The latest version of Google Chrome has changed the hotkey for 'back' from backspace to alt + backspace. The new combination doesn't work on my laptop, however I would actually rather stick with the older key anyway.

I've read in other questions that Chrome doesn't allow you to customise shortcuts, however is there any way to either re-enable the original shortcut or to override it back to being just backspace?

Chrome screenshot

I'm running Windows 10.

  • For windows, this extension.
    – TheKB
    Jun 4, 2016 at 10:27
  • 3
    The new hotkey (Alt+Left) is bad because I can't easily press it with one hand,
    – VoidStar
    Aug 11, 2016 at 21:18
  • 1
    Please note that only left alt + <- works. Pressing right alt will rotate the screen. Sep 4, 2016 at 14:17
  • 1
    @DanielShatz that is completely inaccurate, right alt works just fine
    – GL_Stephen
    Sep 6, 2016 at 15:08
  • 1
    @DanielShatz The right-alt shortcut rotating your screen is probably something specific to your system. It appears to be a feature provided by the graphics drivers on some laptops. See these two questions: superuser.com/questions/214123/… superuser.com/questions/373832/…
    – Frungi
    Sep 12, 2016 at 19:48

4 Answers 4


Google has now published an official extension: 'Go Back With Backspace', to re-enable the backspace button as the hotkey for 'back'.

Re-enables the backspace key as a back navigation button (except when writing text). Go back with the backspace button! This extension re-enables the backspace key as a back navigation button -- except if you're writing text.

Before Chrome 52, the backspace key navigated back (if you weren't writing text). Many people lost their progress while working online by accidentally pressing backspace and leaving a page -- so we removed the feature from Chrome, and created this extension for those who prefer the old behavior.

This extension can't restore backspace on certain special pages, for example any of the "chrome://" pages such as Settings or Extensions.

About the "all sites" permission: In order to capture backspace on every page, the extension needs to install a little piece of code on each one. It does nothing else with the the page, its information, or your typing.

Source: https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=608016


It isn't working for you because, confusingly, it isn't Alt + Backspace, it's actually Alt + (the left arrow key).

  • 4
    Oh! Am I the only one who would have interpreted that as backspace?!
    – Rory
    Jul 6, 2016 at 11:18
  • 3
    @Rory Absolutely not, lol. I work with computers for a living, and I sat here pressing ALT+Backspace over and over again, thinking, "WHY WON'T YOU WORK?!" :P (Thanks for the solution, Sam!) Aug 15, 2016 at 20:11

If you want to maintain the old shortcut without adding an extension, add this CLI command to your Google Chrome link (right-click shortcut > Properties > "Target"):

--enable-blink-features=BackspaceDefaultHandler --test-type

So in my case, the target becomes:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" --enable-blink-features=BackspaceDefaultHandler --test-type

Credit to Mattias

  • 3
    And naturally this flag doesn't appear in chrome://flags
    – Sean D
    Aug 21, 2016 at 0:07
  • This flag seems to have disappeared now? Chrome v. 54.0.2840.99 m
    – Zaz
    Nov 25, 2016 at 14:25
  • I just tested it on Version 54.0.2840.99 m. It still works. NB it only applied the flag to the shortcut. So if I add the flag to the link in my taskbar, it will work if I left-click on that icon to launch Chrome. If I right click on the icon and then click "New Window" it doesn't seem to work. I guess it is a different shortcut.
    – Phil B
    Nov 25, 2016 at 17:08
  • Yes, I tested at home and it works there. Don't know what is wrong with my work computer.
    – Zaz
    Nov 25, 2016 at 18:24

The Backspace to go Back extension reverts to the pre-52 chrome behavior that you want.


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