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A lot of applications like Firefox, Chrome etc, get closed when I accidentally press Ctrl+Q instead of Ctrl+W because of the proximity of the Q and W keys on the keyboard. Is there a way this shortcut can be removed or reset on a system wide basis?

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up vote 39 down vote accepted

The best way is to disable the keyboard setting in your specific application. For Firefox there is an extension keyconfig. This allows you to change keyboard settings.

If you want Ctrl+Q to disable for your whole system, I would suggest to make a new setting:

  1. Go to System -> Preferences -> Keyboard settings
  2. Click Add
  3. Give it a name like fake setting and enter /bin/false as command. Apply your changes.
  4. Click on 'Disabled' and press Ctrl+Q.

Now you should have a new entry with your applied name and your keyboard setting. Every time you press Ctrl+Q your system will run the command /bin/false which basically does nothing. So this is a workaround to disable the setting.

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thanks, no more accidental closing :) – Khaja Minhajuddin Aug 11 '10 at 11:51
Awesome answer, and how did you do the styled button shortcuts! :) – jathanism Aug 11 '10 at 13:37
@jathanism: Use the kbd html tag. – Lars Haugseth Aug 11 '10 at 15:33
When you want to press Ctrl-Q the window will close. You can never assign this key using this method – Anwar Shah Oct 15 '12 at 6:23
@AnwarShah -- I just tried this solution and it worked for me. – Sam King Apr 20 '14 at 5:22

If Ctrl + Q closes the keyboard settings window, like it did for me, set the shortcut to another value, close the window and wait until the updated shortcut appears somewhere in ~/.gconf/desktop/gnome/keybindings/*. Open that file and edit the stringvalue of that command to read <Primary>q. Then reboot the PC. This worked for me as opposed to the accepted answer.

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Even that did not work for me. I tried the below: <?xml version="1.0"?> <gconf> <entry name="action" mtime="1369776357" type="string"> <stringvalue>/bin/false </stringvalue> </entry> <entry name="name" mtime="1369776357" type="string"> <stringvalue>dummy2</stringvalue> </entry> <entry name="binding" mtime="1369776299" type="string"> <stringvalue>&lt;Primary&gt;q</stringvalue> </entry> </gconf> – vishvAs vAsuki May 28 '13 at 21:26
I had to restart gnome session, but this worked, thanks! – vishvAs vAsuki Jun 25 '14 at 18:15

Probably inserting the shortcut under System -> Preferences -> Keyboard Shortcuts and "disabling" it should do the trick.

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Instead of just typing away do a bit of research if your not 100% certain. It would have costed you 2 secs to find that it is not there. – LassePoulsen Aug 11 '10 at 7:33
Well, it is if you add it, isn't it? Maybe I didn't express myself correctly. But apparently, there is an easy fix since it's worked for me. – mariachris Aug 11 '10 at 9:04
Maybe not, it is still not a very nice way to do it... This way you will never be able to use Ctrl+W for any thing! For instance in bash Ctrl+W means delete word backwards. – LassePoulsen Aug 11 '10 at 11:13

You can go to System->Preferences->Keyboard Shortcuts and assign this combo to an unused action. For example I assigned CTRL+Q to switch to workspace 12 (No, I don't have 12 workspaces).

As a result this system wide setting overrides application one and CTRL+Q no longer closes firefox (likely the combo never reach Firefox). It just do nothing.

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Kind of a nice and easy fix, but I rather recommend to use a browser's extension. Using system preferences to override Ctrl+Q system-wide would result in some applications being unable to use that shortcut - e.g. you won't be able to use Ctrl+Q in IntelliJ IDEA to show documentation pop-up. – falconepl Jun 27 '15 at 14:48
Well, the question is about disabling this combo system-wide not app per app ;). – Javier Rivera Jun 29 '15 at 6:30
And that's why you've got +1 from me... ;) – falconepl Jun 29 '15 at 13:57

Here is a command-line version of the already-supplied GUI version. On some system Ctrl+Q will close the accelerator input window without setting the shortcut, so this can be needed:

gconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/gnome/keybindings/inhibit_ctrl_Q/name "Inhibit Ctrl+Q"
gconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/gnome/keybindings/inhibit_ctrl_Q/action /bin/false
gconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/gnome/keybindings/inhibit_ctrl_Q/binding "<Primary>q"

Note that this solution is for gnome-2 / Unity. A similar solution should be possible with gsettings for gnome-3.

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It seems that these settings although preserved after restart does not provide expected behavior (Ubuntu 14.04). Also, after being applied, using Ctrl+Q shortcut with focused Nautilus window makes it hang/unresponsive. – falconepl Jun 27 '15 at 14:21

There is no easy fix since these keyboard shortcuts are defined directly in the program source. If you are up for it, google around for gtkrc, should be possible to overwrite, but I were unsuccessful in doing so. It is not an easy task, but you might have more luck if you go to the gtk developer mailinglist. or on the Gnome IRC ( in the #gtk or #gnome channels.

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For me, disabling Ctrl+Q shortcut system-wide is not the perfect solution, because it prevents applications other than Firefox, Chrome etc. to be notified when you use that shortcut - for example, IntelliJ IDEA uses Ctrl+Q as a default binding to show quick documentation pop-up.

If you are looking for a Firefox-only solution, I highly recommend Disable Ctrl-Q Shortcut plugin. In my opinion it's a better option than keyconfig mentioned by @qbi because its source is available on GitHub, while keyconfig is available only as a binary.

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