How to Change VirtualBox Host Key

If you guys want to use any of the shortcut keystrokes in VirtualBox. Then you must use the Host key in combination along with another key actually. Well, by default, the Host key is the Right Ctrl key on the keyboard. Let’s now discuss How to Change VirtualBox Host Key.

There may be some keyboards, such as laptop keyboards, that do not have a Right Ctrl key actually. If you guys are in this situation, or also you would just rather use a different key as your Host key. Then this post describes how you can change which key on the keyboard uses as the Host key as well.

What is VirtualBox | VirtualBox host key

VirtualBox is basically an open-source software to virtualize the x86 computing architecture actually. It basically acts as a hypervisor, in order to create a VM (virtual machine) where the user can run another OS (operating system) as well.

Well, the operating system where VirtualBox runs is called the “host” OS. The operating system that is running in the VM is called the “guest” OS actually. VirtualBox supports Windows, Linux, or macOS because of its host OS.

Whenever you are configuring a virtual machine. The user can then specify how many CPU cores, and how much RAM and also disk space should devote to the VM as well. Whenever the VM is running, you can then also “paused.” System execution is frozen at that moment in time, and the user can resume using it later as well.

History | VirtualBox host key

Well, VirtualBox was originally developed via Innotek GmbH, and released on January 17, 2007, as an open-source software package actually. The company was later purchase via Sun Microsystems actually.

Then on January 27, 2010, Oracle Corporation purchased Sun and then took over the development of VirtualBox as well.

How to Change VirtualBox Host Key | VirtualBox host key

  • If you want to change the Host key, then open VirtualBox. Choose Preferences from the File menu as well.

virtualbox host key

  • Then the Settings dialog box displays. Press the Input option in the left pane as well. Now on the Input screen, just press the box next to Host Key. Now type the new key that you want.

NOTE: Keep in mind that Alphanumeric, cursor movement, and also editing keys cannot use as the Host Key .

virtualbox host key

  • The new key basically displays in the box next to Host Key. Just tap on OK.
  • Well, the Host key is displayed in the lower, right corner of the VirtualBox status bar actually. In case, if you guys forget what key you chose as your Host key.
  • On the Input screen, you guys can also select to automatically capture the keyboard whenever you open a virtual machine. In order to do this, just choose the Auto Capture Keyboard check box. This means that all of the keystrokes directly to the virtual machine unless you guys tap on the Host key. In order to return control of the mouse and keyboard to the host machine actually.

How can you change the HOST key in Oracle Virtualbox Manager? | VirtualBox host key

Well, Oracle Virtualbox by default has the Right CTRL key that basically assigns as the HOST key. HOST key is actually a special key on your keyboard that Virtualbox reservers. In order to return ownership of the keyboard and mouse to your host operating system. This however can change to the one that you guys prefer. Say for instance, if you guys want to change it to Left ALT (same as VMWare).

In order to change the HOST Key,

  • Open the Oracle Virtual\box Manager.
  • Then tap on File – Preferences.
  • Press Input in the left pane and then tap on the “Virtual Machine” tab on the right.
  • Now you have to click on the Shortcut field for “Host Key Combination” and then just tap on the erase icon that highlights.

virtualbox host key

  • Now you can press the Shortcut field again and click the key that you want to assign (say “ALT”) and tap on OK.


You are good to go. If you have any queries and issues related to this “VirtualBox host key” article then let us know in the comments section below.

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