Buying obsolete keyboards - Microsoft 4000

The MS 4000 keyboard is the best typing experience that I've ever found. I have one in my home office, one in my work's office, and one spare.

But, at some point in the last 18 months of working from home, my work keyboard has gone walkabout. Oh well, a good excuse to buy a new one! Except - sadly - Microsoft have discontinued it.

Don't get me wrong, you can buy a "4000" branded keyboard - but it is a radically different design. And change is scary. So I'm buying up old models on eBay. If you have an old-verson MS 4000 in good condition, please let me know - I may need to stock up!

I've previously written about the cosmetic changes to the Microsoft 4000 keyboard - all mostly changes to what was printed on the keycaps. But the new MS 4000 is radically different.

This is what the new LXM-00004 looks like - it's worth noting that the UK layout is radically different to the US layout (click for massive image).
Photo of an ergonomic keyboard.

Here's where I think it is deficient compared to the old model:

  • No scroll jogger. I use this all the time.
  • No back / forward thumb buttons. I don't mind losing these, although they were handy.
  • Calculator is now far away from the num pad. The calc button has been replaced with search. WTF?
  • Context menu button is now on the left, rather than the right. That would be handy, except...
  • Right hand context menu is now an "Office 365" key. Pointless. No idea if it can be remapped.
  • Num Pad's "clear" button is where the "equals" button used to be! That's going to be so easy to accidentally hit.
  • No more ⭐ button. I used that as a programmable button all the time.
  • 5 of the programmable buttons have been replaced with media controls. While it's nice to have track-skip buttons, I'd rather have something I can set myself.
  • PrtScn button has moved. As has Delete.
  • The markings for ¦ and | buttons have swapped.

There are a few good points:

  • LED on Caps and Num locks. Much more sensible than clustering them in the middle.
  • Dedicated Emoji key 😁. I currently use alt+E to launch my Linux Emoji picker.
  • Removal of the weird text on the F keys! Which means F-lock is always on. Nice!
  • A few extra accessibility ridges on some keys.
  • The Delete key is bigger and above backspace - which makes a bit more sense.

I'm sure at some point all my old keyboards will break and I'll have to get one of these. But, for now, I'm holding out. If you have an old 4000 that you no longer need, please let me know!

13 thoughts on “Buying obsolete keyboards - Microsoft 4000

  1. says:

    I got a spare old-style MS 4000 keyboard last year, for when the keys on my current one have worn down completely. (S, C and L have lost their markings, D key will soon be joining them.) No, you can't have my spare! Typing is so much more comfortable on this thing, and I've used Keyboard Maestro to get the various extra keys doing useful stuff for me on my Mac.

  2. This was indeed awesome. I sent some ideas about how to improve it further in (IIRC) 2001 and a guy from Microsoft replied with a really sweet and friendly note.

  3. You can reprogram the keys in Windows... but whether that's possible under Linux. I have no idea. Scroll jogger and back and forward were never my thing. I like the dedicated screen capture button on the new one.

  4. John McArthur says:

    Sadly, my 4000 died this year. It followed my Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro, and Natural Multimedia Keyboard. I'm now also using a LXM-00004. I keep forgetting about the emoji key and have used the Office 365 key maybe twice.

  5. Daniel says:

    Not sure under other OS, but calc begin replaced by search might not be an issue. On Mac OS here, you just type calculations into the search (Spotlight) and it gives you the result. I've taken to using that rather than opening calculator for almost all calculations.

    1. @edent says:

      I use Ubuntu. I'm sure I could re-map the key, but it seems bizarre to move the calc button further away from the number pad.

      1. Daniel says:

        It does seem an odd move, but my point was more that I rarely open up the calculator itself these days, the search function allows me to type in calculations and shows me the result. I don't know if Ubuntu's search does that.

  6. says:

    the two follow ons are awful. the extra keys on the latest make it really awful to use. (Im down to my last working one and am wondering if i can cobble together my 4 broken ones into a working one)

  7. Shay says:

    No more ⭐ button. I used that as a programmable button all the time.
    How do you set it as a programmable button?

    1. @edent says:

      It depends which operating system you use. On Linux, it's pretty simple. I don't know about Windows and MacOS.

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