After booting to the GUI in 12.04, I attempt to move to the virtual terminal (or shell, or tty) via Ctrl-Alt-F1 (F1 through F6), and the screen remains blank. I have tried all 6 tty instances and the results are the same. Ctrl-alt-F7 brings me back to the GUI without a problem. Any thoughts?

  • This occurs often together with being unable to see Grub of the boot splash. Can you see those?
    – nanofarad
    Jul 11, 2012 at 20:11

6 Answers 6


This is usually caused because the graphical text-mode resolution set at boot up is not compatible with your video card. The solution is to switch to true text-mode by configuring Grub appropriately:

  1. Open the terminal with Ctrl+Alt+T
  2. Paste the below, and enter your password when asked:

    sudo sed -i -e 's/#GRUB_TERMINAL/GRUB_TERMINAL/g' /etc/default/grub
  3. Then type sudo update-grub

  4. Reboot and the virtual terminals should now work.
  • 1
    Unfortunately, this didn't help with my graphic-driver issues (I need the X server down to install proper drivers, but the lack of drivers prevents me from getting a working command-line with ctrl-alt-F1). Feb 1, 2015 at 20:34
  • 8
    CAREFUL, this thing has completely messed up my grub, I don't see a boot menu anymore. (Ubuntu 15.04)
    – Arty
    Oct 25, 2015 at 3:21
  • 1
    @MinaMichael No. It changes #GRUB_TERMINAL to GRUB_TERMINAL. The slash ends the regular expression, and the g is the global-modifier that sais: replace ALL matches. Jan 12, 2016 at 11:23
  • 1
    Doesn't work on 14.0.4 for me May 17, 2016 at 1:57
  • 3
    Grub file states # Uncomment to disable graphical terminal (grub-pc only) #GRUB_TERMINAL=console Why would disabling graphical terminal fix this issue? For Ubuntu 16.04
    – Sun Bear
    Mar 10, 2017 at 17:56

What fixed this for me was adding nomodeset to the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT line in the /etc/default/grub file. Here's how:

  1. Type in terminal: gksu gedit /etc/default/grub

  2. Search for this line: GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT

    So for example if you have:

    GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash usbcore.autosuspend=-1"

    change it to:

    GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash usbcore.autosuspend=-1 nomodeset"
  3. After you finish, update grub (sudo update-grub) and reboot (sudo reboot) for the changes to take effect.

Optional: You could add nomodeset vga=xxx (not just nomodeset), the xxx is a VESA screen code that best matches your screen resolution. Take a look at this.

  • 2
    Worked for me. Be sure to read the last paragraph above, about running sudo update-grub to apply the changes. Mar 18, 2016 at 20:44
  • 1
    Worked for me on 14.0.4 May 17, 2016 at 1:58
  • 1
    When I do this with 14.04 and some Hardware enabling stack whatever this works technically, but graphical desktop is not booted into nor does startx work. But the terminal is back.
    – hakre
    Sep 16, 2016 at 16:10
  • 1
    For me On Ubuntu 16.04 this caused my HDMI-VGA monitor to completely stop working. Dec 22, 2016 at 17:21
  • @PadraicCunningham you can undo it from tty. I hope it wasn't too much trouble Dec 22, 2016 at 20:49

This is for newer version of Ubuntu:

  1. Edit the GRUB configuration file:

    sudo nano /etc/default/grub
  2. Locate the line


    change it to


    and save the file.

  3. Then update grub

    sudo update-grub
  • On Ubuntu 14.04.5 I installed a program that caused a 4.x kernel to be installed. Previously I had a 3.x kernel. This answer is what fixed this issue of blank ttys for me on an Asus Zenbook UX303LN. Apr 17, 2018 at 12:30

Please take a look at my question at https://answers.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+question/643882, with regards to virtual terminal not functioning on Ubuntu 16.04 on Lenovo Thinkpad T400.

The solution i presented is geared towards user with Hybrid Graphics Card, in particular, AMD/ATI graphics card and Intel integrated graphics card. For me, disabling the intel graphics card and enabling the opensource ATI/AMD radeon module helps in my case.

If you are using a old Radeon graphics card like mine (Radeon HD 3450/3470), now you can switch between virtual terminal and graphical desktop with ease to troubleshoot potential issues.

If adding blacklist intel_graphics_card in /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf and running

sudo depmod -a 

still doesn't work due to linux kernel or other dependencies, you are advised to add modprobe.blacklist=<module_name> to /etc/default/grub like the following example:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash crashkernel=384M-:128M radeon.dpm=1  modprobe.blacklist=i915"

You need to shut down the graphics driver after you Ctrl+Alt+F1 before you try to install the Nvidia driver

As in sudo /etc/init.d/lightdm stop

  • 3
    "before you try to install the Nvidia driver" - I'm not sure what you mean by that. The question doesn't mention anything about Nvidia drivers.
    – wjandrea
    Oct 2, 2017 at 18:20

Here is what worked for me on Ubuntu 18.04 with 2560x1440 screen:

  • open grub configuration file in editor: sudo gedit /etc/default/grub

  • uncomment GFXMODE and set your exact resolution -> change#GRUB_GFXMODE toGRUB_GFXMODE=2560x1440

  • add line GRUB_GFXPAYLOAD_LINUX=keep

  • Add remove splash and add nosplash noplymouth nomodeset to your GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT. After cahnges mine looks like GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet nosplash noplymouth intel_idle.max_cstate=1 nomodeset"

  • save the file

  • update grub sudo update-grub

  • reboot

  • use Ctlr+Alt+F2 to switch immediately after boot

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