Sometimes my keyboard shortcuts in gnome do not work (ctrl-alt-right for next desktop, ctrl-alt-m for menu, ctrl-alt-b for browser, et cetera)

Sometimes after rebooting they do work.

I wish I could provide more diagnostic information, but, I don't know what is relevant.

Please advise.

  • It may(?) be a dodgy key.. Have you tried different combinations of Left_Ctrl/Right_Ctrl and Left_Alt/Right_Alt... I've just had a similar thing with my Escape key... I changed the keyboard and I'm back on the road......
    – Peter.O
    Commented Apr 28, 2011 at 19:20
  • PS: run this in the terminal; it bypasses the physical keybpard : xdotool key "Ctrl+Alt+Right"
    – Peter.O
    Commented Apr 28, 2011 at 19:30
  • How often do the shortcuts switch between working and not working? Is this consistent between reboots, or do they stop working at some point, or do they randomly start and stop working during a session? Does it matter what window is focused? what applications are running? where the mouse pointer is? If you can, press the keys in an xev window when they aren't running: do you see KeyPress and KeyRelease events for Right, M, …? Commented Apr 28, 2011 at 20:28
  • @gilles I'll check with xev next time it happens. @fred thanks for the pointer. next time it happens I'll try it. i dont think its a bad key, the keyboard is brand new, but i'll try using the right ctrl next time. if i come up with any new info i'll post an update. it's hard to recreate on demand. it does require a reboot to fix. Commented Apr 28, 2011 at 21:21

1 Answer 1


I sometimes experience the same problem. I suspect that it is related to sleep mode. I realize that this is an old thread, but googling brought me here, so it might help someone else.

Anyways, to cure the symptom:

  • Restart gnome-settings-daemon. It is probably enough to kill it, and let it respawn.

No reboot necessary.

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