Getting “alt-tab” to go to the virtual machine

Getting “alt-tab” to go to the virtual machine

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I got asked this question on twitter the other day:

When using Hyper-V - how do I get “alt-tab” to go to the virtual machine and not to the parent partition?

I was surprised to find out that I had not blogged the answer to this one already.  It is quite simple to do.  If you open the Hyper-V Settings user interface (from the Hyper-V Manager) you can change the keyboard settings to one of the following options:


By default – key combinations like “alt-tab” will only go to the virtual machine when it is in full-screen mode.  If you change this option to “Use on the virtual machine” then these key combinations will always go to the virtual machine (this is usually what I change the setting to on my computers).


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  • THANK YOU!  I ran into this the other day doing a DR testing prior to Integration tools installing on a VM (2003) that was p2v'd.  The problem was I had to RDP to the DR server, then open the console through it (which caused the mouse unable to be utilized).  I received the lovely "Services failed to start" dialogue box in front of my logon screen, so I couldn't see what fields I was typing in.  

  • @Chris, I had the same thing happen. I was remoted into the vhost, so this fix is helpful, but still a bit of a challenge because the keystrokes are one hop removed from being on the host.

    At one point I hit <ctrl> <shift> <tab> and got to the "Services failed to start" OK button. Not sure if that is a golden answer.

    What would be TOTALLY awesome is if next to the Three Button CAD icon on the Virtual Machine Connection there was an option for a virtual keyboard, just like you can get for Windows Mobility... only a bit smaller so it will fit on the screen.

    In almost every instance of using the VMC, I am remoted into the vhost by RDC or some other remote desktop. This would be soooooooooo helpful.

    Hint, hint, hint, Ben...

  • i don have admin access to my Virtual Machine, so could you please help me to use Alt+Tab key inside a VM without this Hyper V settings. Thanks in advance!

  • thank you so much for this! it sounds so simple but it's been bugging me for a while!!!

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