sorry, I don’t know if this is a problem at the VIM level, terminal emulator or with KDE.

I'm running vim-gtk3 in Debian Netrunner 20.01 which is KDE, and normally using Konsole, but also Terminator in debugging this, on a Thinkpad T410. I posted over at Netrunner forums, but no interest there.

I’ve been doing the following frequently for the last few months:

In Konsole, I go into VIM (usually through VIFM, but that doesn't seem to matter) and start editing a document. Then I do :new to get another panel, and then :Explore and start editing a second document, switching back and forth between the documents by using c-w (Ctrl-w) twice. Last night, something happened, and now when I press c-w, the first press makes the mouse pointer visible, and the second press makes the vim cursor blink once, but it does not switch panes.

The first time this happened, I did :new, then :Explore, then navigated up, and did /gyatso (a file name) and then I mistyped maybe hitting Ctrl I think, because vim came up with a small panel near the bottom with an error maybe about jump buffer being empty - something being empty anyway. I don’t know whether this typo caused all this, but since this time, I can no longer switch between panels.

Ctrl-W does exist as a KDE shortcut to close applications, but this has not changed. It’s always like that and doesn't normally interfere.

Things I’ve tried:

  • Installed Terminator and tried in that, with the same problem, so it’s not just in Konsole
  • Renamed the ~/.vim/vimrc
  • Purged and reinstalled vim and everything starting with vim-
  • Rebooted Netrunner
  • Booted into BunsenLabs (another Debian) and in Terminator, using the same ~/.vim/vimrc from Netrunner KDE, it works fine in BunsenLabs.
  • showkey gives 29 for Ctrl and 17 for u, which I suppose is correct.

I don’t recall that I did any upgrades in Synaptic, but maybe I did.

Any help or suggestions how to further troubleshoot this, or just a workaround are greatly appreciated.

EDIT 11/2/2020

I created a new user on Netrunner, and vim is working fine there. But can anyone suggest how to know whether the problem is a vim config issue, or something from the OS intercepting the Ctrl-w before vim gets it?

Edit 11/3/2020

Someone told me how to clear up some of the KDE/Konsole stuff. I renamed ~/.config/konsolerc and also ~/.config/kglobalshortcutsrc and logged out and back in, but this did not help. It seems like it must be something in vim.

  • Welcome to Vi and Vim! You can try vim --clean to skip loading your vimrc or plug-ins, this could indicate whether it's something related to your config...
    – filbranden
    Nov 3, 2020 at 22:05
  • 1
    Thank you. vim --clean did not help, but I appreciate knowing about it. Will try over on Unix & Linux as well.
    – kr37
    Nov 4, 2020 at 7:06
  • 1
    You can use the winc command (see :h winc), which allows you to change panes.
    – Zorzi
    Nov 5, 2020 at 13:36
  • 1
    @Zorzi Thank you. I am/was very happy to have your work around. But then this happened (I hate this sort of solution, but it is fully solved.) In vim, I did :map <C-E> :winc<Space> to shorten the number of keystrokes. That worked fine, but now <C-W> has started working again, so it is fully functional normal vim in both Konsole and Terminator. I restored all the old config files, and it still works fine. So, I still have no idea what the actual problem was. Perhaps there’s some vim config I don’t know about. ~/.vim/vimrc is unchanged in six months. Make your comment an answer, I'll accept.
    – kr37
    Nov 6, 2020 at 17:18
  • 1
    A mapping such as noremap <C-E> <C-W> would have worked too.
    – filbranden
    Nov 6, 2020 at 20:17

1 Answer 1


You can use the winc command as follows:

:winc <KEY>

The <KEY> should be replaced by the key you'd be hitting after the usual <C-w>.

From the doc:

:[count]winc[md] {arg}
        Like executing CTRL-W [count] {arg}.  Example:
            :wincmd j

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