I'm new to Linux/Ubuntu and experiencing the following problem:
I start my computer, and get to the GUI where I can login. When I click Ctrl+Alt+F1 I will get to the first of the consoles, everything is fine so far. But now I can't switch back to the GUI. When I press Ctrl+Alt+F7 or only Alt+F7 (I have tried both), the screen goes completely black and there is nothing I can do. Ctrl+Alt+F1 or Alt+F1 will NOT bring me back to the console, neither does any other Ctrl+Alt+F# or Alt+F# combination.

Sometimes (and I'm not sure what it depends on whether it works or not) I can switch back to the GUI once. But if I then go to the console again and try to go back to the GUI a third time, it never works.

I am using Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 32-bit on a very old (7 years) Fujitsu Siemens Laptop (Intel Pentium(R) M Processor 2.00 GHz; 1GB Memory). Could it be a hardware problem? Thanks a lot in advance for any help!

  • 3
    try to add the fn key to the combo, since it's a laptop you probably have a different "key behaviour". something like CTRL+ALT+fn+F7 or similar. May 29, 2013 at 6:08
  • try startx command
    – Misery
    May 29, 2013 at 6:21

1 Answer 1


When at the console, type:


If this works, press CTRL + ALT + F1 to get back to the console.

If 'startx' doesn't work, and it throws up errors, edit the question with those errors.

Hope this helps!!!

  • Hi, I tried it and got the following error: "Fatal Server Error: Server is already active for display 0 <br> If this server is no longer running, remove /tmpT.X0-lock and start again <br>(EE)<br>Please consult the The X.Org Foundation support"
    – Ben
    May 29, 2013 at 9:13
  • Ok, try this: 'sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop' and reboot.
    – horIzoN
    May 29, 2013 at 9:26
  • If I ran service lightdm stop, this brings an empty screen. Is there a way to get back to the console? Mar 17, 2014 at 7:18

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