I've found ways to disable gdm or lightdm or whatever 11.10 uses, but I can't find a way to get a true text-mode boot. I want to see all the kernel messages fly by as it boots, not a stupid purple screen.

I got the desktop manager turned off finally, but now I get a purple screen for a while, then it switches to TTY1. After that happens, I get about half a screen of kernel messages (the end of the boot sequence; stuff about running init scripts etc.) and the login prompt. I did this by changing GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT and GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX to text in /etc/defaults/grub.

Really my main question is, what is putting that dumb purple screen up at boot, and how do I disable it!?


4 Answers 4


Edit in /etc/default/grub

# Stops the ubuntu purple screen

# Uncomment to disable graphical terminal (grub-pc only) 

Then run a sudo update-grub.

  • Didn't see the GRUB_TERMINAL value. Thanks a lot. This worked. I only changed the values I had seen people mention online. I never feel comfortable editing boot loader configuration scripts. I'm always afraid that I will have to use my rescue flash drive :P Commented Jan 2, 2012 at 19:22
  • apt-get purge plymouth-theme-ubuntu-text - This clears a lot of crud after you do the above Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 10:14
  • @IanMacintosh, what crud does it clear? On my machine it says it's going to free 84kB of disk space. Does it remove something else as well? Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 22:17
  • @IanMacintosh, so I tried this. The command spent quite a while on update-initramfs: Generating /boot/initrd.img-3.11.0-26-generic. Afterwards I rebooted and compared the output of bootchart. The time to boot went up by around two seconds. The delay appears to have been caused by busybox. After reinstalled plymouth-theme-ubuntu-text boot time dropped back. I can't explain why this is, but it's what I observed. Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 22:51
  • 1
    Boot speed will be negatively affected if you write a lot of text to the screen, particularly in a graphical mode with slow scrolling. The question isn't about trying to boot 5 seconds faster. You could try a new question and see how that pans out. Commented Nov 5, 2014 at 9:34

To ensure 'that dumb purple screen' never shows up again after boot, do the following on the /etc/default/grub file:

  • sudo vi /etc/default/grub
  • Press i to enter into vi edit mode.
  • Uncomment the line which reads #GRUB_TERMINAL=console by removing the leading #
  • Press Esc to exit vi edit mode.
  • Type :wq to save the change made to the /etc/default/grub file and exit vi
  • Update /boot/grub/grub.cfg to have your change apply by running sudo update-grub

    If your computer uses systemd, you must tell systemd to skip the default login GUI thus:

  • sudo systemctl enable multi-user.target --force

  • sudo systemctl set-default multi-user.target

  • Reboot your computer: sudo reboot

Now, 'that dumb purple screen' will never show up again.

Remember, you must update /boot/grub/grub.cfg to have your changes apply.


From the Grub boot menu editor (i.e. the menu that shows up while your machine is booting), you can try to comment the "load_video" line.

  • I found that I had to do this ** worked when I also delete "quiet splash" Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 2:12

You may also want to prevent the kernel from changing video modes which can be problematic, especially if you cannot see the login prompt or it is partially off the screen. Add the setting GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="nomodeset" to /etc/default/grub:

GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR=`lsb_release -i -s 2> /dev/null || echo Debian`
#for text mode boot up... and also uncomment the "console" terminal

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .