Google retires Ctrl-Shift-Q in Chrome to exit web browser

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 22, 2018
Google Chrome

Google Chrome users who use the decade-old keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Shift-Q to exit the web browser are greeted with an onscreen notification in recent versions of Chrome that reveals to them that Google has disabled the shortcut but provides an alternative.

Chrome users have multiple options when it comes to closing the browser. Most commonly used is probably the window close action in the browser's main toolbar but other options exist:

  • Selecting Menu > Exit.
  • Killing the Chrome process in the operating system's Task Manager.
  • Right-clicking on the Chrome icon in the taskbar and selecting Exit.
  • Shutting down or restarting the PC without closing the browser.

Up until now, Chrome users could use Ctrl-Shift-Q to exit the browser instance on a desktop computer system as well. Google disabled the option but suggests an alternative that is solely keyboard-based instead.

chrome ctrl-shift-q- etire

Instead of using Ctrl-Shift-Q to exit Chrome, Google suggests that users use Alt-F and then X to exit. Alt-F is the shortcut for the main menu of the browser. When you activate the shortcut the menu opens. The key X is associated with the Exit option of the menu so that Alt-F then X opens the Menu and activates the Exit option to close the browser window.

A bug listing on the Chromium website highlights why Google decided to make the change:

Number of times I've wanted to close all my browser windows when pressing Ctrl+Shift+Q: 0
Number of times I've meant to press Ctrl+Shift+Tab but accidentally hit Q instead: too many to count

IMO, this keyboard shortcut is too easy to trigger given its destructiveness. (If multiple windows are closed, only one window is restored when Chrome is reopened. Not to mention the pain of reopening dozens of tabs in a low bandwidth setting.)

The bug was added in 2013 but Google acted on it only recently. Important keyboard shortcuts such as Ctrl-Shift-Tab are right next to Ctrl-Shift-Q. Accidentally hitting Ctrl-Shift-Q instead of Crl-Shift-Tab will exit Chrome instead of switching the the previous tab in the browser window.

At least some Chrome users who used to use Ctrl-Shift-Q to exit Chrome are not pleased about the change; some voiced their opinion as a comment on the bug listing stating that they never had a problem with hitting the wrong key in Chrome and that the new shortcut conflicts with the current version of the Chrome extension Vimium.

It is interesting to note that Google did not disable Ctrl-Shift-W, a keyboard shortcut that closes all open tabs and exits Chrome without prompt as well.

Closing Words

Only some browsers support Ctrl-Shift-Q at the time of writing. Mozilla Firefox does and so do browsers based on Firefox code. Other browsers, Microsoft Edge, Vivaldi or Opera, do not support the keyboard shortcut.

Now You: Are you affected by the change? (via Techdows)

Google retires Ctrl-Shift-Q in Chrome to exit web browser
Article Name
Google retires Ctrl-Shift-Q in Chrome to exit web browser
Google Chrome users who use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Shift-Q to exit the web browser won't be able to use it anymore as Google decided to disable it.
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  1. DaVince said on May 6, 2020 at 9:17 pm

    I still miss this shortcut. Google never even provided a way to bring it back.

    Maybe they should bind Ctrl+Shift+W to do this since that is a redundant Alt-F4 anyway.

  2. Anonymous said on December 9, 2019 at 11:51 pm

    obnoxious middle schoolers these days LOVE the shortcut. I HATE IT!!!

  3. Axe said on January 2, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    Opera has a Ctrl Shift X shortcut

  4. Axe said on January 2, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    Opera has a Ctrl Shift X shortcut

  5. Matty said on December 22, 2018 at 3:25 am

    Thank god, it just happened to me … again!

    CTRL + SHIFT + Q closes all chrome profiles, when you reopen the app only one chrome profile is opened, you have to reopen each manually and CTRL+SHIFT+T to restore each closed window per profile.

    All because I use CTRL+TAB, CTRL+SHIFT+TAB for tab switching several times a minute. It doesn’t happen often that my finger is just a little too far to the right, but when it does it’s devastating.

    I was just googling for a way to disable this destructive behaviour when I came across this happy news! After years!

    Chrome should really allow these keys to be configured and maybe just change the defaults if needed. The best of all worlds.

    1. Klaws said on June 6, 2019 at 2:11 pm

      Oh, well, maybe Google should have removed Ctrl+Shift+Tab then? ;-) That would have solved that issue for the users who intentionally use Ctrl+Shift+Q.

      Yes, the only real solution would be a way to keep both user groups happy. Like with a configuration settings. Or a confirmation dialog when the user presses Ctrl+Shift+Q.

  6. Marcus said on December 13, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    For those who at least want a setting to get the old behavior back, you can support this bug report:

  7. Smørebrød said on December 3, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    > Other browsers, … Vivaldi or …, do not support the keyboard shortcut.

    Absolutely, utterly wrong. In Vivaldi, every keyboard shortcut can be customized. Even if the shortcut might not be a default setting anymore (it has been at least for some 1.x versions) it is not as restrictive/jailed as Chrome and prevents the user from changing those settings.

  8. Ida said on November 14, 2018 at 2:39 am

    Oh, this is something I really have wished for a long time. I’ve lost dozens of texts, more unrecoverable tabs and a huge amount of time/happiness due to this too simple way of closing the browser. I’m not more clumsy than the average but do keyboard browsing almost all time I’m on the web. Ctrl+(Shift)+tab, Ctrl+w, arrow keys, F5 etc. is very frequently used combinations. Still, ctrl+q and ctrl+shift+w is real problems and I hope they could also be disabled. It is good that the functionality gets a replacement that isn’t as easy to misclick, but I better see a configuration option for those who really uses them (or wants other keymappings).

  9. Soen said on November 9, 2018 at 11:45 pm

    +1 Complete agree. I bet those are the same people who press Alt+F4 at the desktop and accidentally shut down their PC.

  10. Jef said on November 8, 2018 at 9:20 am

    Please give us back CTRL+SHIFT+Q !!
    I really need a shortcut to quickly close my browser that isn’t some 2 step procedure.

    ALT+F > X does not always work and is imo not a real shortcut. > Not a solution!
    ALT+F4 only closes the current window > Not an option!
    Pressing X only closes the current window > Not an option!

    Just because some people are too clumsy to press the correct shortcut, Google listens to them and decides to remove it? WTF Google?! There are way more important things to implement than to resolve this not-bug.

  11. Michael said on October 30, 2018 at 8:21 am

    I also think this is a dumb reason. I use Chrome on Windows and Chromium on Linux and I’ve never mixed up CTRL+SHIFT+TAB with CTRL+SHIFT+Q. In addition, if you do accidentally close out a window and all its tabs, you just open Chrome again then hit CTRL+SHIFT+T to reopen the previous window and all of its associated tabs. A minor inconvenience sure but less of one than suddenly having to use two consecutive keystrokes to close a browser when it could previously be done in one.

  12. Moses said on October 28, 2018 at 4:51 am

    I don’t like this! Ctrl-Shift-Q is so engrained in my mind, and it feels so natural because it is next to W. alt-f x is weird and hard to do with one hand. not cool.

  13. Mary Muse said on October 27, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    I used that shortcut ALL THE TIME! Shortcuts are meant to be quick, not two-step nonsense like Alt-f, then x. At least put an option in settings so users can make custom shortcuts. I’m a terrible typer, but my fingers know the shortcuts, and I never mistype them. So annoying.

    1. sehe said on October 28, 2018 at 2:20 am

      This, 100%

  14. cubei said on October 26, 2018 at 7:05 am

    “If multiple windows are closed, only one window is restored when Chrome is reopened”

    That is wrong. AFAIK there are 3 options for Chrome on a start:
    – Show empty page
    – Show specific pages
    – Restore last session (this option is related to this topic)

    So when I have 2 or more Windows and hit CTRL+Shift+Q, then all Windows are closed at the same time and with the next start of Chrome all is restored.
    If I would close one Window after another, just by pressing X in the upper corner of the Window, then in the moment Chrome exists, only one Window was left and only this is restored.
    So it’s exactly the other way around.
    And now I don’t know what to do before shutting down my computer to save all my open windows.
    Because on my English Windows at work it’s now Alt+F, X. But at home on my German Notebook it’s Alt+F, B. This is now way more confusing.

    1. Soen said on November 9, 2018 at 11:43 pm

      Absolutely, not sure where he got that from. I use Ctrl+Shift+Q several times a day to close chrome and preserve state for the next session, typically after a reboot. I’m kinda pissed that Google changed it just because of some people that have butter fingers. Granted, there should be at least an (optional) confirmation before enacting it, but still, changing it is a very bad idea from a UX standpoint.

  15. Some Budy said on October 25, 2018 at 9:28 am

    why not “Ctrl+Q” ?

  16. Martin VonNostram said on October 24, 2018 at 10:49 pm

    Why not make it an *OPTION* that can be turned on/off in flags?????

  17. Jan said on October 24, 2018 at 9:35 am

    The weirdest behaviour of Chrome is that it closes the browser if you close the last tab. Do not like that behaviour. E.g. in Opera it is not doing that.

  18. JackAsterson said on October 24, 2018 at 6:37 am

    I find it very sad that the simple ability to change keyboard shortcuts is now seen as a geeky power-user feature that would be too complicated and overwhelming and scary for the average user.

    It seems that the more people come use to use and depend on technology, the less they seem to know about it. Pretty soon the mere existence of a “Settings” page with one or more things that can be changed will be too much for people to handle.

  19. JackAsterson said on October 24, 2018 at 6:36 am

    I have a solution to this problem: make it so that people can change the keyboard shortcuts to whatever they want.

    Few, that was hard. I almost had to use a couple of brain cells to come up with that one. You’re welcome for the idea, google.

  20. Vernon Frazee said on October 23, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    Create a “Taskkill Chrome” shortcut containing the command:

    taskkill /f /im chrome.exe

    and then assign [Ctrl][Shift][Q] as the shortcut key.

    Now press [Ctrl][Shift][Q] and all open Chrome windows will be slammed shut.

    1. Jef said on November 8, 2018 at 9:22 am

      But you receive a message next time you open Chrome that is was incorrectly shut down.
      It’s better than nothing, but not the best solution.

  21. gwir said on October 23, 2018 at 9:44 am

    Change to an azerty keyboard and you don’t hit Q instead of TAB :-)

  22. ULBoom said on October 23, 2018 at 2:20 am

    Isn’t it easier to just click the X button?

    1. cubei said on October 26, 2018 at 6:57 am

      X or B or whatever letter stands for exit in your language.

      1. Ananamiss said on November 1, 2018 at 12:56 am

        The X isnt a letter, its a symbol. Its the same in every language of windows

      2. cubei said on November 1, 2018 at 2:22 pm

        Wait… you’re talking about the X button in the upper corner of a window?
        I don’t think using the mouse is faster then a keyboard shortcut in any way. But more importantly this closes the window, instead of closing Chrome… so not really comparable.

  23. Graham said on October 23, 2018 at 1:54 am

    Is it really too difficult nowadays to tap the X button?

    1. sehe said on October 28, 2018 at 2:18 am

      moving the mouse means you’re wasting time right out of the gate, and need to coordinate with your eyes. Valuable time and attention better spent thinking about next steps

    2. Linkz said on October 27, 2018 at 3:06 pm

      Ctrl+Shift+Q closes Chrome entirely, this stops it from using memory.

  24. Emanon said on October 23, 2018 at 1:08 am

    Vivaldi supports any shortcut I want it too, since we can customize all the shortcuts (which should be an option on Chrome to stop the whining).

    Give them the option and they lose the reason to whine, everyone leaves happy (don’t forget to leave the option to remove shortcuts as well).

    What am I saying, Google will never do that, is why I use Vivaldi.

    1. mm said on October 23, 2018 at 5:00 pm

      Vivaldi is a cluttered (no offense on this, it is what it is) browser with many options. That’s why it’s the slowest browser and it will stay to 1% on the market. It’s a browser for power users and geeks. There is no competition between Chrome and Vivaldi. Different target groups.

  25. pHROZEN gHOST said on October 22, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    Seriously? MEH!!!!!!!

    There are far too many keyboard shortcuts for all the software which I run.

    That sequence actually causes EarTrumpet to open up (my global volume control app).

  26. Anonymous said on October 22, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    Control Q? Google is just getting everyone used to leaving Chrome open all the time. Soon all your apps will run in the cloud anyway – it won’t be long before Chrome will be integrated into the OS to allow them to function. Forced tracking….

  27. Bart from Holland said on October 22, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    Alt+F4 will do the same i guess

    1. John Fenderson said on October 22, 2018 at 5:49 pm

      This was my question. I don’t use Chrome and so it’s probably not surprising that I’ve never heard of the Ctrl-Shift-Q thing — but I routinely use Alt-F4 to close Windows applications and would expect this to work for Chrome as well — does it not? And if it does, then what’s the point of Ctrl-Shift-Q?

      1. asd said on October 22, 2018 at 9:06 pm

        Alt-F4 only closes the current window. If you have pop-unders or more than one window, they will stay open. Ctrl+Shift+Q was sort of like a mild kill switch for the whole browser.

      2. John Fenderson said on October 22, 2018 at 9:46 pm


        Ah, thanks for the explanation! I haven’t had to deal with popunders/overs for years, so I didn’t think of that…

  28. crambie said on October 22, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever mixed up tab and q for anything. Plenty of typos but never that because of tab being at the edge. Is that really a common thing to do?

    1. asd said on October 22, 2018 at 9:04 pm

      The dumbest reason ever to take out this useful shortcut!
      I am clumsy when typing, yet I have never mistaken Ctrl+Shift+Q for Ctrl+Shift+Tab.
      Good thing it still works in Firefox.

      1. An nym said on October 23, 2018 at 11:45 am

        quite an redundant shortcut as there is the standard ALT+F4.
        See No reason why having 2 things do the same thing.

      2. Anonymous said on October 24, 2018 at 9:43 am

        But they don’t do the same thing: Alt+F4 closes the active window, while Ctrl+Shift+Q exited Chrome. This distinction is important in the case where one is using more than a single Chrome window.

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