How-To Geek

Assign Keyboard Media Keys to Work in Winamp

Have you ever wondered how to make the media keys on your keyboard actually work for Winamp? Reader Shawn was asking me this question a while back, but then he figured it out on his own and sent me the instructions.

Turns out it’s incredibly simple, and on most installations will be already set by default, but might not be enabled. If yours are not working, then you need to follow these instructions.

Open up the Winamp Preferences and the browse down to General Preferences \ Global Hotkeys.


The first thing you should check is whether the “Enabled” hotkey is checked. If it’s not, then select that and most likely that will fix your issue.

If you need to manually change the settings instead, select the Action in the list, and then click inside the Hotkey textbox. Press the media key on your keyboard representing the function you are trying to do. For instance, I selected the Playback: Play/pause action in the list, so I pressed the Play button on my keyboard, which shows up as Play/Pause in the hotkey box.

Make sure you click the Set button when you make the change.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/17/07

Comments (17)

  1. Vaughn

    Mr. The Geek,

    Thank you!! I’ve been wondering about how to make those keys work…I had not checked enable hotkeys. Now they work like a charm.

    Great blog!


  2. Justin

    Now how do I do this with a laptop that only has the media keys when pressing the function button, as in “Fn+down” for play. Whenever I press fn+down, windows media player starts up. I would like to stop this from happening and have winamp do it instead. If that’s not possible, I would at least like to be able to use the play/back/forward buttons like they should be.


  3. John Kiely

    Wow thank you so much, even though it was down to my pure laziness I never thought of checking winamps settings!

    Had this keyboard for almost 1 year and now i can use it fully and all within 2 mins checking this page!

    Thanks again :)

  4. jack

    Thank you for posting this, was wondering how to make my m

  5. Anwar Abubacar

    I successfully used your tip here. I just wonder why my Windows Media Player(WMP-Microsoft) launches when i press my play/pause media keys. Is there a way to stop WMP from launching? It is annoying :D.

  6. Sepok

    Thank you very much lad :).
    I have been iritated over this since WMP11 library stopped working…

  7. Storm1

    Thanks for the info, works like a charm!!

  8. DarkUltra

    I don’t have any global hotkeys options. Is it because my keyboard does not have any media keys? I would like to be able to map keys, for instance ctrl+n to next song. Any idea how I do that?

  9. Thiago

    Winamp Rocks!

  10. Michael

    Thanks a bunch, mega handy!

  11. Gabriel

    you rock!!!
    lol i never thought it would be this easy!!!

  12. Matt

    I too lazy to figure it out myself searched google and found this. worked like a charm, 5 seconds to enable my media keys for winamp

  13. rav_er

    GREAT! So easy!
    Works for me perfectly on HP Pavilion with Quick Lunch buttons ! That’s what i was lookin for. Thanks Mr Geek

  14. hossam

    thank you soooooo much for making it soooooo simple

  15. SenorPoopypants

    As someone who has used winamp for over a decade, I’m surprised I hadn’t known this!

  16. G510 user

    Thanks so much for the guide!! you just made my new G510 keyboard worked with winamp!!

  17. KT

    Thanks a lot. It really helped. I was wondering ’bout it for nearly a month.

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