The Alt + Tab key combination not working problem can be caused by many factors, but mainly it occurs due to a third-party application that configures the registry keys that disable the alt + tab functionality. To fix this issue, you will have to edit the registry entries, restart Windows explorer, uninstall the third-party keyboard applications, run the keyboard troubleshooter and disable the Game Mode from your keyboard.
Another possible reason for your alt + tab combination to stop working can be the damaged keys. Even though it is hard to believe that both the alt and tab keys stopped working together, it is worth it to ensure that the keys are not damaged. Visit this keyboard test website to make sure they are working.
This issue can also occur if there is a bug or something preventing the alt + tab from working. You can restart your Windows explorer to eliminate bugs. Surprisingly, most of the users have managed to get rid of this issue by restarting Windows explorer.
1. Restart Windows Explorer
The first and simple solution to this issue is to restart Windows Explorer because Windows explorer may have encountered an error or bug that disabled the Alt + Tab functionality. Restart your Windows explorer to try fixing this issue.
- To restart Windows Explorer, right-click the taskbar, and select Task Manager.
- Once the task manager is opened, find and select Windows Explorer.
- Click Restart from the bottom right.
- Once done, try pressing the Alt+Tab keys to check if the issue is fixed.
2. Use Registry Editor
Some third-party applications overwrite and change the registry keys when they get installed. The registry editor has an entry called ForegroundLockTimeout, which may be set to 2000 as a default value and could disable the Alt-Tab functionality.
The Alt-Tab keys might be fixed by changing the ForegroundLockTimeout value to 0.
- Click Start Menu and type Registry Editor to open.
- Once it is opened, navigate to the path Computer > HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Control Panel > Desktop.
Note: You can expand the folders to navigate by clicking the right arrow before the folder name.
- Once you have navigated to the path, find and double-click the ForegroundLockTimeout entry on the right pane.
- Select Decimal as a Base and change the Value data to 0.
- Once done, click OK, close the registry editor, restart your computer and check if your issue is resolved.
3. Disable the Game Mode feature
If you use a gaming keyboard that enables the Game Mode to avoid the keys that could be accidentally pressed while gaming, such as alt and tab, alt and f4, and Windows keys. To solve this problem, the manufacturer introduces the Game Mode feature, which disables the combination of alt + tab, alt +f4, and Windows key.
There are two ways to disable the Game Mode if it is enabled. First of all, check whether Game Mode is enabled or not. To check this, press the Windows key. It should not work. If it is working, then the Game Mode is already disabled. If it’s not working, that means the Game Mode is enabled.
To disable the Game Mode, you can either use a key combination or a keyboard’s vendor software. Usually, the most common key combination to disable the Game Mode is Fn + F10. However, if these are not the keys in your case to disable the Game Mode, you can go to the manufacturer’s website to find out the key combination or use a keyboard vendor software to disable the Game Mode.
4. Reinstall the keyboard driver
Drivers are used for operating the hardware connected to the computer. The device will perform unexpectedly if the drivers are corrupted or missing from the computer. Therefore, we recommend you ensure that the keyboard driver is working properly. The only way you can do this is by reinstalling the driver.
- Right-click the Start Menu or Windows icon from the bottom left.
- Select Device Manager from the options.
- Once you open the device manager, expand the keyboard menu by clicking the right arrow symbol.
- After that, right-click the Keyboard driver you are using. Usually, it is an HID keyboard Device that is used for keyboards.
- Select Uninstall device.
- This will bring a short confirmation Window; click Uninstall to confirm the action.
- Once done, restart your computer to install the driver.
- Then, check to see if your issue is resolved or not.
5. Run Keyboard troubleshooter
Windows provides a troubleshooter for every component connected to the computer or that needs a driver to perform, such as a keyboard, mouse, and network adapter. In most cases, the troubleshooter fixes all the problems related to the software causing the issue.
- Click Start Menu and type Settings to open.
- Then, go to Update & Security.
- If you are using Windows 11, go to Troubleshoot from the system.
- After that, click Additional Troubleshooters.
- Then, select the keyboard troubleshooter and click Run the troubleshooter.
- If any problem gets detected by the troubleshooter, it will show you and allow you to fix it by giving an option.
- Once done, check if your problem persists.
6. Uninstall third-party keyboard apps
If you have installed any third-party application to customize the keyboard keys, it might be possible that the application disabled the Alt-Tab functionality, meaning you cannot use them. If that’s the case, uninstalling the third-party application might fix this issue.
- Open the Windows Settings by pressing Win + I keys simultaneously.
- Go to Apps and find a keyboard customization application.
- Then, select it and click Uninstall.
- Again click Uninstall and wait for the application to uninstall completely.
- If you see any popup that indicates to delete all the configurations you applied to the keyboard, then kindly click Yes.
- Once done, restart your computer and check to see if your Alt-Tab issue persists.