How to use [CTRL] [ALT] [DEL] key combination in standard Remote Desktop

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Published on January 11th 2021 - Listed in Windows


Depending on your organization, you might work remotely on a Windows system, using Remote Desktop. But what if you need to change your password? The Windows settings might require you to send [Ctrl]+[Alt]+[Delete] instead of clicking a button:

As one can clearly see, the "Change" button is greyed out, impossible to be used. Instead Windows requires the key combination [Ctrl]+[Alt]+[Del] to change the password. Not that straightforward when you're connected using Remote Desktop! Because if you’re running Linux and use Remote Desktop, the [CTRL]+[Alt]+[Delete] combo results in a command to the Linux OS. In the case of Linux Mint, a window pops up and asks whether to switch the current user or lout out of the (Linux) machine:

This happens because Ctrl+Alt+Del toggles the OS of the physical machine, not the OS in Remote Desktop. Some Remote Desktop tools offer a “CTRL-ALT-DELETE” toggle but even with the default Remote Desktop from Windows, there’s a solution. By using the on-screen keyboard (which has been a part of all Windows versions!) the [CTRL]+[Alt]+[Delete] keys can be toggled in the virtual on-screen keyboard.

Virtual on-screen keyboard in Windows

It doesn't work! Instead "click your user tile" shows up?!

Under certain Windows versions the method above (using [Ctrl]+[Alt]+[Delete] in the on-screen keyboard) don’t work. Instead a window pops up:

Ctrl+Alt+Del results in message "To use the commands available when you press Ctrl+Alt+Del, click your user tile and choose an option"

To use the commands available when you press Ctrl+Alt+Del, click your user tile and choose an option.

A workaround for this is to press and hold [CTRL]+[Alt] keys on the physical keyboard in front of you and then finally press the [Del] key on the on-screen keyboard.


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