How to put a Magtek card reader into keyboard emulation mode

MagTek's card readers can be set to one of two modes, HID mode, or KB Emulation mode. In order for your MagTek device to work with Party Center Software, it needs to be in keyboard emulation mode. This is very easy to determine. Open Notepad or any other program on your Windows computer that allows you to type, and then swipe any card. If it types information into that document, your card reader is ready to use.

Using MagTek's Website

The following instructions only work in Internet Explorer.

  • If your device reports as being in HID mode, click the button to change it to Keyboard mode.

Your device is ready to use.

Using MagTek's Demo Program

Step 1: Install MagTek software

No drivers need to be installed for your USB card reader to work, but MagTek does provide a tool that can change the mode of the unit. This is called the USB Swipe & Insert Reader and is available at the following link:

The file it downloads will be named 99510026.exe. Continue through the installation. The only question it will prompt you for is whether to install source code, this will not make a difference.

Step 2: Load new settings for your device

Open the recently installed application. It will appear under All Programs in your Start menu as MagTek > USBMSR Demo.

If you land on the following pink screen, you need to select "Set SN Mode Off" at the top.

You'll notice it says Detected HID Mode Device. This is the reason it hasn't been functioning with our software. If instead it says Detected Keyboard Mode Device, we either have a different issue, or more than one MagTek card reader is connected to your system.

Click the Load File button on the application, and select Change To Keyboard.txt.

You'll see the contents of the text file load into the Window. Next, hit the Download button to push the information onto your MagTek device.

Step 3: Confirm changes have been made.

It may take a couple minutes for your device to refresh. Windows may pop up an alert that it detected new hardware. When the application reports Detected Keyboard Mode Device, it is ready to use. Open a text document and swipe your card to confirm. After this, it should swipe in PartyCenterSoftware as well.

These changes are made on the card reader itself, and will not need to be repeated if you transfer the reader to a new computer.

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