I'm running a Virtualbox session of Windows XP (guest) from a Sabayon GNU/Linux system (host).

I'm doing projects with Adobe Illustrator CS2 and some of the functionallity is accessed with left mouse click and the ALT key.

But it seems the ALT key is not forwarded to the guest system.


I've found a lot of forum threads and bug reports on the internet describing the same behaviour. But no workaround works or it seems no real good solution has been found/implemented yet.

Is there any solution for that? I really need that key for a lot of commands!

3 Answers 3


5chdn's solution is too cumbersome. Instead of Alt, use Win+Alt in guest and you're done.

For example, to use Rubymine's multiple caret mode, original shortcut is Alt+click, which becomes Win+Alt+click. Easy peasy.

  • I guess you had to map that combination, correct? By default, Win+Alt does nothing for me in Xubuntu.
    – hourback
    Sep 21, 2016 at 17:08
  • 1
    No, this applies by default to Windows host, Linux guest. At least in my case. Oct 2, 2016 at 14:08

This worked for me finally:

The ALT key works within the virtual box guest session if you run it in fullscreen without mouse integration.

  • HOST+I disables the mouse integration.
  • HOST+F switches to fullscreen.

Hit HOST+I and HOST+F again to return to your host system.


That alt gets somehow snatched away as a special key by your host OS (linux). For Ubuntu-MATE, the following works:

gsettings list-recursively org.mate.Marco.general | grep mouse-button-modifier

should show you:

org.mate.Marco.general mouse-button-modifier '<Alt>'

If you change that for example to the Super(aka Windows Key):

gsettings set org.mate.Marco.general 'mouse-button-modifier' "<Super>"

I got it working in Photoshop, with Win7 and Win10 guest OS.

I got to that the idea here, and this might be the place for related «special-host-key-issues» under Unity or other desktops...

PS: altspace for image dragging in a win10-virtualbox-photoshop still gives me trouble, if anyone has an idea, what the (most likely highly related) cause is...

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.