I have VirtualBox installed on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (host) with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS as a VM (guest). The VM has guest additions installed.

I'd like to be able to reliably use alt-tab to switch windows within the guest, at least when I am in full-screen mode. Instead what I currently get is that sometimes it switches windows in the guest, sometimes it switches windows in the host system, sometimes it activates the HUD in the host and sometimes it does more than one of these three things at the same time.

What can I do so that when I am working on the guest only the guest responds to alt-tab? (I have a similar problem with the super key--though that isn't as much of an issue since 10.04 doesn't make as much use of it.)

  • Possible duplicate? askubuntu.com/questions/140497/…
    – fossfreedom
    Jul 18 '12 at 6:32
  • Thanks fossfreedom for pointing me to that. I hadn't seen it, and it is interesting. In answer to your question, I don't think this is a duplicate since the solution to that problem was to enable "Auto capture keyboard" and in my case it is already enabled.
    – snowguy
    Jul 18 '12 at 15:58
  • 1
    This question has the right solution: askubuntu.com/questions/122209/….
    – Rörd
    Nov 22 '12 at 6:50
  • @sownguy Did you find a solution to this problem?
    – user785287
    Mar 31 '14 at 23:32
  • no I did not :(
    – snowguy
    Apr 2 '14 at 1:36

Using right Ctrl you can move between real OS and Virtual for the shortcuts. So every time you hit that button, you change between VM and the real machine and there is where the shortcut will apply.

The default desktop that a shortcut applies when you open a VM in full screen is a little bit random. Sometimes inside the VM, sometimes on the real desktop.


You may also want to completely disable the HUD hotkey. I do this because I spent most of my time inside VMs and not on the host desktop.

How do I modify or disable the HUD's use of the Alt key?


I also have met such problem, but I find that I use Left Alt as the host key, and then I change the host key to Right Alt (using VBox settings), and press Left Alt and Tab, it makes difference.

  • This is not clear: how do you change the host key? Oct 2 '17 at 9:51
  • just using the vbox settings
    – 辛文飞
    Nov 26 '17 at 7:30

Quick solution, Super + Alt + Tab does the trick if you face the issue.

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