EZ-Key EZ8000 and Windows Vista / 7: Free cheese only happens in a mousetrap

    I want to share with you, dear readers of Habr, my recent experience in acquiring and installing a budget multifunctional keyboard from a well-known Taiwanese manufacturer under Windows 7.

    In addition to a brief overview of the keyboard, the article contains a description of possible problems when working with Vista / 7 and their solutions, as well as some general tips for buying and setting up new hardware.


    After 3.5 years of service, faithfully, my old Genius was finally retired to the closet with honors. In search of a replacement for her, I opted for the EZ-Key EZ8000. Why on it?

    First of all, because my view of the keyboard functions is somewhere in the "golden mean". There are maniacs ready to lay out hundreds of cu for tricked cybords with buttons to launch all possible office and multimedia applications, shortcuts to popular sites and shortcuts to frequently used spells in WoW. There are minimalists for whom 104 keys - and not one more. But due to my work needs (working with office documents, programming and swimming on the Web), I need only a basic set of add-ons. functions in each of these areas. And secondarily, the price plays a role - not one of the keyboards I bought earlier cost more than 100 UAH (12-14 cu). And I was not going to break the tradition.

    Episode 1. A quick look

    Ez-Key EZ-8000 met all my requirements

    • usually keyboards of this price category are either only multimedia, or only “office” or Internet-oriented. EZ-8000 had three extensions at once
    • it contains the minimum required office f-th (launch Word / Excel, copy / paste buttons from the buffer, scroll text)
    • it contains the minimum Internet f I need (launching the browser, back and forth)
    • it also contains multimedia features
    • it has a USB output. Even though there is only one way out (not a hub), it’s also very good, because bend over to the body or dig blindly with a flash drive in its back panel

    And here is the hero of the occasion:

    In addition to the silver-model I have chosen, the keyboard is also available in 3 colors - completely black and with a blue and red palm rest / left panel.

    Episode 2. Waiter, accept the order!

    I placed an application for the purchase of the keyboard on the same day as I chose the keyboard on the website of the sokol.ua online store. It was on Thursday, and I expected that before the weekend the goods would be in my hands and in a relaxed home environment, I would connect and configure it.
    But in the morning they called me and said that the keyboard is not available (now), we will deliver it “on order” until Tuesday - we guarantee! Knowing not by hearsay that such promises can last for a week, two, three, etc., I decided to first choose an analogue. As if evil, the company “available now” had only the simplest or most sophisticated models. I had to take my word and wait until Tuesday.
    On Tuesday morning, of course, I had already prepared for the fact that they would not deliver anything to me and begin to hang noodles on my ears that “it will be tomorrow, no, the day after tomorrow ...”. But! The guys from the Falcon kept their word, for which they respect. Right in the morning (~ 9: 10 -9: 20) the manager called me back and informed me that the order was ready, today it will be delivered until evening. “Until evening” by the very evening, too, did not drag out, and already at half-past twelve the goods were in my hands.

    Episode 3. I was "thrown"?

    Since mentally I was looking forward to connecting the keyboard on Saturday, and it dragged on until Tuesday, my first desire was to naturally “look at least with one eye” at her in action. The keyboard was equipped with a paired USB + PS / 2 output, so without hesitation I connected it via USB to a working computer. And there was a bummer - the keyboard didn’t work or was not recognized - Windows didn’t react at all to the USB device! Okay - not scary, there is a "spare" PS / 2. Connected through it - it seems that it worked only additional f-s do not work at all, and Num Lock is constantly on and does not turn off. Well, with the first problem, everything is clear: drivers are required. But Num Lock - well, you never know, maybe it also doesn’t work without a driver in this keyboard - who knows how its Taiwanese "kulibins" collected it?
    The driver, of course, was bundled on the disk. I was immediately confused by the cheap autorun screen saver, written, apparently, for free by Taiwanese students on VisualBasic. The disk was “one for all models” and had to rummage around, find the right driver (the inscriptions with hieroglyphs were, as if evil, large, and in English microscopic). I installed the required driver, rebooted, I pressed the “three buttons” in the domain entry window - and I get a big mule with a poppy - the keyboard does not work at all. Well, I think it burned out. I connect the old one - it does not work either. A chill runs over his back - but how did the port burn out on a working machine? But nothing happened. On the advice of a colleague, I booted from the Vista installation disc, rolled back to the last recovery point. And I decided to transfer the experiments to the evening, at home, in a calm environment and without loss of working time.

    I am writing in support of the Falcon:
    >> Good afternoon. I received the order No.xxxx / xxxx today. The USB connector is broken in the keyboard, Num Lock is constantly on and off, and the driver seriously damages Windows - after installing it, no keyboard at all works until you roll back. May I return the goods?
    Answer: yes, within 14 days if it has a presentation
    > What, according to your criteria, is a presentation ? I have a complete set - box, cellophane packaging, screeds, driver disc
    Answer: I can not give you this information. Call xxx xx xx at service.

    Naturally, I didn’t get through to the service right away - attempts from the 3rd or 4th. I informed them of the same problem, asked what, according to their criteria, “presentation”.
    Answer:the goods must work, be free from scratches and dirt in the same form in which they were delivered.
    Me: But it does not work.
    Answer: in this case, we cannot make a refund. In the event of a malfunction, we only carry out repairs.
    Me: And if the problem is only in the driver? Just that it is not supported by Windows Vista / 7? Can I return the product if it does not satisfy my software?
    Answer: do you have a licensed OS?
    Me: at home - no ...
    Answer: so what else do you want? with non-licensed OS there will always be problems.
    Me: I also tested at work where I have licensed Vista. The problem with the driver did not disappear.
    Answer:look for the manufacturer’s website, get the latest drivers, try XP. If it works under XP, then there is no problem and it cannot be repaired. But in this case, it is working and you can return it within 14 days, provided that it is in salable condition

    That's all, the circle is closed. If the keyboard is really not working, you have to wait for an unknown how long it will be repaired (the articles on ZPP, read here, painted a terrible time in my imagination). If the problem is in the driver, then no one cares to put it mildly. If you do not find a fresh driver, then either use the keyboard as it is (without additional functions) or write the driver yourself. And then it dawned on me, and it was not just that a keyboard with so many rich features went for such a ridiculous price! Apparently, sellers are aware of the problem with the driver, and therefore the price was underestimated. Free cheese - only in a mousetrap.

    But I did not begin to download the rights and swear with the Falcon service, I decided to wait for the results of the study of the keyboard at home, and there already act according to the circumstances.

    Episode 4. A New Hope

    Arriving home, I began to connect the keyboard to my home computer. I made a restore point in advance, installed the driver. Got the same symptoms. I rolled back and started googling. I found the manufacturer’s website and on it the page of the product I purchased: www.ezkey.com.tw/product/product.php?i=97

    Below there is such an inconspicuous link - Downloads, press and swear - the latest version of the driver has been released already ... 2003 / 10/10 and is intended for Win 98, Win 2000, Win Xp, Win Me. There are no more recent driver versions! As they say, harness, come ...

    But there was still a link to the manual, I downloaded it and went into reading. And over time, everything fell into place.

    It turns out that in addition to the standard Num Lock, Scroll Lock and Caps Lock switches, this keyboard also has an additional Office Lock switch (at first, in the image on the button, I thought that this key should open the Office menu in MS Office 2007). When Office Lock is on, the F1-12 buttons become shortcuts to actions often used in office applications, and Num Lock turns into a euro sign input button. And you guessed it, by default this mode is on! Turning off Office Lock, I was able to turn off Num Lock.

    With a USB connector, everything turned out to be much simpler. In addition to the color scheme, each model is available in variations with a specific set of connectors. I got the most ordinary PS / 2 keyboard. An additional USB connector is needed ... You guessed right - yes, exclusively for connecting a USB connector on the keyboard itself! A kind of USB extension cable. Therefore, you need to connect the keyboard to two ports at once - in USB and in PS / 2.

    And with the driver it turned out the worst ... Nowhere on the Web could I find more recent official versions. After two hours of googling, I miraculously stumbled upon the site of one wonderful person - Ruslan Shcherbatyuk. At one time, he faced a similar problem. Remember my thesis that in this situation, either try to return the money or use the keyboard as is or write the driver yourself? Ruslan did so - sat down and wrote a driver. And then he decided to share it with other sufferers. On the page astrumsoft.com/ez7000 you can download the necessary "medicine". Despite the fact that the Ruslan driver is designed for the 7000th model, most of the functions of the 8000th work quite tolerably.

    Episode 5. Product Overview.

    According to the keyboard diagram given in the instruction manual, the additional functionality is divided into 5 zones:


    I will not describe the zones in detail and the buttons in them - everything is already described in the diagram. Let me just remind you that when Office Lock is turned on, not only Num Lock turns into euro sign input, but F1-12 buttons change their name, become shortcuts for Help, Create, Open, Save, Replace, Spelling, Cancel, Repeat, Reply, Reply to all, Forward, Send .

    From the additional functionality, I immediately got used to the buttons for quickly switching between windows and quickly closing a window. “My computer” and “Calculator” are also convenient, but they should be placed next to them, and not hell-knows where on the other end of the keyboard. “Cut-copy-paste” is also very convenient, although I have not yet recollected myself to always use them - I often press the old tested Ctrl + C, Ctrl + V. The relation to the wheel is twofold - yes, convenient, but not much more convenient than the mouse wheel - I expected that due to its large size it would scroll more efficiently and it would have to be scrolled at a much lower speed. The fattest minus of the keyboard is the alternative (vertical) Ins-Home-End-Del-PgUp-PgDn keyboard layout , which took me a long time to get used to.

    The overall impression of the product is twofold. Certain moments of use are certainly convenient. But at the same time, there are a number of serious logical mistakes in the layout and the compatibility problems of the official driver with modern OSs. Of course, at its price the product is very, very good. But if I had more free time to travel to the Falcon service and possible bickering, I would still think about returning the goods.


    The story with the keyboard brought the following conclusions to my life experience:

    • free cheese is only in the mousetrap. If you see a product with rich functionality at a ridiculously low price - think about the reasons for markdowns. Maybe it’s defective, or it’s a buggy non-brand or brand-name branding, or it has compatibility problems, or the seller generally “threw” it.
    • before buying hardware, scramble through the forum, find out about its real (in practice, not written in the description / manual) compatibility with the OS under which you plan to use it.
    • Also, before buying, be sure to clarify all the terms of the cashback and guarantee obligations so that you can backtrack.
    • never test hardware at work. Work is needed to work. Well, in the event of a breakdown in office equipment, the bosses won't pat you on the head (think what would happen if I had to reinstall Windows on the job?)
    • With the slightest problems, do not freak out, call support and immediately swear. It is worth postponing the test for a while and checking it in a more relaxed atmosphere.
    • Even if you are a super-cool hardware with rich experience in assembling a PC, read the instructions carefully. It can be written a lot of interesting things. Including about various "features" which you should just know, otherwise they will seem to you as "bugs"
    • Google is your friend, feel free to contact him for help.
    • Try to search for unofficial drivers or drivers for similar models if the search for official drivers for the OS you need is not successful

    PS I wrote a letter to the EZ-Key support, I asked when there will be drivers for 7. I have been waiting for an answer for a month and a half.

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