, the keys for Volume Up, Volume Down, Play/Pause I probably couldn't' live without.
AutoHotkey to the Rescue!
The easiest way to install AutoHotkey on your machine is using the Chocolatey package manager and this command line call:
c:\> cinst autohotkey
Or, if you prefer portable versions of software instead of installer packages:
c:\> cinst autohotkey.portable
AutoHotKey comes with a custom scripting language that allows me to bind e.g. certain keyboard shortcuts to certain Windows commands. I my case I want to assign keyboard shortcuts for increasing and decreasing the volume as well as being able to pause and resume media playback.
Ctrl + Alt + Shift + ← : Volume Down
Ctrl + Alt + Shift + → : Volume Up
Ctrl + Alt + Shift + ↓ : Play Pause
Adding these three lines of code in the AutoHotKey configuration script does the trick.
(The ^ character encodes the Ctrl key, + encodes Shift and ! stands for the Alt key.)
For some reason, AutoHotKey does not come with a built-in option to run it automatically when Windows starts up. We have to add it manually to the Autostart folder for this reason.
Finding the Autostart folder can be a bit tricky on Windows 8, unless you use this neat little shortcut.
Press Windows + R and then type: shell:startup.
(Or simply type this command on the Start Screen).
Thanks to AutoHotKey I can have the best of both worlds, using my awesome mechanical keyboard while still being able to leverage those fancy and useful media commands.