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I am considering purchasing a Chromebook/box as a thin client as my primary physical work machine accessing a Windows workstation remotely.

Chrome OS may not provide support for any remote desktop application to enable keyboard shortcut pass-through.

Does Chrome OS support keyboard shortcut pass-through for remote desktop connections?


Addendum to explain the question: What is meant by "passthrough of key combinations"?

Because it may not be clear to those who have not experienced the issue: "keyboard shortcut pass-through" means typing a keyboard shortcut on a local machine that is currently accessing a remote machine through a remote connection with a GUI, such as Remote Desktop, Teamviewer, or Chrome OS's "Chrome Remote Desktop".

When it is intended that the keyboard shortcut should in fact be issued on the remote system, not the local system, in order for this to work, the keyboard shortcut must be "passed through" to the remote system as though a user is physically sitting at a keyboard connected to the remote system (and not sitting at the keyboard of the local system).

An example: The keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + Delete is a special case that, to my knowledge, can NEVER be passed through due to fundamental hardware issues. However, other keyboard shortcuts (such as the simple Ctrl + X, or any more complicated keyboard shortcut) may or may not be intercepted by some program running on the LOCAL machine BEFORE the remote connection program receives it and potentially forwards it through to the remote machine.

The current question, however, is independent of ANY program running in Chrome OS and addresses the operating system (Chrome OS) itself. It is possible that Chrome OS itself intercepts all or most keyboard shortcuts before any application (or Chrome web application), including any remote access application, can receive it. If so, and if it cannot be overridden in the Chrome OS settings, then this is a FUNDAMENTAL limitation of the operating system itself and indicates that NO remote desktop program running in Chrome OS can receive and pass through keyboard shortcuts.

My interest in purchasing a Chromebook hinges on this question.

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The Team Viewer client running on a Chromebook sends common keyboard shortcuts (Control x,c,p for copy,cut, paste or Control a for Select All for example) to the remote desktop. It may be it sends all keyboard activity - I didn't know how to test this. I recall Chrome Remote Desktop sends these shortcuts too.

I don't know exactly how the underlying OS is involved in this process. My guess is this is all happening at the browser level and the OS is involved only in providing the network connection.

  • Thanks. Those particular shortcuts (Ctrl + C, etc.) are the most common, standard across every application, and may be special cases via the Chrome OS itself. I’d like to know about custom keyboard shortcuts in general (i.e., ‘random’ ones that a user may set up in customized fashion such as, say, Ctrl + Shift + A + X). A way to test is to run an application on the REMOTE system that supports custom shortcuts, set one up in that application, and then try using it via the remote connection running on Chrome OS. – Dan Nissenbaum Oct 3 '18 at 12:23
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    I tried this with a couple of apps on my Fedora system. Neither supports custom shortcuts but they are specific to the app and not at all standard. Gedit has a bunch of uncommon text editing shortcuts like Control L for change selected text to uppercase and Alt + arrow key to move a word. My web-based outliner Checkvist has all kind of unique shortcuts. These worked fine. I'm pretty sure the client end is sending an encoded version of the keystrokes (Unicode?) to the server as is and it makes no difference what the keystrokes are. – Andrew M. Oct 3 '18 at 22:00
  • Cool! Very promising. – Dan Nissenbaum Oct 4 '18 at 1:40

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