In previous versions of Ubuntu, Ctrl+Alt+F1 through F6 opened up virtual consoles. On Ubuntu Gnome 17.04 Ctrl+Alt+F1 opens another GUI and the others do nothing.

How do I restore the old behavior?

3 Answers 3


I'm running Kubuntu v16.04 - not the version that you are - but I had to modify /etc/systemd/logind.conf, uncomment NAutoVTs=6 and restart.

Also, check /etc/default/console-setup, the line: ACTIVE_CONSOLES="/dev/tty[1-6]"

  • 1
    Worked great! Note that if your don't want to restart you can also systemctl restart systemd-logind.service Apr 19, 2020 at 22:43
  • @user2070305 in my case that command leads me to a non-responsive login screen, I had to force a reboot
    – Didier L
    May 10, 2021 at 22:05

> the others do nothing.

On 17.10, the virtual terminals are there but invisible! You can type blindly into them and they work:

Alt-Ctrl-F4   # switch to a VT
username    # typing blindly into black screen...
date >/tmp/foo
Alt-Ctrl-F1  # switch back to Wayland GUI
ls -l /tmp/foo  # it's there
  • 2
    > # typing blindly into black screen... There is no black screen to type into. It just remains on the gui. At least when this issue presents itself.
    – jumpnett
    Jan 15, 2018 at 16:15
  • 1
    It depends on your hardware: my two laptops behave different, one jumps into a blank screen, the other just keeps stuck in the GUI.
    – jjmontes
    Jun 14, 2018 at 16:22

I was trying to figure this out for Ubuntu 22.04, but it appears the arrangement of consoles has changed from what it was historically. Ctrl+Alt+F1 appears to be a persistent session for the login screen (to allow switching between multiple users, I think), Ctrl+Alt+F2 is the logged-in GUI session, and then Ctrl+Alt+F3 through Ctrl+Alt+F6 are additional consoles (though I suspect those may get consumed if more than one GUI user is logged in).

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