For whatever reason, the Ctrl-Alt-Fn sequence has no effect on one of my Ubuntu machines; the sequence is interpreted as ordinary input. I need to get the system to a console.

Is there a command-line tool that can be used to switch consoles?

(I'm running Ubunty Jaunty at the moment. Yes I know it's old; I'm trying to march forward.)

2 Answers 2


I think the answer here which suggests using the command chvt should help (assuming I've understood your requirement correctly)

  • Opps - saw you've just posted the same thing! At least I didn't get it wrong then! :-)
    – Neil
    Jun 18, 2011 at 16:07
  • That works fine but only if you are logged into a shell. In console but without shell (i.e.not logged in), you cannot issue chvt your-target-tty-nbr. That's a problem sometimes. To cycle through yr consoles the simplest thing is to use ALT+left (or right) arrow. This OP is old. I only had this for reference. – Cbhihe 9 mins ago
    – Cbhihe
    Oct 6, 2017 at 16:02

Found it: chvt is exactly what I was looking for. The console how-to has good stuff in it.

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