Somehow (I have no idea how) I broke my ALT + TAB functionality. I'm using Linux Mint (MATE edition), and when I press ALT + TAB instead of switching to another application it very briefly shows the desktop, then returns me back to the application I was on.

I've tried enabling and disabling both the "Application Switcher" and "Static Application Switcher" in the CompizConfig, but neither has any effect. Even if both are disabled, I still get the same "briefly show the desktop then return to the original app" behavior.

This made me think that I somehow had rebound my ALT + TAB keybinding, but when I go to Keyboard Shortcuts it does show "Move between windows, using a popup window" set to ALT + TAB. If I change it (eg. to CTRL + ALT + A) the "show desktop briefly" behavior goes away ... unless I then do CTRL + ALT + A, in which case that behavior returns.

So in summary:

  • I have a keybinding for ALT + TAB to "Move between windows, using a popup window", and this binding appears to trigger the "show desktop briefly" behavior even if I change it to a different binding
  • I previously had "Static Application Switcher" enabled in CompizConfig, but whether I enable it, "Application Switcher", or none of the above, I see the same behavior

Thus, it seems I've somehow actually broken the "Move between windows, using a popup window" functionality, completely independent of Compiz ... and I have no idea how I can restore it.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

  • I am having the same issue
    – BenjB
    Oct 28, 2018 at 18:24

2 Answers 2


I had same issue. Disabling "software compositing window manager" worked for me:



I had a fresh install and ran into this again, but found a new solution.

First, I installed and ran dconf-editor (sudo apt-get install dconf-editor followed by dconf-editor). This let me edit system settings using a friendly GUI (you could also just use the, already installed, command-line `gsettings to do the same thing).

Then I used it to change two settings:


"cycle-windows" is an action which switches immediately the moment you press ALT+TAB, while "switch-windows" uses the pop-up window, causing slowness. On my machine switch-windows was bound to ALT+TAB, while cycle-windows was set to ALT+ESCAPE.

All I had to do was switch those two values, and suddenly I had super-fast ALT+TAB switching! And as an added bonus, cycle-windows limits itself to applications open on the current workspace (only).

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