Remap special Thinkpad keys in Vista?

While I am still waiting for a chance to replace my sub-standard T500 with another laptop, I need to figure out ways to live with it. It is slow, but apparently getting a memory upgrade from 2GB to 3 or 4GB should speed up the Vista considerably. There is nothing you can do to the painful display, it stays as bad as it is. But there are also those couple of annoying little [previous page] and [next page] keys next to the arrow keys. Those are useless, and I want to remap them to [page up] and [page down] instead — that is how similarly positioned keys are used in Acer Aspire One, for example. But I cannot find any way to do that in Thinkpad running Vista. There is a special keyboard customization utility coming along with all other ThinkVantage software, but that allows a rather limited set of keyboard shortcuts to be programmed. And as far as I can see, those forward/backward keys are not supported by the customize utility — which is very silly. I can find instructions how to do the remapping in Thinkpads running Linux (e.g. in http://blog.vrplumber.com/index.php?/archives/2232-Need-to-figure-out-key-remapping-under-KDEX.html) using piece of software called xmodmap. I cannot find anything similar for Vista — but surely there must be a similar Windows utility somewhere?

Author: frans

Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media, esp. Digital Culture and Game Studies in the University of Tampere, Finland.

10 thoughts on “Remap special Thinkpad keys in Vista?”

  1. It looks like there are some people who have figured out ways to fiddle with the Windows Registry in order to make special key remappings; see e.g. http://www.randyrants.com/2004/01/keyboard_remapp.html . I must admit this is not really my cup of tea.. Maybe I’ll just live with those annoying keys, until the next laptop comes along. (Typing these words from the AA1 where the keyboard works the way I like it.)

  2. “…memory upgrade from 2GB to 3 or 4GB should speed up the Vista considerably…”

    I suppose you know that the 32 bit version of the OS can only use a little more than 3 gigs? Of course memory is cheap today and getting a 4 gig kit might not be much more expensive than 2 + 1 and that gives more possibilities to use the memory later in another computer.

    I bought a 4 gig memory kit for my MacBook (for which it was officially meant for) from Verkkokauppa. The memory for my Acer Vista laptop was more expensive and as I figured the memory specs seemed to be similar, I gave it a try and found out that the MB memory worked just fine in my Acer too.

  3. Yep, the memory limit sucks, but then there is of course the option of going to a 64bit OS. But — oops — then you probably will be missing various drivers. Sorry for that. 🙂 Nice to hear that Apple-branded memory is actually cheaper than regular PC stuff — once that way around, too.

  4. Hi,

    If you decide to upgrade up to 4gb while using 32-bit OS, you can use that additional 1gb to create a virtual drive. Then you can put your pagefile there, which can otherwise be considered a bottleneck.

  5. Continuing my search for a way to remap the “browser keys” into page-up/page-down in Thinkpad; here is a discussion on the TpKmapAp.exe and how to use that to disable those keys (http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=184549). Nice, but not what I am looking for. But in RandyRants I did find this set of instructions: http://www.randyrants.com/2004/01/keyboard_remapp.html – I need to test this later, but it seems that you need to take the scan codes of back and forward button (‘E0 6A’ and ‘E0 69’) and remap them in the Windows Registry to PageUp/PageDown scan codes. Before proceeding, I still need to find out whether Vista handles this Windows Registry entry similarly, and what are the appropriate scan codes.

  6. Another nice page: http://www.usnetizen.com/fix_capslock.php -It says there that PageUp is ’49 E0′ and PageDown is ’51 E0′. Thus, it should be possible to write and run a ‘customize.reg’ hack with this content:

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout]
    “Scancode Map”=hex:00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,03,00,00,00,49,E0,E0,6A,51,E0,E0,69,00,00,00,00

    (including a blank line at the end: an extra carriage return)
    – I wonder, has anyone done this kind of hack to Vista? It appears, to start with, that regedit in Vista is already version 6.0, so that might create some compatibility problems?

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