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I am using a number of different keyboard layouts, depending on which language/keyboard I am woring with. Some of these rely on the AltGr key for producing certain symbols like @ (e.g. the Swedish layout).

Since I updated to Windows 10, the AltGr key intermittently ceases to work (while Ctrl + Alt + still works). Similar issues have been reported with Win 8 and Win 8.1, but the solutions to these do not apply to my case (and perhaps not to other Win 10 cases. So I will try to be very precise in describing the issue here.

To start with, when I say "the AltGr key stops working", what I mean is that it fails to act as Ctrl + Alt (which is what it is supposed to do). However, it does do something: for example, when I press AltGr + 2 and then another ordinary key, say "A" what I get is "2a". Note that the 2 does not appear until I press the A. In other words, when pressed with AltGr, the "2"-key is somehow treated like a dead key.

Changing between different keyboard layouts does not help. AltGr will not work neither in those other keyboard layouts nor in the original one when I switch back to it. The only way to get AltGr working again seems to be to reboot the system (though I have also seen instances where a reboot from a system with a working AltGr key led to a system with a non-working AltGr key).

It also does not make a difference whether I use the Windows 10 screen keyboard or the hardware keyboard. In the case of the On-screen keyboard, pressing the AltGr key correctly displays the characters on those keys that have one assigned to them (in combination with AltGr), but despite this, tapping one of those keys does not produce the displayed character.

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  • Does it help pressing one of the following key combinations: left alt+space, alt+shift or ctrl+shift? These are keyboard shortcuts for changing between langage and/or layout and may be the cause of your problem. Yes, I read that changing keyboard layout doesn't fix it, still please test this.
    – LPChip
    Nov 23, 2016 at 22:00
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    I have long turned off those language changing shortcuts (they were driving me nuts). So: no, pressing these key combination does not help.
    – Christoph
    Nov 24, 2016 at 1:50
  • In my case, it was the Virtual Desktop Manager program. It started working when I closed it. Jan 16, 2021 at 12:39

7 Answers 7

273

The issue happens when you open a RDP connection. Just bring the RDP window in foreground and press Alt+Enter.

The issue will disappear on all other windows too

Source: How to Fix Alt Gr Key Not Working.

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  • 21
    This should be the accepted answer! Been looking for a solution for this weird problem for ages. Until now I had to close an reopen my RDP sessions. Thanks for this Alt+Enter finding!
    – MemphiZ
    Jan 19, 2018 at 10:49
  • 7
    You saved my day
    – tanathos
    Feb 7, 2018 at 11:13
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    My AltGr-key is gone after sleep if I had a RDP-session on when I closed the lid. To get the AltGr back, all I had to do is open the RDP-session and tap AltGr there. Then it stats working on my Windows-side too. Really weird bug. May 22, 2018 at 8:01
  • 1
    I just experiences this. Annoying. Thanks for this great answer. Jun 18, 2019 at 12:18
  • 2
    why ... what the ....works perfectly, thanks! Did not even have a full remote session but a published app.
    – klaas
    Mar 20, 2020 at 11:44
34

In my case left Shift+Caps Lock+AltGr helped. I have no idea what it does, but it works.

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  • 1
    This is the only solution that worked for me, thanks! I can't find any info as to why this shortcut exists either, sadly.
    – Flater
    May 16, 2017 at 11:49
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    For me it was Left Shift + Caps Lock + Left Alt.
    – kor_
    Aug 28, 2019 at 9:25
  • I can't believe it just worked
    – Louis
    Oct 27, 2019 at 22:30
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    Caps Lock is a permanent shift. How does shift and permanent shift work together?
    – Timo
    Jan 3, 2020 at 19:45
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    How is this combination supposed to help? You press it once to make AltGr working again or you use it instead of AltGr? Does anyone have idea of why this could help? Jan 11, 2021 at 21:40
3

Some utility programs can also "steal" the keyboard stroks.

In my case it appeared that the VirtualDesktopManager resulted in non-functional AltGr, so I could not write [ and ].

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  • Thanks mate... my host did not respond to AltGr until I saw that a virtual Win10 in HyperV demanded input. After dealing with the virtual environments request the AltGr on host was working. Feb 18, 2021 at 21:29
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It might seem silly but in my case I had accidentally switched keyboard locale from "German" to "US" and nothing was working as expected.

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  • I have set up 2 keyboards: ES and US. I was using the US keyboard which doesn't have the '[' key in the same place so I thought the key stopped working.
    – Adrian
    Apr 29, 2021 at 14:47
  • This may happen when pressing Alt+Shift accidentally. This toggles between configured keyboard layouts.
    – gehho
    Mar 11 at 13:30
1

It turns out that, in my case, the reason for this was wincompose, a program that I had uninstalled but for unknown reasons that uninstall partially failed so that the core of the program was still running in the background and interpreting some of my AltGr keyboard inputs as shortcuts (without any function).

This question has been extremely popular over the past few months, which means that many people are facing similar issues. Most likely, this will not be the solution for them, but I hope that more answers will eventually come up so that everyone finds a solution.

0

On my black widow keyboard I solved this by turning off the macro button for AltGr+Fn.

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In my case i solved it by noticing the problem fast after the problem was installed wich in this case was fortnite stealing the keybind for ALT (left&right)

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