Along the top of the keyboard sit five programmable My Favorites buttons, which you can easily configure to open software programs, folders, files, drives, or Web pages. Much the same way you create presets on a radio, you simply open the object you want the button to control and hold the button down for a few seconds. The keyboard also has a set of media-player control buttons: Mute, Volume, Play/Pause, Stop, Previous Track, and Next Track.
The bundled Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 uses Microsoft's high-definition laser. We found it makes the mouse more responsive, precise, and smooth than older ball or optical models.
A five-button mouse is certainly nothing new, but where other mice have a Forward button, the 6000 has one programmed to turn your pointer into a magnifying glass. Press it, and a box opens around your pointer, enlarging everything inside while you continue to work. Move your cursor, and the box moves with it. All the buttons are programmable. On the downside, the mouse feels flimsy, and the main left and right buttons are mushy; depending on where they're pressed, they occasionally don't register clicks.
The desktop comes with a three-year warranty--the industry standard for desktop sets is two years--and you get free phone support for the first 90 days; after that, support costs $35 per request. Microsoft's support Web site has a searchable knowledge base, FAQs, and software updates. You can also access chat and e-mail support at the site.