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What do ctrl+alt+f1 through f12 each do?

asked 2018-04-24 21:33:36 -0500

updated 2018-04-24 21:35:36 -0500

I am aware that these keystrokes have different functions depending on the implementation in the specific version of Linux.

I can see ctrl+alt+f1 and ctrl+alt+f3 through f6 bring up the appropriate session but the answer is not the same as for others I found for other distro's of Linux. What about f2?

Using ps ax | grep -v grep | grep getty I can see some of the information.


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answered 2018-04-25 01:11:19 -0500

villykruse gravatar image

ctrl+alt+f1 through f12 activates the corresponding virtual terminal,

In the file /etc/systemd/logind.conf you can define how many gettys that can be activated, For example setting


and after a reboot, you can activate all of

 1204 tty2     Ss+    0:00 /sbin/agetty -o -p -- \u --noclear tty2 linux
 1205 tty3     Ss+    0:00 /sbin/agetty -o -p -- \u --noclear tty3 linux
 1206 tty4     Ss+    0:00 /sbin/agetty -o -p -- \u --noclear tty4 linux
 1207 tty5     Ss+    0:00 /sbin/agetty -o -p -- \u --noclear tty5 linux
 1208 tty6     Ss+    0:00 /sbin/agetty -o -p -- \u --noclear tty6 linux
 1209 tty7     Ss+    0:00 /sbin/agetty -o -p -- \u --noclear tty7 linux
 1210 tty8     Ss+    0:00 /sbin/agetty -o -p -- \u --noclear tty8 linux
 1211 tty9     Ss+    0:00 /sbin/agetty -o -p -- \u --noclear tty9 linux
 1212 tty10    Ss+    0:00 /sbin/agetty -o -p -- \u --noclear tty10 linux
 1213 tty11    Ss+    0:00 /sbin/agetty -o -p -- \u --noclear tty11 linux
 1214 tty12    Ss+    0:00 /sbin/agetty -o -p -- \u --noclear tty12 linux

Notice that the gettys are started on demand, that is, they only start after you press the corresponding ctrl+alt+Fx key.

When a virtual terminal is used by Xorg or wayland, then it won't get a getty. In Fedora XFCE you tty1 is used by Xorg and therefore no getty on tty1. On Fedora GNOME I believe that tty1 is used by gdm and tty2 by your wayland session. On Ubunto XFCE, the Xorg session is allocated on tty7, and that used to be the case as well on (very) old Fedora and Redhat before that.

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Asked: 2018-04-24 21:33:36 -0500

Seen: 157 times

Last updated: Apr 25 '18