I need use the key combinations Ctrl-Alt-Left Arrow and Ctrl-Alt-Right Arrow in an application on my computer. When I use Remote Desktop to connect to that computer, either the Remote Desktop Client (mstsc.exe) or the RDP server implementation swallow these key combinations. The combos appear to be reserved to the Remote Desktop, although they don't seem to be doing anything.

Is there a way (supported or not) to disable this behavior so that the key combinations are sent to my application?


For using CtrlAlt+ in Far Manager I used the following AutoHotKey script:

send ^+{F9}

send ^+{F8}

… where under CtrlShiftF8/F9 I have Far macros which do the same as when pressing CtrlAlt+.

This workaround only works if in Properties, the connection option Keyboard is set to "On this computer".

  • I'm marking this as the accepted answer because I ended up doing something similar: I, too, have an AutoHotKey script on my host computer that captures and translates the key combo to a different one; then I have a second AutoHotKey script on the remote computer that translates it back to the original key combo. – Fabian Schmied Oct 17 '12 at 9:00
  • But, this option force the remote user to change the shortcut used remotely, right? – chomp Feb 22 at 12:43

Thanks to the poster and the answers so far; these helped me solve my similar issue: I have keyboard shortcuts on my desktop PC's text editor that use Ctrl+Alt+..., and I wanted to be able to use them when accessing the machine remotely.

With this AHK script, I type Win instead of Alt and I'm able to accomplish the commented commands below. Now regardless of which PC I use to access the remote desktop PC (i.e., when home or traveling), I can use my shortcuts (and Win is pretty near Alt). Here's my AHK script:

;Send Ctrl+Alt+Left keys when user types Ctrl+Win+Left
send !^{Left}

;Send Ctrl+Alt+Right keys when user types Ctrl+Win+Right
send !^{Right}

;Send Ctrl+Alt+Up keys when user types Ctrl+Win+Up
send !^{Up}

;Send Ctrl+Alt+Down keys when user types Ctrl+Win+Down
send !^{Down}

;Send Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Left keys when user types Ctrl+Win+Shift+Left
send !^+{Left}

;Send Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Right keys when user types Ctrl+Win+Shift+Right
send !^+{Right}

;Send Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Up keys when user types Ctrl+Win+Shift+Up
send !^+{Up}

;Send Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Down keys when user types Ctrl+Win+Shift+Down
send !^+{Down}

Note, I use "Apply windows key combinations...On the remote computer" in Remote Desktop Connection, so I run this script on the remote computer.

While there are probably more efficient AHK ways to do this, the above works for me. Hope this helps someone else, too.


Make sure you have the Keyboard settings set to something appropriate for how you use RDP. Have a look in the options for your RDP connection, on the Local Resources Tab.

If you always have the connection full screen then set it to "Only when using the full screen" but if you don't use RDP in full screen then set it to "On the remote computer."

RDP Key Combo

  • 15
    This does not solve the issue. I always have the connection full screen, and the "Local Resources/Keyboard" settings are set to "Only when using the full screen". This means I can use Alt-Tab and the like, but I still canot use Ctrl-Alt-Left Arrow or Ctrl-Alt-Right Arrow. – Fabian Schmied Aug 25 '11 at 13:34
  • I find that Ctrl-Alt-Up and Ctrl-Atl-Down do work; but Ctrl-Alt-Left and Ctrl-Alt-Right no longer do. Although they all used to work until recently. – Steve Pitchers Jul 17 '17 at 14:22
  • I find this really annoying, mstsc.exe doesn't seem to matter what I try Ctrl-Alt-Left and Ctrl-Alt-Right doesn't work. The other Remote Desktop app (maybe only available in Windows 10) does pass on those keystrokes but it has other limitations such as no dual monitor support and seems to disconnect a bunch for me. – Glen Sep 26 '18 at 21:56

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