Devin Reade

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Using a Text Display After Boot

Elsewhere I describe configuring your machine to use a text boot process. Whether or not you get a text console or an X (graphical) screen after the boot process is complete is an independent issue, and is based on the configured run level of the machine.

Permanent Change of Run Level

If you want a text interface after boot, you want to be running at run level three (3). If you want a graphical interface after boot, you want to be running at run level five (5).

In order to change the default run level of the machine, edit the file /etc/inittab and look for a block of code like this:

    id:5:initdefault:
Change the 5 to a 3 to get a text console, then save the file. Your change will be effective at the next boot.

Temporary Change of Run Level

If you want to make an immediate and temporary change to the current run level, you can do this via telinit(8):

    telinit 3

Getting a Text Console Without a Runlevel Change

If you need a text console for the moment but don't want to mess with run levels, you can do a CTRL-ALT-F1, CTRL-ALT-F2, et cetera, to get different consoles. When you want to go back to the graphical console, it should be up around CTRL-ALT-F7 or CTRL-ALT-F8. (The CTRL can be omitted if you're already in text mode.)


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Last Updated: 22 Jan 2010