Opened 16 years ago

Closed 13 years ago

Last modified 13 years ago

#979 closed enhancement (fixed)

host key combinations would be very convenient

Reported by: Forest Owned by:
Component: GUI Version: VirtualBox 1.5.0
Keywords: Cc:
Guest type: other Host type: other


I often work with my right hand on the mouse and my left on the "asdf" keys, so common key combinations (like control-c, alt-mouse-click, etc.) are immediately accessible. Unfortunately, VirtualBox supports only a single key as the "host key", which means that choosing any key within reach of my left hand is pretty much out of the question, because they all conflict with common operations. This leaves me stuck with a host key on the right side of the keyboard, which forces me to move a hand from its home position to reach the key, and then move it back again whenever I need the host key. That's pretty irritating.

QEMU and VMware both solve this problem nicely by using a combination of keys (control+alt) as their "host key". I wish I could make VirtualBox do the same.

Change History (23)

comment:1 by Frank Mehnert, 16 years ago

Component: otherGUI

comment:2 by A20_user, 16 years ago

I support this feature request!

comment:3 by myxiplx, 15 years ago

Definately, I'd love to see this too.

comment:4 by Paul Kronenwetter, 15 years ago

I can't say how many times I've reset my Windows box because I was using Alt-R to reply to a message in Outlook. This would be very nice for me as well.

comment:5 by Frank Mehnert, 15 years ago

I agree that we should allow host key combinations as well. But keep in mind that there is a warning which appears before you can reset the guest. If that message does not appear then you have probably disabled that message. Either enable all warnings again (VM selector, Help / Reset all warnings) or manually edit the VirtualBox.xml file (make sure that no VBoxSVC instance is running!) and delete confirmVMReset.

comment:6 by kookyman, 15 years ago

+1 to this request.

comment:7 by Jelle Geerts, 15 years ago

Too bad we don't have votes here for feature requests ;) I support this one too anyway, if it helps.

comment:8 by Mark Edwards, 15 years ago

Please register another very enthusiastic vote for this feature request!

This would help solve a major issue when using VirtualBox on OS X, which is that the default host key is left-control, which is also used to switch between Spaces (virtual desktops). If you are running a VM fullscreen on one virtual desktop and you inadvertently hit left-control by itself, you are all of a sudden stuck inside the VM and can't get to another virtual desktop until you hit left-control and release it.

My suggestion -- make the default host key control-alt. That makes it harder to press accidentally, that makes it less likely to overlap with common host OS keyboard shortcuts, and that makes the "Insert Ctrl-Alt-Del" command default to Ctrl-Alt-Del. This would make a lot more sense to new users.

comment:9 by Paul te Bokkel, 15 years ago

It's a bloody shame this feature still isn't in the regular build. Who on earth thought Left-CMD would be the best key (by default) on OS X? For touch typists as myself it's used more (on OS X) than Control!! I settled for Right Control, but really..

comment:10 by Frank Mehnert, 15 years ago

Its a bloody shame that you still didn't provide a patch...

comment:11 by Przemo Jankowski, 15 years ago

Me too!!!
Waiting for an option to select a key combination as the "Host Key"... So something like Ctrl+Alt, or better yet rightCtrl+Shift would be possible.

Right now I'm struggling with "Right Ctrl" or sometimes "Scroll Lock".
Can't use "Left Ctrl" - too much standard keystrokes depend on that.
"Left Alt" - same as above. Perhaps someone using the mouse all the time doesn't care, but please... for somebody using various keyboard shorcuts all the time this is really a significant drawback.
"Right Alt" - this one's used for entering special localized characters (Polish programmers keyboard layout).
"Right Ctrl" - sounds fine... until you forget you should have used the Left one for standard keystrokes and hit e.g. rightCtrl+R to "refresh" a page or something and everything goes away (VM reboot). This just happened for me a moment ago - AGAIN!! ;(

Last one I've mentioned - "Scroll Lock" - seems OK, as long as you have it on your keyboard (many laptops don't, at least not without some additional Fn key). And there's another problem - this key wasn't designed to work as a "modifier" (used together with other keys), so this sometimes causes trouble. Same goes for other "obscure" keys like F11, F12. I've tried them all, and it turned out I use even those all the time in one of my everyday apps.

So once again - PLEASE - allow at least combinations of Ctrl/Alt/Shift!

Or... this would be the best solution: allow to edit individual hotkeys for all those menu options (fullscreen, seamless, resize, snapshot, reboot, etc. - you set the ones you need, disable others, and everybody is happy ;))

comment:12 by Technologov, 14 years ago

This wish is still relevant for VBox 3.1.x.


comment:13 by Jiri Kopacek, 14 years ago


I'd like to second these requests, it would be very very convenient ... As of release 3.1.4 - still no sign of reaction :-(

Do please tell us if we can hope or forget about it

Thank you for your great work


comment:14 by Dylan Justice, 14 years ago

The lack of this is becoming more and more infuriating with every passing year. YES YES YES.

comment:15 by michaln, 14 years ago

To us it's a little infuriating that the "community" would rather spend years complaining loudly than contributing a patch. That is a clear sign that no one needs this feature all that much, and our time would be better spent working on other features.

comment:16 by dsjstc, 14 years ago

Sorry to have angered you, michaln. I feel strongly that this would be a useful feature, and I think it's important that people advocate their particular issues. But to respond to your comment, I'm not a member of any interested community that I'm aware of. It's just me, alone in a room. I bet every other commenter up there is too.

You may be right that this project is one of the easier ways for me to give something back to the open-source world. If I can get a successful build with no more than four hours of effort, I'll start learning C and working on a patch. Hopefully one that doesn't go into a black hole somewhere. Most of them do, you know. It's not as easy as you make it sound

comment:17 by michaln, 14 years ago

dsjstc, I don't think anyone is/was angry (certainly not me) and my comments were not directed at you, or anyone in particular.

But it is worth pointing out that when people are demanding (as opposed to politely asking for) a feature in a free product that they probably hadn't contributed anything to, it actually doesn't make that feature more likely to get done.

What is on the other hand helpful is explaining why users want a specific feature, because they may have needs we simply never thought of.

comment:18 by dsjstc, 14 years ago

Amusingly, it took me just under four hours to get a successful build. So I guess I'm on the hook to actually try and write this patch.

For the record, my particular desire for it is because the default Ubuntu next/prev workspace keys are ctrl-alt-right/left. I think it would improve my workflow a lot if I could press those keys from within a windows guest.

comment:19 by michaln, 14 years ago

dsjstc - BTW if you have questions related to VirtualBox development, the #vbox-dev IRC channel on freenode is a good place to ask them.

comment:20 by Frank Mehnert, 13 years ago

Resolution: fixed
Status: newclosed

comment:21 by Przemo Jankowski, 13 years ago

Resolution: fixed
Status: closedreopened

Hello!? What do you mean "fixed"?

Is there a hidden option somewhere that allows me to assign key *combinations* as a "host key"? I don't see it in version 4.0.4...

comment:22 by Frank Mehnert, 13 years ago

Resolution: fixed
Status: reopenedclosed

Sorry, fixed in 4.0.6, see website.

comment:23 by Przemo Jankowski, 13 years ago

Oh, there it is! :) I did check the main website 20 minutes ago, and "the news" was still version 4.0.4 :-)

BTW: Most of the fixed bugs in Changelog have numbers around 8000. This one: #979. Isn't that interesting? :) There should be a party or something... we've waited for so long ;-)

Thank you!

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