How to Switch TTY

By Chris Hoffman

TTYs in Linux, named after teletypewriters, are separate virtual terminals on the computer. A Linux system creates multiple virtual terminals when it boots, allowing a user to use several terminals at once without needing to run a graphical desktop environment. Each terminal has its own user login prompt and shell. TTYs can even be accessed from other hardware devices connected to the Linux system. You can switch between TTYs using a keyboard shortcut or by executing a command. Most Linux distributions create TTYs 1 to 6 as text shells and reserve TTY 7 for the graphical desktop environment.

Keyboard Shortcut

Step 1

Press and hold "Ctrl" and "Alt" at the same time.

Step 2

Press the "F" key corresponding to the TTY you want to switch to. For example, press "F1" to switch to TTY 1 or "F2" to switch to TTY 2.

Step 3

Return to the graphical desktop environment by pressing "Ctrl," "Alt" and "F7" at the same time.

Command

Step 1

Open a terminal by clicking "Applications," "Accessories" and "Terminal."

Step 2

Type "chvt #," replacing "#" with the number of the TTY you want to switch to, and press "Enter."

Step 3

Return to the graphical desktop by typing "chvt 7" into a terminal and press "Enter."

References & Resources