After upgrading to 17.10 like a true pioneer, I found the old CtrlAltF1 no longer switches between console mode and GUI, and a quick Google search brought up nothing useful. Was this feature removed entirely?

  • What happens when you do press Ctrl-Alt-F1?
    – muru
    Nov 22, 2017 at 6:58
  • 1
    @muru he ends up on login screen, the actual loaded GUI is like it seems on tty2, or at least it is on my 17.10. Just confirmed it too on a plain 17.10 VM.
    – Videonauth
    Nov 22, 2017 at 7:02
  • 2
    @Videonauth I see. It seems that's also the problem in askubuntu.com/questions/969519/…
    – muru
    Nov 22, 2017 at 7:04
  • 1
    @Videonauth I removed the 17.10 tag since the bug report indicates this is a GDM default and not specific to 17.10. (Presumably users of Ubuntu GNOME in earlier versions would also have this problem.)
    – muru
    Nov 22, 2017 at 7:13
  • 4
    @muru I'm not sure about removing the 17.10 tag - most users will first encounter this when they upgrade to 17.10 so although you are strictly speaking correct, to be helpful it might be worth leaving the tag there? Nov 27, 2017 at 17:11

1 Answer 1


The actual used tty consoles have changed around with the introduction of Wayland and 17.10. Now tty1 always contains the login screen, and tty2 contains your actual loaded session.

So use Ctrl+Alt+F3 up to Ctrl+Alt+F7 for getting to an actual unused tty and use Ctrl+Alt+F2 to go back to GUI.

From the 17.10 Release Notes:

  • GDM has replaced LightDM as the default display manager. The login screen now uses virtual terminal 1 instead of virtual terminal 7.

Also see Why is my GDM at a different TTY than my desktop environment? for more about the origin of this change.

  • 3
    Hmm Ctrl+Alt+F7 is not a working TTY. It just displays a blinking cursor if you can even change to it.
    – zenw0lf
    Dec 23, 2017 at 16:12
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    @zenw0lf on some systems F7 fails just use a lower number :) like ctryl+alt+F3. The 7th one sometimes fails to initialize.
    – Videonauth
    Dec 24, 2017 at 14:07
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    @karel same shortcuts apply on 18.04 too
    – Videonauth
    Apr 28, 2018 at 8:30
  • I just want to note that the two running Xorg servers has other repercussions as well. gksudo and other use of the $DISPLAY env variable will expect a value of ':0' but that will be now taken up by the greeter screen and is unused. check out ps aux | grep Xorg then ls /tmp/.X11-unix to see what I mean. You will need to change the value of $DISPLAY to be ':1' upon login to thwart display errors. That will point to the X11 socket that is owned by your user. May 25, 2018 at 20:23

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