Fixing bash tab completion in XFCE

On my headless Linux NAS I’m running a VNC server to run the occasional X11 program remotely. Because I don’t need a full desktop environment, I used XFCE. However, when using a terminal session I noticed that tab completion in bash was not working.

As it turns out, XFCE maps the tab as a ‘switch window key’ preventing tab completion from working properly. Luckily this post on the ubuntu forums shows how to fix it (paraphrased here in case the original post disappears):

  • Edit the file ~/.config/xfce4/xfconf/xfce-perchannel-xml/xfce4-keyboard-shortcuts.xml
  • Find this line:
<property name="&lt;Super&gt;Tab" type="string" value="switch_window_key"/>
  • Change it to this:
<property name="&lt;Super&gt;Tab" type="empty"/>
  • Restart the VNC server:
vncserver -kill :1

Now things should be working again!