I recently installed Ubuntu Natty (11.04) and now pressing Alt+Left/Right arrow key switches my tty to the adjacent one. How can I reconfigure the keyboard shortcuts so that this stops happening?

Update: I enabled Ctrl-Alt-Backspace restarting X. Now when I start my computer and then restart X, this problem stops occurring. However, if I don't restart X after starting my computer, this problem persists.

Another update: reinstalling the system fixed the problem.

  • really? your tty? not your desktop workspace?
    – con-f-use
    Jun 9, 2011 at 7:48
  • Yes, my tty. It also causes the Alt-Left/Right key combination to be applied to the tty I'm in. So if I'm browsing, then Alt-Left will switch my tty to the previous one and when I switch back, the browser has also gone back to the previous page. No idea why it's that way and googling didn't seem to indicate that anyone else was facing this issue either. There must be some configuration file that controls the shortcut though...
    – Sid
    Jun 9, 2011 at 8:21
  • Sid, I observe the same behaviour, and it is particularly annoying when you're in X. I wonder what the problem is...
    – brice
    Jul 12, 2011 at 14:33
  • @brice, what does xmodmap -pke | grep Left (in a terminal) tell you?
    – taneli
    Aug 11, 2011 at 13:28
  • @taneli: (keycode 23 = Tab ISO_Left_Tab Tab ISO_Left_Tab) (keycode 83 = KP_Left KP_4 KP_Left KP_4) (keycode 113 = Left NoSymbol Left). I'm not sure whether this is good or bad... Sometimes, the behaviour is as expected, sometimes not. I still haven't found the trigger.
    – brice
    Aug 16, 2011 at 11:30

2 Answers 2


Click on the application icon on the Unity bar. Type keyboard and double click on the entry labelled as, "Keyboard Shortcuts. Scroll down the list until you get to the item that says, "Move window one workspace to the left". Click on each of items and change the shortcut to your liking.

  • It's not an unity issue, proably more low-level. May 31, 2015 at 15:04

Finally found how to work around that, for the records, that behaviour means that the underlying tty is still capturing events (in ttys, meta/alt + left/right is bound to console switching).

In my /etc/X11/xorg.conf,

I had :

Section "InputDevice"
     Identifier "Keyboard0"
     Driver "evdev"
     Option "Device" "/dev/input/event1"
     Option "XkbRules"  "xorg"
     Option "XkbModel"  "pc105"
     Option "XkbLayout" "fr,fr"
     Option "XkbVariant" "oss,bepo"
     Option "XkbOptions"    "grp:shift_toggle,grp_led:scroll"

I added the following line : Option "GrabDevice" "True" in the above section, restarted X and voila :)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.