Ticket #1668 (new enhancement)

Opened 10 years ago

Last modified 5 years ago

Mac version needs option to pass system keyboard shortcuts through to OS X

Reported by: calum Owned by:
Priority: major Component: GUI
Version: VirtualBox 1.6.2 Keywords:
Cc: Guest type: other
Host type: Mac OS X


VMware Fusion has an option to pass Mac system keyboard shortcuts (such as Cmd-Tab and the Spaces/Exposé shortcuts F8-F11) through to OS X.

VirtualBox for Mac really needs this option too. It's very annoying that you can't switch applications or workspaces when a guest window has focus, even with the guest extensions installed. This is one of the main issues that's stopping me switching all my VMs over from VMware right now.

Change History

comment:1 Changed 10 years ago by poetzsch

You can try to disable "Auto capture keyboard" in the Input section of the Global Preferences. This should give you the desired behavior. Please note that in this case even most of the F-keys aren't send to the guest.

comment:2 Changed 9 years ago by calum

Your suggestion kind of works in windowed mode. But it doesn't work at all in full screen mode, which is where the application/workspace switching functionality is most required.

comment:3 Changed 9 years ago by frank

  • Host type changed from other to Mac OS X

comment:4 Changed 9 years ago by frank

  • Component changed from other to GUI

comment:5 Changed 9 years ago by dwt

I second that, keyboard shortcuts which can't be for the specific host (all command-key involving key-sequences) should be passed through to the guest host.

Additionally it may be a thought to generally pass keyboard shortcuts through to the system, after handing them to the VM.

This would allow an application like iMote to register itself for a shortcut like <controll>-<alt>-<command>-<space> to start / stop iTunes - even while I'm working inside a Ubuntu Virtual Mashine.

That would be most awesome.

comment:6 Changed 9 years ago by Fluffums

I think passing shortcuts through to the host is a great feature. That said, can't you just tap the host key before entering your shortcut? I'm running Ubuntu as my host, but I can just tap the right Ctrl (the default host key) followed by my shortcut keys.

comment:7 Changed 9 years ago by dwt

Sure I could. But that would make a one step process (Fone is ringing so pause the music), to a six step process of:

  • trying to stop the music,
  • wondering why it doesn't work,
  • remembering that I have to exit VirtualBox first,
  • exiting VirtualBox,
  • Pausing Music,
  • coming back to VirtualBox (possibly later).

Which can be quite annoying and will often mean that I get completely thrown out of the workflow I originally was doing.

comment:8 Changed 9 years ago by aquarius

Catching Cmd-Tab (and some more key combinations) in the Mac OS X version and route them to the host is a nice idea, but this should be made configurable then.

Please bear in mind that at least Windows guests interpret Cmd and some combinations as well:

Cmd -> brings up start menu
Cmd+R -> brings up the "run" dialog
Cmd+E -> starts a new Explorer window
... and more ...

related discussion:

Apple Bootcamp keyboard mappings (applies not only to windows)


comment:9 Changed 9 years ago by calum

I'd be fine with configurable, that's also how it works in VMware Fusion for example.

Another option would just be to choose a different default for the host key in OS X-- I've switched it from left-cmd to right-cmd, and everything works much better. No longer do I keep resetting my VMs (Host+R) when I'm only trying to bring up the Run dialog (Windows+R)...

comment:10 Changed 8 years ago by Technologov

This is also related to bugs like #4238, #4208, #2145, #4263 and #1773

This problem is not related to Mac OS host - see bug #4263


comment:11 Changed 8 years ago by bgarn83

I am also interested in adding this capability. Windows shortcuts are very often different from Mac OS shortcuts regarding the use of the command key. But an easy way to deal with this is to track the host key to the host OS and the other command key can still be tracked to the guest OS. If somebody doesn't like that, then they can change their host key, or make a unique combination of keys for a host key (like ctrl+cmd).

comment:12 Changed 5 years ago by bandolerito

Another one VERY interested in this option on vb

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