About 1 week ago, I installed MATE desktop (Gnome2 fork) because I wanted to use XMonad in gnome. So I am pretty sure this problem has something to do with MATE.

My keyboard is just a basic HP keyboard (US layout); it doesn't have any specialised media/audio keys. So I decided, that since I never use the Alt_Gr, Super_L and Menu keys (3 consecutive keys), I could get the desktop environment to use those effectively as 'media keys'. Until I switched to MATE, I had been using XFCE and this worked very nicely.

However now that I try to reconfigure this in MATE, I found that these 3 keys specifically are not detected by the keyboard-shortcuts-setup-utility-thing. I suspected maybe XFCE was blocking them or something, but resetting XFCE's shortcuts to defaults didn't fix it. I even tried manually editing the shortcuts in mateconftool-2 (gconf), without success.

I have not been able to detect these 3 keys in any way, and dmesg shows nothing of interest. The only way I know they are working is that borders in programs jump, or do something, whenever I press one of these keys.

Are there any other tests I can run, or other suggestions?

  • Have you tried xev and a custom keymap?
    – jasonwryan
    Nov 7, 2012 at 1:04
  • @jasonwryan I have tried xev, this is the output if I press Alt_Gr: pastebin.com/7r7ZBU8F The only detected KeyEvents are the keys I use to close windows
    – geniass
    Nov 7, 2012 at 11:59
  • Is that the Super_L and Shift_L? See the Extra Keys page on the Arch Wiki for some more suggestions...
    – jasonwryan
    Nov 7, 2012 at 20:57
  • @jasonwryan those are just regular shift and "Windows" keys. Every key is detected properly except the 3 I mentioned originally
    – geniass
    Nov 8, 2012 at 6:00
  • You should check for scancodes for each of those keys; either with showkey or dmesg if xev isn't helping...
    – jasonwryan
    Nov 8, 2012 at 7:23

1 Answer 1


I finally found a solution for this problem. This page shows how to use xmodmap to remap a keycode to symbol, and since showkey lists these keys' keycodes, I can just do this:

xmodmap -e 'keycode 100=Alt_R'
xmodmap -e 'keycode 126=Super_R'
xmodmap -e 'keycode 127=Menu'

Problem solved, but I still don't understand what caused it.

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