How to disable blank screensaver on Ubuntu Server?

There's no desktop or X, only console (command-line interface).

up vote 49 down vote accepted

The easiest way is to add the parameter consoleblank=0 to your kernel command-line at boot-time.

  • Open /etc/default/grub in your favorite editor; you will need to use sudo (for vi, nano, etc.) or gksudo (for gedit, etc.).

  • Then add consoleblank=0 to the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=, parameter.

  • e.g. yours may say:

    GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash consoleblank=0"

Then run sudo update-grub, and reboot.

  • Is there a way to do that from Virtualbox? As in passing an option to the kernel command line? – CMCDragonkai Jun 5 '14 at 4:56
  • @CMCDragonkai This answer works for virtualized Ubuntu as well since it boots using grub by default too. – Melebius Jan 21 '15 at 9:42
  • As in, is there a way to pass it externally from Virtual Box, not from within Ubuntu? – CMCDragonkai Jan 22 '15 at 0:28
  • @CMCDragonkai No, there is no Virtual Box option that will pass on this setting. You have to edit the file as specified above. – Rick Chatham Feb 11 '15 at 22:09
  • 1
    Look: I don't want to update the grub files, just to disable the (Blank) ScreenSaver. I'm resorting, to setterm -blank 0, maybe in a file ~/.bashrc. (See also on superuser.com an answer to Change Linux console screen blanking behavior) – metadings Sep 26 '16 at 13:21

Type setterm -blank 0 on any shell to disable blanking out of tty consoles.

0 disables blanking, any value greater than 0 is the time in minutes. Default is 10.

To permanently enable this you can add this line to your ~/.bashrc config.

A more detailled explaination can be found in this answer at superuser.

  • This only worked after I ran TERM=linux (since I override it in my .bashrc). – Wesley Baugh Jun 14 '16 at 4:46
  • Does not unblank the master terminal. – mckenzm Apr 22 '17 at 5:51

This will "overwrite" whatever is in your current config for "GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=", mine was default, so I just use the following One Liner.

sudo sed -i 's/\(^GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=\).*/\GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="consoleblank=0"/' /etc/default/grub && sudo update-grub2
  • I had to escape the '"' character: sed --in-place 's/(^GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=).*/\GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=\"quiet consoleblank=0\"/' /etc/default/grub – W1M0R Dec 13 '17 at 7:20

Same situation, the other suggestions seemed a roundabout solution. Came across the GNU tool setvesablank on/off using apropos. It seems the best fit, trying it out to see if it fits the need.

  • In Gnome Terminal on the console it said Couldn't find a file descriptor referring to the console - echo $TERM returned `xterm-256color - But in "Brightness and Lock" I found a setting for when it blanks the screen and set it to "Never" - but this isn't really on point with the OP since I am in the GUI. – SDsolar Jan 10 at 19:41

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