I'm searching and searching and having a hell of a time finding out how to set a workstation install with the GUI disabled, to blank the screen automatically after being idle for a bit.

Anything to do with gsettings and xset won't work - there is no GUI.

I did find this useful command in another post -

setterm --blank 1

but that's a CLI command, you have to log in and run it, and apparently putting it in startup scripts or whatever doesn't work.

I want the system to boot, and if no one touches the keyboard, I want the screen to turn off after a bit.

It can't be as hard as searching is making it seem!

As is, it stays on forever. I've got the system set to stay awake when the lid is closed (it's a laptop), and the screen stays on, forever ... I didn't realize this and wouldn't be surprised if I actually burned-in the screen last night leaving top up for 12+ hours :-(

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


Alright, found an answer while researching the fairly unrelated "How do I change the console resolution" question ...


needs to be added to the


line in /etc/defaults/grub, then sudo update-grub, then reboot.

  • Ok, this actually just blanks the screen, and the screen is still on and drawing power. All the examples and commands I am finding to actually turn off the screen assume you have an X server running, or use the apparently no longer functioning vbetool ... so I'd love a better answer to this please! – Hyacin Nov 14 '18 at 17:29

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