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When I start a virtual machine (like VMware or VirtualBox) and set it full screen then, from the host OS (in this case Ubuntu), I can beautifully switch to it with the Workspace Switcher. So I switch to the VM like I switch to a virtual screen. But switching back -- from the VM to the host's virtual screens -- seems to be impossible because by entering the VM I loose the host's workspace switcher.

Is there a nifty workspace switcher program that runs inside the VM and is able to switch workspaces of the host machine?

Edit in light of Frank Thomas' answer, can we configure VirtualBox (or VMware) to not send certain key combinations to the VM, but keep them to the host? Like Super+S. In that approach I would sadly have to miss the nice workspace switcher icon in the guest OS, but that's OK if at least the keyboard trick would work.

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

Tap the key sequence to release the keyboard/mouse from the guest (e.g. for VMware it's Ctrl+Alt, and then the key sequence to switch virtual desktops on the host.

Alternately, configure the host to switch desktops on mouse gesture. For instance on my system, I can switch virtual desktops by sliding the mouse to the left or right edge of the screen, which works even if I am in a full screen guest in VMware.

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I think I asked the wrong question. I'm going to accept your answer because it does give a reasonable solution to what I actually asked. – Paul Dec 6 '12 at 19:02

as a general rule, actions in the guest should never ever be able to run code on the host OS. So by definition, no there will not be such a program, unless you can do some kind of virtual seamless integration using the internal network between host and guest to do it.

remember, the host knows it has guests, but the guest has no idea its running within a host, even at the kernel level.

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I see. So let's change our perspective a bit. A workspace switcher that syncs invocation (clicking on it or specific key presses like Super+S) over a network :-) So if I start it on one machine, it will launch on a configured other machine in the network. Is there something like that? – Paul Dec 6 '12 at 16:43

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