I've got Mac OS X 10.8 with VirtualBox installed. I'm running Windows 7 as a virtual machine.

When I'm in Windows, I find that Command+Tab doesn't work, and I was wondering if I can fix it to still functioning as if I was in OS X?

What I want is to be able to switch between running apps on OS X, but instead, Windows is doing that 3D swooshie thing between my open windows in Windows 7.

Any ideas?


4 Answers 4


In the VirtualBox Manager preferences, go to "Input" and uncheck the option that says "Auto Capture Keyboard." Leave it unticked (the option at the bottom of the image below).

The option that CMD-LEFT normally turns off, this turns it off by default (if you need to change it back temporarily, use CMD-LEFT).

This way CMD-TAB works like in any other Mac OS X app.

To me this was quite annoying, and I finally discovered the solution today. However, I don't know if the setting may interfere with something else. So far I've tried CTRL-TAB within the guest OS and that is captured as expected.

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  • This worked for me, too. I had to reboot my VM but I had expected that. Still unsure of the side-effects. Jul 15, 2016 at 23:00

What happens if you Command-Tab with the right Command key, or set the host key to the left Command key on the on the "Input" tab in the preferences? I don't have a Mac with VirtualBox available to test, but it just might be crazy enough to work.


Otherwise I don't believe this is currently possible, but alternatively, you could consider disabling "Auto Capture Keyboard".

This has the obvious downsides of requiring a click or key-press before handing over input to the guest as well as not helping at all once input is handed over, but it may relieve the symptom if all you're usually doing is viewing the guest machine's screen.


As mentioned above

  1. You set host key to the right CMD / Win-key and
  2. disable auto-capture

But more importantly

  1. You create Auto Hotkey script under Windows guest

    ~LWin Up:: return

    ~RWin Up:: return

to stop Windows Start menu popping up in wain when using CMD+Tab and still keep other Win+ shortcuts working e.g. Win+R and Win+E etc.

P.S. Why CMD+Tab or Win+Tab is not a Windows key combination? Because once that's pressed, you have left Windows and are in OSX. And Windows has received only Win key down. Never got the Tab.

Edit: The above script worked for me in XP but does not work in Win7x64. I found this script working instead




Windows doesn't have a CMD or Command key. I guess you mean CTRL-Tab?

  • 2
    I don't think you understand the question right. I'm on a Mac, and when running inside Win 7 virtual machine, Cmd+Tab works in Windows as if you're pressing Ctrl+Tab. I want to have Mac capture the Cmd+Tab as normal and switch applications. After all, Windows is technically speaking, thanks to VirtualBox running as an application in Mac. Mar 22, 2013 at 10:39

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