Alt+Tab and other WM shortcuts not working while pointer is grabbed

Wolfgang Draxinger wdraxinger.maillist at
Wed May 19 03:30:05 PDT 2010

Am Tue, 18 May 2010 22:45:18 -0700
schrieb Dylan McCall <dylanmccall at>:

> Windows uses Ctrl Alt Delete as a magical key combination that is
> handled at a lower level than everything else. (Note those “press
> ctrl+alt+delete to log in” prompts in corporate setups). Seems a smart
> approach to me! Couldn't there be a specific key combination handled
> at a low level, like that, which releases a grabbed keyboard /
> pointer?
> Not nearly as user-friendly and awesome as just being able to handle
> any WM shortcuts when the pointer is grabbed, but perhaps a reasonable
> stop-gap? (Besides, what do we do with the grabbed pointer in the
> former case? At some point the user will need to release it and will
> have trouble, WM shortcuts or not, at least as far as I am aware).

Google for "AllowClosedownGrabs" and "AllowDeactivateGrabs". And they
have been removed for good reason: If you could kill an application
holding a grab merely by hitting a special hotkey, this will give you a
easy to use, builtin Xscreensaver lock circumvention mechanism.

Grabbing the input devices may be used as an vector of attack on a
system, but it also serves as an important security mechanism.


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