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

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.

Alt Tab Window
Alt-Tab Window

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.

  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 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. 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.

  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, 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.

  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. 

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.

  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 to see if your Alt-Tab issue persists.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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.
Back to top button

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.

Download Now

I'm not interested