So on the recommendation of alert (and as far as I can tell, only) reader Brian Sherwin, I checked out qliner's HotKeys application, an open source Windows key mapping utility. At first glance, it appeared to do all I wanted and more.

Here's what I liked:

  • Very clean interface. The online keyboard gives a great overview of which keys are mapped to which functions. The developer clearly put a lot of effort into little details like making icons animate to the bottom right corner of the key when they are moved.
  • The volume control is great. It was this feature that *almost* made me dump WinKey.
  • Support for different keyboards (which, I admit, I would never use).
  • Open source and written in .NET. And the developer appears really responsive to feedback and eager to address issues.

But there are two things that keep it from replacing WinKey:

  • The keyboard stays onscreen only as long as you hold the Windows key down. Let go of the Windows key and the keyboard goes away. Not only is this awkward, it's a little confusing if you let go of the key while a dialogue or context menu is open.
  • No support for Shift+WinKey, Ctrl+WinKey, or Alt+WinKey. In WinKey, I have Win+G mapped to Google and Shift+Win+G mapped to Google Groups. I'm just getting into Windows key mapping and will probably use other similar combinations.

Both issues have been brought up in the forum and I have no doubt they will be addressed shortly, at which time, I'll promptly switch from the all-but-defunct WinKey. There is also talk of being able to override the default Windows key combinations which will be sweet. And if the developer is smart, he'll open it up for others to add their own controls similar to the volume control. Like Media Player controls (i.e. Play, Pause, Next, etc.).