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Thread: Using Ctrl + Alt + Fx (switching to text mode)

  1. #1
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    Question Using Ctrl + Alt + Fx (switching to text mode)

    I have been using SuSE Linux in text mode for the longest time (since 8.0) and I'm often more comfortable working in that mode. I have just installed 11.3 with GNOME as a fresh install on my dual-boot laptop and I am pretty happy with the way things work. But I still languish for my text mode from time to time.

    So: I know about right clicking on the desktop and selecting "Open in Terminal" and that should really solve my needs, but . . .

    I read here in an older thread about using Ctrl + Alt + F2 (as it happens, it can be F1, F2, F3, etc.) so I decided to try it out. Well, when I do that, I get exactly what I expected --- a black text screen with a login: prompt and I can do all my little texty things just as sweet as can be. Except for one thing:

    I can't get back! The only way I've been able to get back to a GUI is to use "shutdown -r now" as user: root.

    Also, Ctrl + Alt + F1 removes the GUI completely for all four terminals.

    Can someone tell me more about this function where I might read an "info" or "man" about it? I don't even know what it is called, so it is hard to know how to search. (Admittedly, I haven't tried Google yet.)

    Thanks in advance for any information on this.

    uname -a ==> Linux linux-127g.site 2.6.34-12-default #1 SMP 2010-06-29 02:39:08 +0200 i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux
    using GNOME

    Chuck


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    Default Re: Using Ctrl + Alt + Fx (switching to text mode)

    Quote Originally Posted by CNMoore View Post
    I can't get back! The only way I've been able to get back to a GUI is to use "shutdown -r now" as user: root.
    Does "Ctrl+Alt+F7" work?

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    Smile Re: Using Ctrl + Alt + Fx (switching to text mode)

    Well, in X11 it is Ctrl-Alt-F7, but I do not use Gnome myself to try this out. I found a VERY INTERESTING comparison of key strokes you might want to look at.

    Table of keyboard shortcuts - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Thank You,
    My Blog: https://forums.opensuse.org/blogs/jdmcdaniel3/

    Software efficiency halves every 18 months, thus compensating for Moore's Law

    Its James again from Austin, Texas

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    Default Re: Using Ctrl + Alt + Fx (switching to text mode)

    Some more info the GUI runs in terminal 7.

    Note sure what you mean by the 4 terminals?????

    If you are running multiple screens this only works when in Xwindows. not in terminal mode.

    init 3 will shut down the GUI (need to be root)
    init 5 will restart it (need to be root)

    Also you can open a console in the GUI and do most command line things.
    Last edited by gogalthorp; 07-Aug-2010 at 09:52. Reason: forgot something

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    Default Re: Using Ctrl + Alt + Fx (switching to text mode)

    Quote Originally Posted by gogalthorp View Post
    Some more info the GUI runs in terminal 7.

    Note sure what you mean by the 4 terminals?????
    Well, if I'd said 6, you'd have known. My first SuSE 8 text mode install used only tty1 through tty4 and I suppose I could have changed that, but instead I got used to it and I don't even think about tty5 and tty6 --- especially since the GUI presents only four "cubes" --

    Anyway, thanks for the reply. I tried init 5 as root, but it didn't work from where I was. I am using GNOME because I tried the Live CDs of KDE and GNOME and just liked GNOME better.

    My reason for being such a noob with graphics is that I've always installed Linux on outdated computers that wouldn't adequately run Windoze and a lot of them were Dell Optiplex desktops with onboard graphics and only 512 KB video memory. But, the old 2.2 kernel on a P-60 with 80 MB RAM runs like a scalded dog in text mode, so I had lots of fun with them as routers and mail servers. The office had lots of Winders boxes for looking at pics, etc.

    But, I've decided to learn a little bit about running GUI Linux before I die, so I'm running SuSE 11.3 in a 40 GB partition of my 100 GB drive with pretty decent graphics and a 1920 x 1200 display.

    Having fun and learning slowly. Someone suggested Ctrl + Alt + F7 so I'll try that next and report back.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Using Ctrl + Alt + Fx (switching to text mode)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord_Emsworth View Post
    Does "Ctrl+Alt+F7" work?
    Well, yes! As a matter of fact, it does! Imagine that!!!

    You might suppose that since I tried all the Fxs 1 through 6 just to see what happened, I might have had the smarts to try F7 also; but alas, there's a line beyond which we non-genius types just don't go.

    Thank you very much. I can report the following (which YOU already know, but someone else who needs to know may one day read this:

    Ctrl+Alt+F1 toggles to a full screen tty1 in text mode with a login prompt and has the translucent wallpaper of the Welcome "splash" screen. Ctrl+Alt+F2 -- Ctrl+Alt+F6 toggle to a black screen tty2 -- tty6 respectively with a login prompt.

    If you login as any user including root, and then use Ctrl+Alt+F7 to return to the GUI, the login remains active in that terminal. So, you can login as "sam" on tty2 and login as "root" on tty4 and switch among those at will. Whenever you use Ctrl+Alt+F7 to toggle back to GUI, you are returned to the workspace that was active when you used Ctrl+Alt+Fx to toggle to text mode regardless of what tty# you may have switched to while in the text mode.

    I'm going to leave tty2 with "root" logged in and use GUI to shutdown and see if I get an alert or if it will just logout root and other users from various ttys and shut down.

    Thanks again.

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    Default Re: Using Ctrl + Alt + Fx (switching to text mode)

    As you would expect, there was a warning with two llines which appeared very (VERY) briefly as the system went down for reboot. The display time can probably be modified in case one wanted to intervene, but that shouldn't be a problem as far as I'm concerned. Both users were logged out and the system shut down.

    For my money, this one is [SOLVED] and I thank everyone who looked and replied. The ability to do all of that while having terrific graphics modes just blows my mind. When I think of the thousand upon thousands of dollars our companies have spent on MS OSs, . . . .

    Well, all that's been said before by me and by others. This OpenSuSE 11.3, though, is a JEWEL!

    Thanks again to all.
    Chuck
    Registered Linux User #285552

  8. #8
    Carlos E. R. NNTP User

    Default Re: Using Ctrl + Alt + Fx (switching to text mode)

    On 2010-08-08 01:36, CNMoore wrote:
    >
    > Lord_Emsworth;2202904 Wrote:
    >> Does "Ctrl+Alt+F7" work?

    >
    > Well, yes! As a matter of fact, it does! Imagine that!!!
    >
    > You might suppose that since I tried all the Fxs 1 through 6 just to
    > see what happened, I might have had the smarts to try F7 also; but alas,
    > there's a line beyond which we non-genius types just don't go.


    Then you haven't tried 8, 9, 10... and beyond >:-)

    --
    Cheers / Saludos,

    Carlos E. R.
    (from 11.2 x86_64 "Emerald" GM (Elessar))

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Using Ctrl + Alt + Fx (switching to text mode)

    As they say, "He's baa-aaa-aaa-ck!"

    Well, I've experimented a bit more with this and thought I might update this a bit with what I've learned.

    Assuming you have begun in GUI, you might choose any one of the six available (by default) tty terminals by keying "Ctrl Alt Fx" where x = 1,2,3,..,6.

    You will then see a login prompt on a text terminal ttyx (corresponding to the x you used). If you choose x=1, the text screen will have a SuSE wallpaper background (translucent) with boot messages filling the screen and the login prompt at the bottom of the screen. If you choose x >= 2, your screen will be black with the login prompt at the top of the screen.

    Of course, what you do from that point on is up to you. You may login as any user and you may then clear the screen or run any text-based program. You may also navigate from one tty to another using the LEFT Alt key. The Ctrl key has no effect although you may hold it down if it makes you feel good. :-)

    The RIGHT Alt key has no effect; nor does the RIGHT Ctrl key.

    So, once you are in TEXT mode, the old Alt-F1 through Alt-F6 work just as they did before GUI. LEFT Alt-F7 returns you to GUI -- the Ctrl key is ignored.

    To get from GUI to TEXT, you must use the Ctrl AND the Alt keys along with the desired Fx key. You can even use the LEFT Ctrl and the RIGHT Alt and vice versa (though you would do that only if you had peanut butter on one of your fingers and ....

    Alt F10 displays a text screen with various error log info. I don't know the exact nature of the log, but I do know that interface errors are logged. I am configuring my two NIC machine as a router and have created a plethora of errors such as:

    "martian source on 255.255.255.255 from aaa.bbb.ccc.ddd, on dev eth0"

    After getting straight on which NIC was to be eth0 and which would thus become eth1 and which of those was the private network interface and which was public --- none of which was what *I* had in mind --- the martian source stopped its attacks.

    Bottom line on all this seems to be:

    Ctrl plus Alt plus F1 through F6 takes you from GUI to a tty screen in TEXT mode.

    Ctrl plus Alt plus F10 takes you from GUI to a TEXT error log screen.

    In TEXT mode, only the LEFT Alt key has any effect, and that key may be used along with F1 through F6 or F10 to toggle from one TEXT screen to another.

    Alt plus F7 returns you from TEXT mode to GUI.

    F8, F9, F11 and F12 have no use, but you may get a blank screen depending on what mode you are using when you do it.

    Now that I've got that off my mind, I'm heading back to my routing chores to figure out how to enable the DHCP daemon for my private network.

    Cheers,

    Chuck
    Chuck
    Registered Linux User #285552

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Using Ctrl + Alt + Fx (switching to text mode)

    Quote Originally Posted by CNMoore View Post
    Bottom line on all this seems to be:

    Ctrl plus Alt plus F1 through F6 takes you from GUI to a tty screen in TEXT mode.

    Ctrl plus Alt plus F10 takes you from GUI to a TEXT error log screen.

    In TEXT mode, only the LEFT Alt key has any effect, and that key may be used along with F1 through F6 or F10 to toggle from one TEXT screen to another.

    Alt plus F7 returns you from TEXT mode to GUI.

    F8, F9, F11 and F12 have no use, but you may get a blank screen depending on what mode you are using when you do it.
    Right. In addition ...

    ... you can simply use 'ALT + left/right-arrow-key' to navigate through the various consoles. For instance jump from tty3 to tty4 with 'ALT + right-arrow-key'. (It does work that way in 11.3. Can't remember this from 11.2.)

    ... if you were to run two parallel desktop sessions, for instance if you ran a KDE4 desktop session ("tty7") and then opened up a parallel session for Gnome, the parallel session would be found at "tty8." And you could jump between those two sessions by hitting ALT+Ctrl+F7/F8.

    ... the "TEXT error log screen" you find when you hit ALT+Ctrl+F10 are kernel messages, if I am not mistaken.

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