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I'm a recent Mac convert, but still need to use Windows for work related tasks. A man's gotta eat & pay for internet access.

I have VirtualBox setup w/ a Windows 7 VM. The VM has Visual Studio 2008 installed, along w/ various needed utilities. Everything works great or as expected except for the fact that pressing most of the F keys (F1-F12, excluding F5 & F6) are intercepted by the host OS and processed. I know you can press Command+Fn+F to accomplish this; however, a lot of quick access commands are assigned to the F-keys. (Especially F9-F11 for debugging). These are accessed quite often and the 3 finger combo gets old, fast.

Question: Is there anyway w/ VirtualBox to, perhaps only in full screen mode, to have the host OS pass those through or otherwise not process them w/o the need for Command+Fn?

I've tried googling but haven't had much success.

TIA

  • Not that I'm aware of, no. However, if you have a full size keyboard, there's a second Fn key to the right of the Delete key which can be used in place of the Command+Fn combination. – user479 May 5 '11 at 2:10
  • Not really an answer, but I know that VMWare Fusion can catch the F-keystrokes before the host OS in single window / fullscreen mode (not in the unity mode, though). – Jari Keinänen May 5 '11 at 8:35
  • @Randolph, many thanks. I wasn't aware of that. That is so much better. You should convert that to an answer so I can mark it. – DevSolo May 5 '11 at 8:47
  • I have done as requested :-) – user479 May 6 '11 at 2:33
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With 10.6 and a USB keyboard, the Fn keys pass through to the app; OS-X only intercepts the media functions.

In your OS-X's Keyboard SysPrefs pane, is:

Use F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys

selected?

With this selection, my (unshifted) F-keys pass straight through to my VBox VM. With it unselected, I need to use the Fn key to generate type them (even within OS-X).

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also note that in Keyboard ==> Keyboard shortcuts ==> "Mission Control" settings disable F11 and F12 for show desktop and show gadgets, excuse me, show dashboard.

  • This is a must in addition to the accepted answer – Hasaan Ali Jun 20 '18 at 12:42
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Not that I'm aware of, no. However, if you have a full size keyboard, there's a second Fn key to the right of the Delete key which can be used in place of the Command+Fn combination.

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    Many thanks. It's good to know I have this option at least when connected to ext monitor/keyboard. – DevSolo May 6 '11 at 9:30

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