Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000


Back in April I reviewed/reported on the Logitech Cordless Comfort Duo Black keyboard and mouse combination.

On the whole, I was happy with it, but recently some of the little niggles that I had with the keyboard had started to get on nerves. Chief among these were the damn Logitech key (which takes you to the Logitech website and which, placed on the right hand side with the keypad is too easy to press; there is no way to disable it – I removed the key top, but it was an untidy solution), the slow response on the media keys, the annoying inability to conveniently swap the Apple/Option keys around (you had to choose a separate keyboard layout, but this would often be forgotten by the OS; not directly Logitech’s fault, but the MS solution is much more effective); the provision of only four customizable application keys.

Microsoft NEK 4000

The most annoying though is the Logitech cordless mouse. Unlike Microsoft units it doesn’t go sleep when not in use. It’s on full power, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, unless you take the batteries out. It chews through a new set, on this desk, about every 4 weeks. I imagine it would be significantly less if I used rechargeable, but that brings other problems I’m not going into here.

Then, as you all probably know, I got a an Apple Mighty Mouse but had some problems that through a combination of the comments and some changes I am now happily using every day. I still have occasional problems with the left/right button technique, no matter what I try, and I still think that Apple need to seriously rethink their approach on how that works. But I digress.

That eliminated the cordless mouse from an otherwise cordless solution…

Then Microsoft announced their Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 (NEK from here on in). I’ve been using Microsoft ergo keyboards since Apple stopped doing their adjustable keyboard and migrated all their systems to USB (the adjustable was ADB). My biggest problem with them has usually been the rear feet, which are really unable to cope with the 18 hour a day/7 day a week schedule I keep here in the office. Once the feet go, the tilt goes and that makes it uncomfortable to use.

Today, a new NEK arrived at the door to take the place of the Logitech unit. I’m now back to wires, and though I’ve only been using the keyboard for a couple of hours, I already prefer the feel of the keys to the Logitech unit which always seemed to harsh.

I’ll be doing a more rounded review in the next week or so, but initial experiences are good. The Back/Forward keys beneath the space bar are great and very natural (left thumb back, right thumb forward) and the Internet/Email hot keys are convenientlyl in the top left with five big customizable keys in the middle. I’m not sure about the My Favourites key (it doesn’t make sense in my work patterns) but I can define that to do whatever I like,.

Finally, the audio control keys (albeit without a ‘next/previous’ track set) are much more responsive than the Logitech unit where sometimes the delay would be 30 or even 60 seconds; useless when I had to answer the phone and mute the output.

Look out for the full review later, but if you are in the market for an ergonomic keyboard I would certainly check this one out.


Kathryn Pynch

I am amazed there are so many fuctions I am unfamiliar with and no manual HELLLLP!


I think that euro keyboards have L-shaped Enter/Return keys in general, and the ” key gets moved around, usually to the bottom row on the right.

Scott Rauch

Looking at the picture of his keyboard, and mine here in front of me, it looks like his “Enter” key is larger than mine. His appears to span two rows, whereas mine is rather small, and in only one row. His “” is to the left of the “Z”, but mine is above the “Enter” key. I think we both have the same keys, just arranged differently. The label on the bottom of my keyboard says “… 4000v1.0” and “Model: 1048”
Scott Rauch



Where do you buy this keyboard? I see on the picture, that you have an extra key beetween the Z and the Left shift. I need this key, for hungarian language. Please tell me where had you buy this keyboard.

Sorry for my bad english

John Gustafson

I love the way the 4000 helps me position my hands, but have had two bouts with keys that go dead. Rebooting cured the problem the first time, but not this last time. I had to use an old conventional keyboard (hate it) to type this while I see if MS Tech. can help me get mine going.


anyone having this problem with this keyboard, when it boot i can’t access my cmos setting by pressing DEL. the keyboard just seem dead until windows start. Also it doesn’t seem to work with any Grub OS boot loader.
anyone got any clues?? or should i return the keyboard.

Martin MC Brown


My keyboard is black (well, I’d call it off black/Charcoal). The bluish tinge is probably due to a combination of local halogen lighting and camera flash.

Martin MC Brown


You do know about the F-Lock? When activated (the bottom light on the LED array) your function keys work like function keys – ie according to the settings of your application.

Switch F-Lock off and the keys do the operations on their tops – open, close, etc.

carl hamilton

please enlarge the ENTER KEY AS IT IS TOO SMALL to be hit easily . also , is there no key assigned to automatically turn off the computer . thank you . CARL

carl hamilton

just bought a msoft natural ergonomic keyboard 4000 . excellent design ,i would say . one thing eludes me . why is it that the CLOSE button never works ? had returned mine to a local seller but the replacement model still dosen’t activate . please enlighten me .


Major problem is this keyboard does not work with KVMs. Called Microsoft and they told me, that they do not recommend using thier keyboards with kvms. Some may work and some don’t. AND This one does not. Tried it on a linksys kvm and a Belkin Omni and did not work. Worked great when you plugged in directly but not thru a kvm.


I find the same problem with the erognomic keyboard from m$, but a cheap way around it is to use small paper clip boxes, you know the squareish ones holding about 100 staples, the box is about 1.5in long-w-h

Martin MC Brown

There you go, picture. Complete with the plastic bag still on round the cable (I literally have just got it out and plugged it in).

And my massive coffee cup :))

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