I've closed the terminal killing a process, after that when opening a new terminal the prompt wasn't there.

After searching online other questions, with CTRL-C y get the prompt back. However, when opening a new terminal the prompt is gone again.

I've tried the following code:

martin@martin-N550JV:~$ ps
  PID TTY          TIME CMD
17626 pts/0    00:00:02 bash
20957 pts/0    00:00:00 ps
martin@martin-N550JV:~$ sudo kill 20957
[sudo] password for martin: 
martin@martin-N550JV:~$ sudo kill 17626

Taken from this site

I've also uninstalled and then re-installed the terminal, with no success.

Is there a solution for this?

  • Does the prompt disappear again if you type source ~/.bashrc? Feb 28, 2014 at 1:36
  • I've typed it, but I don't see a result.
    – marbel
    Feb 28, 2014 at 2:23
  • @MartínBel plz tell me if you run source ~/.bashrc your prompt is going away or not? it will not solve your issue it is just a troubleshooting step.
    – sourav c.
    Mar 2, 2014 at 2:59
  • @souravc The prompt goes away.
    – marbel
    Mar 2, 2014 at 4:41
  • Which terminal are you using? Have you tried xterm or xfce4-terminal?
    – landroni
    Mar 2, 2014 at 6:57

4 Answers 4


When you open a terminal you get a non-login, interactive shell. If you are using bash the system-wide per-interactive-shell startup file is /etc/bash.bashrc and user-level per-interactive-shell startup file is ~/.bashrc.

The problem you are facing may be due to presence of any bad instruction(s) in any of these two files.

From OP's reply:

sourcing ~/.bashrc initiate the problem. That means there is problem with ~/.bashrc

Possible reasons of disappearing bash prompt:

There might be recursive sourcing that can create an infinite loop type situation. For example if there are lines present in your ~/.bashrc like,

if [ -f ~/.profile ]; then
   . ~/.profile

It will source ~/.profile. But keep in mind that ~/.profile always sources ~/.bashrc (it is correct way). Hence you are in an infinite loop. Do not source ~/.profile from ~/.bashrc

Under such situation you can not get the prompt unless you hit Ctrl+C


You can put a line in your ~/.bashrc

set -x

Then you could see that the file descriptor is stopping when you open a terminal.

How to recover

Take backup of ~/.bashrc and get a new one from /etc/skel. Use in terminal,

mv ~/.bashrc ~/bashrc.bkp
cp /etc/skel/.bashrc ~/

It will replace your ~/.bashrc with a new one.

Either the problem is like as I expected (described above) or something else should be solved after replacing ~/.bashrc as it is solely related to your ~/.bashrc.

  • 1
    Plz let know if your problem still persists.
    – sourav c.
    Mar 2, 2014 at 5:50
  • This worked just fine! Thanks for the help! I'll give you the points when the site allows me, in 8 hours.
    – marbel
    Mar 2, 2014 at 15:57
  • set -x was the ticket to figuring out what command failed. Thanks!
    – blakev
    Jul 3, 2020 at 6:22

Running this command has solved this problem for me:


I was having the issue of non-running, locked lxterminal and a mere $ for the xterm prompt.

I found on my old N600C running Lubuntu 14.04 updated to 16.04, that echo $0 told me I was running /bin/sh instead of /bin/bash.

After that it was just an issue of changing the default shell to /bin/bash in the way that I saw fit for my installation. There are several ways to do that; they're outside the scope of the OP problem, though.

When I changed back to /bin/bash, it fixed xterm as well as lxterminal, now both show user, host, and pwd.


Likely, the shell prompt has been accidentally customized to be blank.

In a terminal window, do:

sudo cp /etc/bashrc /etc/bashrc.sav
sudo nano /etc/bashrc

Then change PS1 to become:

PS1="[\u@\h:\w ] $ "

Save, and exit.

The folowing command will show the bashrc files - what do you have?

ls -al /etc/ba* 
  • This is what I get:^Cmartin@martin-N550JV:~$ martin@martin-N550JV:~$ sudo cp /etc/bashrc /etc/bashrc.sav [sudo] password for martin: cp: cannot stat ‘/etc/bashrc’: No such file or directory
    – marbel
    Feb 28, 2014 at 0:50
  • See last two lines above.
    – K7AAY
    Feb 28, 2014 at 1:20
  • First two linesmartin@martin-N550JV:~$ ls -al /etc/ba* -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 2177 mar 30 2013 /etc/bash.bashrc -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 45 jun 17 2012 /etc/bash_completion
    – marbel
    Feb 28, 2014 at 2:24
  • It seems the folder bashrc isn't there. martin@martin-N550JV:/$ cd /etc martin@martin-N550JV:/etc$ cd bashrc bash: cd: bashrc: No such file or directory martin@martin-N550JV:/etc$
    – marbel
    Feb 28, 2014 at 5:16

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