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I tried to install an nvidia driver and there was an error saying I must not be in an X terminal when doing so. So I did a Ctrl+Alt+F1.

The resulting terminal did not allow the nvidia driver to be installed and showed the same error message. How do I revert back to the Unity GUI?

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Related (but not a duplicate): What does “Ctrl + Alt + F12” do? –  Eliah Kagan Jul 26 '14 at 23:29

5 Answers 5

up vote 48 down vote accepted

Ctrl+Alt+F1 to F6 are the virtual consoles provided by the getty/agetty programs. Ctrl+Alt+F7 is the console where your X server is running. The GUI (Gnome/KDE or any other) runs over X. So to get back into your GUI window manager: type:






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When you are in a virtual console just press Alt+RightArrow or Alt+LeftArrow to move to next/previous virtual console respectively. Console with X is usually seventh.

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To revert to the GUI desktop you have to press:


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Or just Alt+F7. Holding down Ctrl is only necessary when switching from the GUI to a text-based virtual console. Switching from one text-based virtual console to another (or to X11) can be accomplished with just Alt+Fn. –  Eliah Kagan Jun 29 '12 at 14:44
On Freebsd with Lxde, I use Alt+F9 to return to Gui from other virtual consoles. –  Hakim Benoudjit Sep 13 '14 at 10:04

Ctrl+Alt+F7 does not work on LM13 Cinnamon. However, Alt+F8 brings it back to GUI.

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For completeness, I'll mention the chvt command The virtual terminal offers a login prompt, and if you have logged in, you can switch to other VTs:

chvt 7

will probably get you back to the GUI, since it usually runs on VT7, as mentioned in the other answers. This is useful for scripting (for example, when taking a screenshot of LightDM).

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