How to Fix Alt + Tab Shortcut Not Working in Windows?

If your alt-tab keys suddenly stop working after playing games or using some apps, it might be due to a temporary bug, or there might be a third-party application installed that manages the keyboard keys causing this issue.

Alt Tab Window
Alt-Tab Window

Besides misconfigured registry value, corrupted keyboard driver and damaged alt + tab keys can also cause this issue. Before moving down to the methods, we recommend you ensure that your alt + tab keys are not damaged.

To test these keys, go to the key test website and try pressing the alt and tab keys individually. If they are working, you can follow the methods down below. However, if they aren’t working, try plugging in another keyboard and check if it let’s you use alt+tab shortcut.

1. Restart Windows Explorer

The first and simple solution to this issue is to restart Windows Explorer because Windows explorer may have encountered some error or bug that disabled the alt + tab functionality. Hence, restart your Windows explorer to fix this issue.

  1. To restart Windows Explorer, right-click the taskbar, and select Task Manager.
    Opening Task Manager from the taskbar context menu
    Opening Task Manager from the taskbar context menu
  2. Once the task manager is opened, find and select Windows Explorer.
  3.  Click Restart from the bottom right.
    Restart Windows Explorer
    Restart Windows Explorer
  4. Once done, try pressing the Alt+tab keys to check if the alt tab not working 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.

  1. Click Start Menu and type Registry Editor to open.
    Opening Registry Editor from Windows search
    Opening Registry Editor from Windows search
  2. 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.
  3. Once you have navigated to the path, find and double-click the ForegroundLockTimeout entry on the right pane.
    Opening Registry entry to edit
    Opening Registry entry to edit
  4. Select Decimal as a Base and change the Value data to 0.
    Editing a ForegroundLockTimeout registry value
    Editing a ForegroundLockTimeout registry value
  5. Once done, click OK, close the registry editor, restart your computer and check if your issue is resolved.

3. 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.

  1. Right-click the Start Menu or Windows icon from the bottom left.
  2. Select Device Manager from the options.
    Launching Device Manager from the Start button context menu
    Launching Device Manager from the Start button context menu
  3. Once you open the device manager, expand the keyboard menu by clicking the right arrow symbol.
  4. After that, right-click the Keyboard driver you are using. Usually, it is an HID keyboard Device that is used for keyboards.
  5. Select Uninstall device.
    Uninstalling Keyboard driver
    Uninstalling Keyboard driver
  6. This will bring a short confirmation Window; click Uninstall to confirm the action.
    Confirming the uninstallation of the keyboard driver
    Confirming the uninstallation of the keyboard driver
  7. Once done, restart your computer to install the driver.
  8. Then, if your issue is resolved or not.

4. 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.

  1. Click Start Menu and type Settings to open.
    Launching Settings from Windows search
    Launching Settings from Windows search
  2. Then, go to Update & Security.
    Navigating to Windows Update Security Settings from home
    Navigating to Windows Update Security Settings from home
  3. If you are using Windows 11, go to Troubleshoot from the system.
  4. After that, click Additional Troubleshooters.
    Heading to additional troubleshooters
    Heading to additional troubleshooters
  5. Then, select the keyboard troubleshooter and click Run the troubleshooter.
    Running keyboard troubleshooter
    Running keyboard troubleshooter
  6. If any problem gets detected by the troubleshooter, it will show you and allow you to fix it by giving an option.
  7. Once done, check if your problem persists. 

5. 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, and for that, you cannot use them. If that’s the case, uninstalling the third-party application might fix this issue.

  1. Open the Windows Settings by pressing Win + I keys simultaneously.
  2. Go to Apps and find a keyboard customization application.
    Navigating to the system apps
    Navigating to the system apps
  3. Then, select it and click Uninstall.
  4. Again click Uninstall and wait for the application to uninstall completely.
    Uninstalling third-party keyboard customization application
    Uninstalling third-party keyboard customization application
  5. If you see any popup that indicates to delete all the configurations you applied to the keyboard, then kindly click Yes.
  6. Once done, restart your computer and check if your alt tab not working issue persists.
Hamza Mohammad Anwar
Hamza Khan is an intermediate javaScript web developer specializing in reactjs, MongoDb, express nodeJs, and more. He creates faster and better applications using mern technologies.
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Expert Tip

How to Fix Alt + Tab Shortcut Not Working in Windows?

If the issue is with your Computer or a Laptop you should try using Restoro which can scan the repositories and replace corrupt and missing files. This works in most cases, where the issue is originated due to a system corruption. You can download Restoro by clicking the Download button below.

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