I used to have a Pinnacle PCTV remote with serial IR receiver (not the one that plugs into the TV card) in combination with uICE
to control my entire system. It can map keys in global, send keys to specific windows/applications and perform certain window management and system tasks. It has its own OSD menu to browse your media and launch applications with the appropriate remote control profile and it supports quite a few remote controls (see their website)
Only downside is that I never got it to work on a 64 bit system (probably due to one of the dlls it uses)
The website does not say it works on Vista, but it does work on the x86 version.
I also heard good things about Girder
, but never tried it.
EDIT: lol, drifted off a bit towards the software side there. But if you use uICE or Girder you can ofcourse choose any of the supported remotes