How can a person disable Alt + Tab in Windows 10 without using any third party software like AutoHotkey?

Accidentally hitting Alt + Tab while gaming is really annoying. And some games do not allow the use of AutoHotkey or other third party software.

I need Alt + Tab disabled, but still want to have the ability to use the Alt and Tab keys individually.

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    Similar : stackoverflow.com/questions/2970683 – Biswapriyo Oct 21 '18 at 6:27
  • I only see cool switch column and row. – prolink007 Oct 21 '18 at 13:27
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    @Biswapriyo I dont believe that is relevant anymore. – prolink007 Oct 22 '18 at 1:12
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    How do you accidentally hit alt+tab? (just curious) – gbvisconti Oct 24 '18 at 20:38
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    @gbvisconti Well... it is not accidental. But i have things bound to alt and things bound to tab. When performing those two actions at the same time, it activates windows alt+tab. – prolink007 Oct 24 '18 at 21:10

It's too early to give a negative answer within the context of not using any third-party product, but here are the results of my historical research, which might help in advancing on this question.

The decision to make Alt-Tab extremely hard to intercept was taken in Windows NT. The article describing what was done has disappeared from the Internet, but I have found an old edition on the Wayback Machine, dating from December 2003. Because it's so hard to find, I reproduce it here as an image:


The three solutions listed by the Microsoft developers (dating from the time when they still answered user queries) are :

  • Modifying the Windows kernel, meaning Windows DLLs (I have no intention).
  • Register for hotkeys via API function RegisterHotKey, which can only be done by injecting a DLL into the game while executing, so can get you seriously banned for life.
  • Create a system-wide keyboard hook, like AutoHotKey does, which you say can also get you banned.

If we can believe the original developers of NT, these are the only options, of which the only realistic solution involves a program such as AutoHotKey.

From my side I can see no other solution, but perhaps someone else knows about some other clever hack.

An AutoHotKey script to disable Alt-Tab is :

#IfWinActive Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
LAlt & Tab::

You should put the right title on the #IfWinActive command, for Alt-Tab to only be disabled while the game has the focus.

For games that use a low-level access to the keyboard, the script might need to be Run as Administrator.

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  • This is sort of outdated. Of course it's true for Windows NT, but in later versions of Windows the option to disable Alt+Tab was reintroduced via a registry setting, which unfortunately does not work any more in Windows 10. – Albin Oct 26 '18 at 19:32
  • And out of curiosity (I'm not a gamer, well at least not any more) why would a "system-wide keyboard hook" will get you banded from a game? Could you please post the link to the entry of the wayback machine as well? Thanks! – Albin Oct 26 '18 at 19:32
  • But back on topic, maybe I found a solution here. This has been adopted to be used with the alt-key as well, I wonder if it will work for Alt+Tab as well. Feel free to give it a try. – Albin Oct 27 '18 at 16:16
  • Offtopic comments moved to chat – Albin Oct 27 '18 at 17:30
  • @Albin: Nothing was moved, so rests to be done manually. – harrymc Oct 28 '18 at 9:53

Because it looks like it's almost impossible to solve the Problem without a 3rd party software, I would camouflage AutoHotkey this way:

  1. Copy AutoHotkey.exe, rename it and move it to a less suspicious directory, e.g. copy c:\Program Files\AutoHotkey\AutoHotkey.exe
    to c:\Program Files\Microsoft\Monitor.exe or even to System32.
  2. Rename the AutoHotkey-Script extension .ahk to e.g. .cfg,
    for example save it here: c:\Users\<user>\Monitor.cfg
  3. Start the script, e.g.: c:\Program Files\Microsoft\Monitor.exe c:\Users\<user>\Monitor.cfg

I guess it will not be detected.

If it is recognized anyway, I would also change the properties of the copied exe file by using e.g. stackoverflow: How to change an executable's properties? (Windows) so that no file Property reminds of the origin, for example the File Description reads as e.g. "Application Monitor"

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  • AutoHotkey is detected by its system hook, not its name. – harrymc Oct 28 '18 at 10:00
  • Good to know... but: Do you guess it or are you sure that they are checking the system hooks? I ask because Windows itself and many other Software use system hooks, too. Therefore it's really hard to decide if it's a 'bad' or 'good' system hook... – Tom Oct 29 '18 at 10:05
  • It all depends on the game developers, on what kind of interference they allow. – harrymc Oct 29 '18 at 10:32

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