Using an Apple Keyboard with WinXP

When I bought my iMac, I purchased the big, wired keyboard and wired mouse, which I later upgraded to the smaller, Bluetooth variety (Apple Wireless Keyboard). I finally decided to get the wired ones out of my closet and see if they’d work with my Dell WinXP box at work, whose keyboard has all the tactile response of a big, foam sponge. I was happy to find that both keyboard and mouse worked just fine. And they are superior in almost every way to the ones that came with the Dell.

There are two caveats to that “almost.” The first is, the Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad (its official, surprisingly pedestrian, name) doesn’t have a Print Screen, Scroll Lock, or Pause/Break key. I never use the other two, but the Print Screen key is essential to the work I do. At first, I just remapped it in the apps where I use it a lot (i.e. Adobe Captivate and Evernote). The AKWNK does, though, have seven additional “F keys,” (F12–F19). Today, I discovered AppleKeys 2, which maps F13–F15 to Print Screen, Scroll Lock, and Pause/Break. It appears to be an abandoned project, but it works fine.

[Update, 6/22/2011:] I’m now using SharpKeys for remapping. It works fine with Windows 7. I recently remapped my Command and Control keys so copy/paste/etc. on my Windows box are the same as they are on OS X.

Speaking of screenshots, I’ve become a big fan of CloudApp on OS X, which is far superior to Evernote when you simply want to share a screenshot. I’m happy to find there is now a beta version of its Windows clone, FluffyApp. The installer warned me that it doesn’t play nicely on WinXP, but I’m currently testing it.

The second caveat is that, on the Apple keyboard, the locations of the Alt key and what would be the Windows key (the Mac equivalent being the Command key or, as I and many refer to it, the “pretzel key”) are reversed. The functionality is the same, but it takes a little getting used to, when you do a ctrl+alt+delete or, for Launchy, alt+spacebar. On the upside, it makes ctrl+alt+delete a little more ergonomic.