Global Hotkeys Windows Media Player Plugin

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 29, 2009
Updated • Mar 12, 2017

WMP Keys is a free plugin for Windows Media Player that you may use to configure global hotkeys for use with the default Windows multimedia player.

Microsoft's Windows Media Player does not support global hotkeys by default. It comes with a full set of hotkeys that work when the window of the media player is active, but these shortcuts stop working once the player's window is minimized, or in the background of the computer desktop.

Some keyboard drivers enable media key support so that the computer user can control playback with media keys on the keyboard. There is however no solution for users without media keyboards, or for keyboards that are not supported.

WMP Keys is a plugin for Windows Media Player 12, Windows Media Player 11 and 10 that adds global hotkey support to the media player. The plugin is supplied as a msi file which needs to be installed when the media player is not open. It then needs to be activated after installation in the player's options.

This is done in Windows Media Player 12 by clicking on Organize > Options > Plug-ins. This should open the options menu with a plug-ins tab. You may select > Plug-ins > Options > Background as well.

The WMP Keys plugin is listed under background plugins. Placing a checkmark in the box and clicking the apply button will activate the global hotkeys for Windows Media Player.

The default hotkeys are:

  • Play/Pause Ctrl+Alt+Home
  • Next Ctrl+Alt+Right
  • Previous Ctrl+Alt+Left
  • Volume Up Ctrl+Alt+Up
  • Volume Down Ctrl+Alt+Down
  • Fast Forward Ctrl+Alt+F
  • Fast Backward Ctrl+Alt+B
  • Rate [1-5] Ctrl+Alt+[1-5]

You may use the hotkeys to control playback of Windows Media Player even if the program is not the foreground application. It can be minimized for instance, or just not the active program on the desktop.

The shortcuts are self-explanatory, and probably not the easiest to use as they use two modifier keys and one additional key on the keyboard each.

These hotkeys can be changed by clicking on the Properties button in the same menu.

wmp keys

WMP Keys can be downloaded from its Sourceforge project website.

Update: Windows Media Player Keys gets installed into the c:\program files\wmpkeys folder. You can uninstall the program from the program uninstaller control panel applet or by right-clicking the wmpkeys.msi file again.

The program does not seem to have been updated in some time now. The developer page still shows 2008 as the copyright date which is usually an indicator that the page has not been updated recently. The version history lists 2008 as the last time an update was released for the program as well.

Because of this, it may not work in newer versions of the media player.

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