This should be a simple question:

  • Host OS: Arch Linux
  • Guest OS: Arch Linux (GNOME)

How can I send Ctrl+Alt+F1 to my Guest Linux OS?

  • If you are at the console, you can also use chvt n (where n is from your Ctrl + Alt + Fn). Using that command in a GUI (e.g. tty7) requires root privileges to get a console fd. – Lekensteyn Feb 8 '13 at 18:45
  • For keyword search purposes: FreeBSD (the accepted answer is good for both types of OS). – Graham Perrin Mar 19 '17 at 20:29

Host + F1, default Host key is Right Ctrl.

  • If host key bind to Alt it doesn't work. Go to File => Preferences and rebind to Right Ctrl!! – gavenkoa Dec 28 '13 at 18:56
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    @gavenkoa new problem... my keyboard doesn't have right ctrl!! :( – Kent Aug 15 '14 at 9:36
  • @Kent, just rebind this in settings to other unused key. – Mateusz Jagiełło Aug 15 '14 at 9:53
  • Just in case anyone needs, if one needs to send Ctrl + Alt to a guest machine (just those two keys together, without a third one), one can simply press Ctrl + Alt (the wanted keys themselves). forums.virtualbox.org/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=69058 – Antonio Vinicius Menezes Medei Jul 11 '16 at 11:53
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    VirtualBox 5.1.26 does not have Host + Fn defined to anything. When I look at the Input->Keyboard Settings window, Virtual Machine tab, I see no Shortcut defined for Host + Fn. And no Name for anything to "Insert Ctrl-Alt-Fn". And Host + Fn does not switch to the nth virtual terminal for any Fn I try. – Juan Aug 25 '17 at 1:40

Long answer: The quickest path to the answer is actually VirtualBox's excellent manual (yes, some people still write those things these days). You can open the manual with the menu Help -> Contents... and type "ctrl+alt+f" in the search field: this will position you right to the chapter "Typing special characters", with the answer you're looking for. Otherwise, you can also read it online: https://www.virtualbox.org/manual/ch01.html#specialcharacters

Short answer: We tend to rely too much on stackexchange, while we just need to RTFM to find a quality answer. (me included :)

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    +1; I never take Stack Exchange as a primary source. I use it to look up a quick answer, and then I look in the docs to read the official documentation of the feature or option or whatever that was described in the answer. (I'm discovering as I deliver professional trainings that I'm in a tiny minority....) – Wildcard Aug 15 '18 at 3:54

If you have vnc installed, you can run VirtualBox in a vnc session. Then use a vncviewer (e.g., using the F8 context menu in tigervnc's vncviewer) to set the Alt key in a pressed state. Then manually enter Ctrl + Fn to switch to the n'th virtual terminal. "Unpress" the Alt key via your vncviewer.

Not the quickest method, but it works when other methods don't work (e.g., Host + Fn did not work for me in VirtualBox 5.1.26).

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