That is a very good question, I'd be curious as well. One thing you could do that I have done is just pop out those keys... obviously you'd only want to do that if you never use these keys for their intended purpose.
Seems I accidentally hit these keys most often when playing games....... dammit.
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Don't think it's a BIOS function. I suspect those keyboards come with some drivers under windows, and you can probably assign them different functions in some control panel applet.
If you kill the app that's monitoring the special buttons, and make sure your KB is installed as a 'standard' keyboard (102 keys? can't remember), then none of those little buttons will work, I suspect.
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Don't require a driver at all, or just that XP comes with built-in support?
Surely there's a way of re-configuring the keys though? (or setting them to nothing). I had an M$ keyboard with a load of weird keys, and that had some crappy tray application that handled the weirdo keys, and IIRC they simply wouldn't work if that wasn't running... but that was a long time ago now, and I was on 98SE. That KB started going mental after a bit, so now I just have an old(ish) Compaq standard keyboard. I see no point in changing it as it's still very nice to type on.