I have a widescreen monitor that rotates. I'm trying to use it in 'landscape' mode (vertical). This is easy in the GUI.

How do I rotate my display when I am not running an X Server or when I am viewing a Virtual Console / Terminal.

  • 3
    you mean - when you're in a full-screen text console (what X server is not running or you switched to a console using Ctrl-Alt-F1)? – Sergey Jan 9 '13 at 2:20
  • Exactly. When the X server is not running. I edited my question for clarity. Thanks. – Kurtis Jan 9 '13 at 2:50
  • 1
    As far as I can tell this only works in X. Framebuffer (in the console) for instance has no support for rotating the screen. – qbi Jan 12 '13 at 22:48
  • I think you're right. I imagine this functionality would be implemented within the Kernel, itself, if it's at all possible. Further, I imagine that the video would have to be driven by something like VESA or another graphics driver since the BIOS, EFI, etc. most likely would not include this functionality. – Kurtis Jan 14 '13 at 3:18

You can only rotate your display with some kind of X server. A virtual console as well as framebuffer has no support for rotating.

But maybe you can run some small X window manager like awesome and a terminal in full-screen mode. In this case you would get the rotation feature and it still feels like a console.


You can rotate your virtual framebuffers using fbcon. 0 through 3 to represent the various rotations:

  • 0 - Normal rotation
  • 1 - Rotate clockwise
  • 2 - Rotate upside down
  • 3 - Rotate counter-clockwise

These can be set from the command line by putting a value into the correct system file. Rotate the current framebuffer:

echo 1 | sudo tee /sys/class/graphics/fbcon/rotate

Rotate all virtual framebuffers:

echo 1 | sudo tee /sys/class/graphics/fbcon/rotate_all

If you want this to happen automatically when you start your system, you need to modify your boot loader configuration to give it the correct options. In /etc/default/grub add fbcon=rotate:1 to the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX line:


(Don't forget to run sudo update-grub after changing this file.)

Sources: Rotate Screen, not running X windows, Rotate console on startup (Debian)


To rotate your screen you can try xrandr command:

xrandr -o left

To turn back:

xrandr -o normal

You need to have DISPLAY variable setted:

export DISPLAY=:0

To be honest, it doesn't work with full-screen text consoles of my computer (it does with 7th GUI screen) but I had a lot of problems with fglrx drivers lately and I don't want to experiment since I barely managed to set everything up. In case of problems you can check here: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1815538 for help with that command.

  • 6
    I switched to my Virtual Console (Ctrl+Alt+F1). I logged in. I ran 'export DISPLAY=:0'. I ran 'xrandr -o left'. I received the error 'Failed to change the screen configuration!'. While I'm not an expert, I believe xrandr is used to configure the X Server so I'm not sure if it would be suitable for this purpose. – Kurtis Jan 9 '13 at 18:39

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