I'm a Windows user with a Windows-oriented keyboard, and I switched the Command and Ctrl keys in OSX, because I want to use the same keyboard shortcuts whether in Windows or OSX. This came back to haunt me though when I installed a Windows VM in Parallels, and it broke the Ctrl+Alt+Del key combo to login to Windows in the VM (since the Ctrl key is mapped to Command). I would like to create a shortcut mapping Command+Option+Del to the Parallels menu item Devices -> Keyboard -> Ctrl+Alt+Delete, but the shortcuts section of System Preferences -> Keyboard does not allow me to use the Del key.

I tried following the instructions in this answer, adding this:


to each of

~/Library/Preferences/com.parallels.Parallels Desktop.plist

but the key combo is not activating the menu item to send Ctrl+Alt+Del when adding the XML to any of those.

What am I doing wrong here? Do I need something special to activate the options in the "keyboard" submenu of "Device"? Do I have the wrong code for the Del key? Am I putting the XML in the wrong plist file(s)?


The problem is worse than I thought, because the keys stay switched in Windows. Is there a way to set the modifier key behavior on a per-application basis? It would be great if I could swap the Command and Ctrl keys generally, and swap them back in Parallels.


I did not find an answer to the base question, but I did locate a sufficiently good workaround. Karabiner offers finer-grained control of keys than OSX's keyboard settings, including the ability to add exceptions to key switching. I used these settings:

Karabiner -> Change Key
    Change Command_L Key -> Command_L to Control_L (except Virtual Machine, RDC)
    Change Control_L Key -> Control_L to Command_L (except Virtual Machine, RDC)

Now all of the Ctrl keyboard shortcuts I am accustomed to work in both OSX and my VMs.


I have always been able to perform the Ctrl+Alt+Del key combo functionality in Parallels using Command+Ctrl+Option+Del. As far as I know this is default functionality (based on the fact that I did not play around with the key mappings in Parallels, and this key combo has always worked for me).

However, I don't know if remapping the keys or playing around with Parallels' settings has broken that functionality for you...

Currently, I am using Mac OSX Mavericks with Parallels Desktop 8 (haven't bothered upgrading to 9 yet, though I doubt they would have changed this functionality).


To address your edit: The Command key seems to have a double functionality of both being the Ctrl and ⊞ Win keys in Parallels (or at least on my Mac it does... This may be an option I turned on in Parallels' options). However, it has a preference for being the ⊞ Win key.

Therefore, in Parallels using Command+C and Ctrl+C will both copy, and Command+V and Ctrl+V will both paste.

Alternatively, using Command+D will show the desktop in Parallels, the way that pressing ⊞ Win+D does on a regular Windows PC.

However, keep in mind that, as mentioned above, Command has a preference for being the ⊞ Win key.

Here is an example of where that may come into play:
On a regular Windows PC, Ctrl+F can be used to search in a program, while ⊞ Win+F is the shortcut key to find in files. Therefore, in Parallels, Ctrl+F can be used to search in a program, and Command+F is the shortcut key to find in files.

  • Using OSX's modifier key remapping screws up a bunch of that. – asgallant Aug 8 '14 at 18:11

Actually with the new Karabiner Elements version (Sierra upwards) it would be easiest to temporarily "Quit K E" via its menu bar icon or to create a second "Profile" (K-E tab) which contains only rules/modifications you need in Parallels. Can be toggled in menu bar.

No tweaking, twitching or honky-tonky … ;-)

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .