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[Review] KeyExtender

{rw_text}Software reviewed in this article:

KeyExtender [1]

Version reviewed:

v3.98

Supported OS:

Microsoft Windows NT/2000/XP

Price:

$19.95 (USD) but you can get it for free for a limited time at Giveawayoftheday.com [2]!

Software description as per the developer:

Dose some of your keyboard keys(such as F1-F12) lay idle for a long time? if your answer is yes, you should take a look at KeyExtender. It can not only allow you to customize your keyboard layout (redefine you keyboard key position), but also help you save your time and increase productivity on daily computing.

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{for=”Ease of Use” value=”10″}Very easy to use; pretty much point and click.
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{for=”Performance” value=”8″}For the most part, KeyExtender works very well. There are only two major problems I found in terms of performance: 1) The program manual claims KeyExtender can remap keys at the registry level, but there is no clear way on how to do this; at least I was unable to find it and 2) The RAM usage can be improved.
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{for=”Usefulness” value=”6″}If this was a full blown keyboard shortcuts and remapping tool, I could see this being useful to everyone. However, as it is stands it is just a remapping tool with some basic shortcut features. So, hit or miss usefulness for the most part.
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{for=”Price” value=”7″}$19.95 is a fair price. However, if I were a potential customer looking to buy this software, I would want some more features added before purchasing (such as keyboard shortcut creating features).
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{for=”Arbitrary Equalizer” value=”7″}This category reflects an arbitrary number that does not specifically stand for anything. Rather this number is used to reflect dotTech’s overall rating/verdict of the program in which all the features and alternatives have been considered.
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KeyExtender is a program that allows users to remap their keyboard keys. It works off a standard keyboard (104 keys I believe if the Windows keys are counted), but also adds in the ability to remap multimedia keys. Aside from remapping single keys to other single keys, KeyExtender also allows users to remap keys to do other things also, such as insert text, clean text, simulate a keypress sequence, and to make one key do the work of a full shortcut.

This is what the main program window looks like:

[3]

Using KeyExtender is very straightforward and easy. To remap a single key to another single key, simply select the key you want to remap from the “Set” drop down menu, select the key you want to remap to from the “To” drop down menu, and hit the “Change” button. Do this for as many keys as you want to remap; when ready just hit the “Activate” button which will minimize KeyExtender to your system tray and tell it to start working. When you want to remove/reset a key remape, “Reset Key” will delete the remap of a specific key, while “Reset All” will do all the keys.

These are all the keys you can select from the “Set” drop down menu:

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These are all the keys you can select from the “To” drop down menu”:

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(NOTE: The “…” button simply provides a different way to select keys for the “To” menu.)

As you can see from the above screenshot, in addition to being able to select standard and multimedia keys, KeyExtender also allows users to remap keys to perform specific actions:

[6]

…and that text is inserted whenever the user presses the key selected in “Set”.

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The main difference between “KeyCombination” and “KeySequence” is that KeyCombination makes it so a combination of keys is simulated at the same time. On the other hand, KeySequence makes it so keys are simulated one after another – not at the same time. All the keys that can be selected for the “Set” drop menu can be selected for KeySequence.

Other things to note about KeyExtender:

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Last but not least, let me mention the fact that Windows 7 (and possibly Windows Vista) users either need to run KeyExtender in compatibility mode, or restart their computer after installation to make KeyExtender work. Why the developer has not officially started to supported Windows 7/Windows Vista yet – considering Vista has been out for years and Windows 7 has been out for almost half a year – I am not particularly sure.

This review was conducted on a laptop running Windows 7 Professional and Windows XP Professional 32-bit. The specs of the laptop are as follows: 3GB of RAM, a Radeon HD 2600 512MB graphics card, and an Intel T8300 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor.

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Comfort Keys Lite [10]

Comfort Keys Lite is a feature filled keyboard shortcut/remapping software. It also includes “extras” such as a clipboard manager.

SharpKeys [11]

SharpKeys is a simple program that remaps keys via the registry.

HotKeyz [12]

HotKeyz is a keyboard utility with hotkey control for executing other files, folders or RUN commands. Launch applications in a Normal, Minimized or Maximized State. The Parameter option gives you parameter control when launching another application like Internet Explorer and surfing to a specific site as parameter.

-Developer

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{rw_verdict2}For what it does, KeyExtender is a nice software that can, potentially, be very useful depending on your needs. I give it a thumbs up. However, I recommend Comfort Keys Lite over KeyExtender because as nice and useful and KeyExtender is, Comfort Keys Lite is just that much better having more features and a more attractive interface.
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