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At the moment all I see is the message INIT: Sending processes the TERM signal. What does this mean?

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Hitting Ctrl-Alt-FX does nothing but change the console on which you are on. Usually graphical mode starts X on tty7.

You are seeing this message because you have done something that shuts down the system (halt, shutdown, reboot), changes runlevel (init ...).

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Thanks Torian. I did nothing than hit CTRL-ALT-F7 so why would that halt, shutdown or reboot the server? In fact it doesn't do anything. It just sits there. – PeanutsMonkey Aug 11 '11 at 3:38

The most common configuration for Linux is to have twelve virtual consoles and use the first six of them for terminals (run getty on them to show a login prompt). The rest of them are just blank until they are eventually used for anything. X usually runs on the seventh virtual console because it's configured to either use exactly that one or use the first unused one (which might be the eighth if the seventh is considered to be in use for some reason).

Then init changes runlevel it kills all processes belonging the the current runlevel and prints this message to the system console (it is perfectly normal behaviour that the runlavel changes during the bootup process). The concept of a system console is a generic Unix concept. In Linux the system console can be configured to work in different ways. One way is to use the currently selected virtual console as system console. So if init happens to say something while the seventh virtual console is active, it ends up there.

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