I am using Ubuntu in VirtualBox and it works pretty fine, but there is a problem that I am having since I started using it. I use Emacs and therefore, I use a lot of combinations/shortcuts/bindings all the time. The problem is that when I press and hold a key, for instance, Ctrl for searching Ctrl+S, if I want to keep looking I just hold it, but in this VirtualMachine after a few seconds the Ctrl key is released (without me releasing it) and I finish writing a bunch of 's', in this case. Another simpler example would be, changing windows with Alt+Tab, after a while Alt is released and I end up pressing just Tab in the last window changed. I guess this has something to do with some kind of refreshing of the peripherals or something, but it is really annoying.

Any ideas on how to solve it?

Thanks a lot!


Murphy's Law working here. I have been having this issue for the last 3 months (since I started working with this virtual machine), but suddenly when I asked this question I works just fine. I guess I'll have to ask more often :) Anyway, I don't think this will last forever, so if anyone has any idea about why this is happening and how to avoid it, it would be great!


I knew I shouldn't have said anything. It is back! haha


I assume you're using the right Control key. That's set as the "host" key in VirtualBox which means it gives the keyboard back to the host machine (with focus on VirtualBox).

You can change this in the VirtualBox preferences (File → Preferences → Input → Virtual Machine → Host Key Combination).

  • Yes. The "host key" is a different key. Combinations are working several times, until Ctrl (or Alt, or any) is suddenly released. – makeMonday Jan 29 '14 at 10:29

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