I was trying to execute Node Exec on my computer, it was not working then I tried this combination ctrl+alt+f8, it opened a black terminal, what is it for?

  • You've not provided any release details; and tags are confusing or contradictory. Lubuntu uses the LXQt desktop & qterminal and not gnome-terminal. Your command is unrelated to the desktop however, and switches to a text terminal of the GNU/Linux underneath. I'd expect it to be black-screen as disabled (but here release, plus how long system has been up & if errors have occurred during operation come into play) that you can enable to provide a text terminal (note: not gnome-terminal) F8 can be used as replacement for F7 for some releases; modern use F1 so release matters
    – guiverc
    Jul 2 at 22:47
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  • Just tried this twice on Lubuntu 20.04. Both times the mouse cursor disappeared and the screen froze. Had to force shutdown via the power button.
    – user111667
    Jul 4 at 10:03

1 Answer 1


In systemd ctrl+alt+f8 through ctrl+alt+f12 do nothing and show an empty screen. The first six (F1-F6) show classic text based terminal. F7 (some distros use F1 or F8) is used to show the desktop.

You can enable F8, F9, ... F12 to do the same as F1 (see /etc/systemd/system/getty.target.wants/getty@tty1.service) , you can also add a command to those (see below). And you can also add another desktop to a function key: at the login screen you can often pick a manager; each of those you could add.

Example using htop as a command shown on F8:

Create htop.service:

Description=htop on tty8




sudo cp htop.service /etc/systemd/system
systemctl start htop

and tty8 will show results from htop. Works for anything you put on ExecStart and that shows a result to TTYPath. Think journalctl, dmesg, sar, a directory watcher, tail -f.

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