Mute Internet Radio when you need to!
Download WMP Volume Keys for WindowsXP, and also I think Win2K and NT 4.0. Not (currently?) for Win9x.
Control Microsoft's Windows Media Player volume and mute from your keyboard, even when Windows Media Player is not in front or is minimized, even if your keyboard has no Mute, Lower Volume, or Raise Volume keys. If your keyboard has those keys, make them control Windows Media Player directly, instead of changing the main volume and mute.
I wrote WMP Volume Keys so I could control volume and mute while listening to streaming audio from Internet Radio. Windows Media Player's own accelerators to control volume and mute (F8, F9, and F10) work only when it is in front. My keyboard has Command Keys (those odd round buttons across the top of some keyboards) for some rather useless (to me) Internet activities, but not for volume and mute.
I tried Microsoft's Tweak UI, writing a small utility command to send the keys I wanted, but it was unsatisfactory. Command Keys go first to the active application, and Microsoft programs often use those keys. With WMP Volume Keys, I can use the keys for what I want, no matter which application is active.
The Command Keys for volume and mute (which my keyboard lacks, but my app let me simulate) control the main Device volume and mute. When I'm listening to Windows Media Player and need to mute it, I normally don't want to stop hearing the other sounds the computer can make. WMP Volume Keys does this for me, controlling Windows Media Player directly, and not changing the loudness of navigation and alert sounds.
So far WMP Volume Keys has only been used on one computer, running WindowsXP SP1, with Windows Media Player 10. Email me if you have problems.
Installation and Use
Download WMPVKeys.zip and extract the file, putting it where you want leave it. To use, open WMPVKeys.exe and leave it running. When you don't want to use the keys to control volume and mute, quit WMP Volume Keys.
If you want WMP Volume Keys to start automatically when you log on, put a shortcut to WMPVKeys.exe into your Startup folder.
You may want to set the shortcut's Properties → Shortcut tab → Run: box to Minimized to keep the utility out of your way. To uninstall, open the Startup folder as above and Recycle the shortcut.
By default, the Search key mutes, the Favorites key lowers volume, and the Web/Home key raises volume. You can choose the keys to use with the Set Keys button. Click in the field you want to change and press the new key or a modifier and key combination.
Note that the keys you set will be unavailable for whatever they previously did. If you choose, say, the TAB key for Mute, there may be times you wish to use the TAB key for its original purpose and you will have to quit my little utility (or set a more sensible key) in order to do it. If your keyboard has Mute, Raise, and Lower keys you probably don't need this utility, but they do make sensible choices, as they can now control WMP directly.
If Windows Media Player isn't running, the main Device Volume settings will be changed instead. You can see this by opening Control Panel → Sounds and Audio Devices → Volume tab and pressing the chosen keys.
I could make this utility control other player apps, if I knew what was wanted. Apple's QuickTime Player is one possibility, but, at least for version 6, along with the butt-ugliness of its appearance, its brain-damaged UI makes it a bit hard to work with. There isn't any keyboard or menu command for Mute, and its window is difficult for a program to find, because the class name is the app path, and won't be the same on all computers.