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I have an application that binds CTRL+ALT+F7, but my linux machine seems to catch the keystroke.

Is there a way to rebind/disable this key? A recompile of the kernel is an acceptable answer.

The distributions in question are Fedora 16 and Ubuntu 11.10.

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I don't have any specific advice, but I think, as CTRL+ALT+Fn is bound only under the X-Windows System, that the kernel won't be related to it in any way, and that you will probably be luckier trying to tweak the X11 configuration. – njsg Mar 14 '12 at 16:48
@njsg You can use the same keys to switch from X11 to a vt, and to switch back (also between vt's) - so they must be bound just the same on a vt. – Volker Siegel Jul 23 '14 at 9:49

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Place this in your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file to disable VT switching with Ctrl+Alt+Fn:

Section "ServerFlags"
    Option "DontVTSwitch" "on"

You will also need the following to cause events to be passed through to clients connected to the display:

Section "InputClass"
    Identifier "keyboard defaults"
    MatchIsKeyboard "on"
    Option "XKbOptions" "srvrkeys:none"

(that last bit is untested, sourced from

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This does not forward the combination to the window, X still catches it. – Jes Mar 14 '12 at 19:25
I did some Googling and found you need to add something else to the config file. Let me know if it works. – Sam Morris Mar 15 '12 at 11:49
After a few months of having to run Windows I have finally tested this on Lubuntu 12.04, where the IntelliJ IDEA window still does not catch the keystroke. – Jes Aug 14 '12 at 20:52
Using the two settings was both required for me, and worked for me. (on centos). ctrl-alt-f7 is now showing the usages inline in intellij :). – Rob Dawson Apr 15 '13 at 0:11

In Debian 8 Jessie and Ubuntu Trusty 14.04 LTS, the xbase-clients package has been replaced by a set of utilities found in the x11-xkb-utils package. The x11-xkb-utils contains the setxkbmap command.

The following invocation of the setxkbmap command disables Ctrl-Alt-Fn console/virtual terminal switching:

setxkbmap -option srvrkeys:none

To return to the previous behavior of the ctrl-alt-Fn keys, and also remove all other options, such as caps:ctrl_modifier:

setxkbmap -option ''

To print the current settings invoke setxkbmap -print.

To invoke per user, put the command in the ~/.xinitrc file.

To invoke when an Xsession starts, create a file in


such as


containing the above setxkbmap command, and make it executable with sudo chmod +x /etc/X11/Xsession.d/65srvrkeys-none.

I tested this with KDE on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty). These settings are also available in System Settings > Input Devices > Keyboard > Advanced. If you change srvrkeys in the GUI Settings, it shows up immediately in setxkbmap and vice versa.

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@glts Is this what you're looking for? – RobertL Nov 12 at 18:30
Thanks, @RobertL. My hopes were high, but no, this doesn't seem to have any effect on my Debian jessie and Ubuntu 14.04 installations. Ctrl-Alt-F7 and Ctrl-Alt-F8 still switch back and forth to and from a virtual terminal. I also don't have that menu entry System Settings > Input Devices > ... Perhaps that's a KDE thing? I'm using GNOME or whatever the Ubuntu default is. – glts Nov 13 at 8:48

You can disable this by going to System settings -> keyboard layout -> option. under miscellaneous compatibility options check "special keys Ctrl+Alt+<key> handled in server".

I checked this and Ubuntu does not catch any combination of Ctrl+Alt+... . but still idea does not catch Ctrl+Alt+F7 and the problem still exits!!!.

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You are right Ubuntu does not catch it, but I suspect that the X server does. – Jes Mar 26 '13 at 14:45
Yay! Found out that by default in Ubuntu IDEA handles Ctrl + Alt + 7 instead of F7! – o_nix Oct 30 '13 at 12:11

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