The version on this page is outdated. Updated for iTunes 10.5+ here.
Here’s the deal: iTunes refuses to support global media hotkeys. When you’re writing your research paper and you want to pause the song for a bathroom break, you can’t use that convenient play/pause button on your media keyboard or stereo bluetooth headset (I love that button on my Moto S9-HD). You have to open the iTunes window and move your mouse all the way to the on-screen button. Not being sarcastic; I have 3 monitors.
There used to be a cool dll that you could drop into the iTunes plugins folder and remedy everything. No more — iTunes 10.4 broke the plugin, as I was first to note in the comments.
iTunes 10.4.1 came out and claimed to fix “a problem where the media keys on some third-party keyboards work inconsistently with iTunes.” Riiight.
We can discuss the politics of Apple hating on PC users as much as we want, but some of us need our working play/pause buttons.
Drop into your Startup folder (in the Start Menu) and restart/relogin. It’s a compiled AutoIt3 script, which some antivirus programs don’t like. Deal with it.
Download (Windows EXE file) – this version for iTunes 10.4 is outdated!
Drop and forget. Simple and painless. It only works with the play/pause button [and now prev/next]. Because that’s the only button I ever use. Like, who ever uses the stop button?
Why I am posting this when I really should be writing my college application essays, I’m not quite sure.
Moral of the story: don’t “update” things that are working fine.
Bugfix 1. (9-29-2011) If another window title starts with iTunes (such as a browser on this web page) the play/pause key may not function. Fixed. Tested and uploaded. What am I doing with my life at 2am…
Bugfix 2. (9-30-2011) If the iTunes search box (on the top right) is focused the play/pause key may not function.
Update. (10-06-2011) Previous and next buttons added. Remove the old hk.exe before dragging this one into the startup folder.