I came across some really strange behavior in Windows 7. I usually have open a remote desktop connection to another Windows (Win 7 or 10) machine. Nevertheless, I mainly work on the local machine. Everything, including the Alt Gr key works perfectly. Now let's say I lock my PC by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del and unlock it again, the Alt Gr key just does not work anymore. I need to Alt+Tab to the Remote Desktop Window, then Alt+Tab back to some local program like some browser and - voilá - it works again.

This is a problem as some characters on a German keyboard can only be accessed by using the Alt Gr modifier key. When entering passwords I don't usually see what characters I type, so this causes failed login attempts.

Note that I already completely re-installed Windows on both the remote machine as well as the local machine and it does not seem to depend on which remote machine I am connected to. (However, I cannot tell if this also happens when connecting to remote machines running other OSes.) And, of course, when I am not connected to any RDP session, I don't have any issues with that key.

While researching on this issue I stumbled upon this link, unfortunately it does not provide a solution: https://forum.devolutions.net/topic9714-altgr-key-disabled-by-rdm.aspx

Some (German) Microsoft help page suggested to switch the "Apply Windows key combinations" in the RDP settings to "On this computer" - however, it does not change anything.

Any further suggestions?

  • If you use a different keyboard layout, does the right ALT key, work then?
    – Ramhound
    Jun 20, 2018 at 14:11
  • 1
    I suppose, if anyone knew the answer to this, Microsoft might actually find it in them to fix this apparently long-standing bug.
    – tobibeer
    May 6, 2020 at 7:47

1 Answer 1


I view it as a behavior which can be called a defect from some viewpoint. I am not sure if there is any solution to that. Maybe you can try with Slovak keyboard layout, it has all the German characters (placed differently, and for example ö might require pressing dead key AltGr+-, o but they are all there) because I do not remember any issues with AltGr on that keyboard layout.

Another workaround is to click accessibility icon on login screen (or press Win+U for the same action) and enable On-screen keyboard from displayed menu. Then you can access desired characters by clicking on that on-screen keyboard.

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