How to boot your Ubuntu desktop in terminal mode

by John
Published on: May 2, 2011
Categories: How To
Tags: No Tags
Comments: 13 Comments

I know this sounds crazy but just in-case you like the idea of disabling your Ubuntu desktop’s graphical interface upon start-up and put you in terminal mode. Its very simple no sweat!

Fire-up your terminal and edit with your favorite editor:
sudo nano /etc/default grub

note: to save press CTRL+O and CTRL+X to exit.

look for this line:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash"

change it to:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash text"

then update your grub

sudo update-grub

then restart:

sudo reboot now

if you want to use the desktop just type:

startx

Have fun and share your Ubuntu experience.

  • Test

    That does not work for me, I get a blank screen. I have to ctl alt delete to exist the blank screen. I wanted about 20 minutes just to see if something comes up but It does not. I am using version 11.04

  • Jeremy

    I got the same problem. I am also using 11.04, but I tried the same thing with Ubuntu 10.? that didn’t work either.

  • dparkar

    WTH is going on !? 11.04 is acting weird. I have the same problem as you guys. I followed the above steps and now I am stuck. I always restart in a “blinking” cursor with a line above saying “Stopping GNOME Display Manager” .. I cannot see any command prompt. If I type anything nothing comes up. If I press CTRL + ALT + DEL I simply restart. HELP!

  • dparkar

    I had to ssh into the machine remotely and change that back.

  • Rimack

    Just enter recovery mode from grub menu and type the following:
    #Login using your admin account, enter your password
    su
    #Edit /etc/default/grub with your favorite editor (I use emacs)
    sudo emacs /etc/default/grub

    From:
    GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=”quiet splash text”
    To:GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=”quiet splash”#Update your grub config filessudo update-grub#Reboot computersudo reboot nowNow you should be able to fix the problem

  • Rimack

    Just enter recovery mode from grub menu and type the following:
    # Login using your admin account (mine is otacon), enter your password
    su otacon
    # Edit /etc/default/grub with your favorite editor (I use emacs)
    sudo emacs /etc/default/grub

    From:
    GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=”quiet splash text”
    To:GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=”quiet
    splash”

    # Update your grub config files
    sudo update-grub
    # Reboot
    computersudo reboot nowNow you should be able to fix the
    problem

    PS: The last message was incorrectly formatted due to the blog posting system.

  • Mpolatnick

    Have Breeze 5660 loaded with 10.10 but logged off and logged in with the wrong prompt. there now is a small terminal window at the top left stating my name and saying desktop. what command will boot it up?

  • jdd12

    running ubuntu 12.04, and this worked very well for me. however, when i do ‘startx’ into a DE i like it to be gnome (classic) rather than unity. i ended up changing the startx settings to boot to gnome via “gnome-session –session=gnome-classic” (also included exec and cksession but don’t remember the proper syntax at the moment so i won’t try to give the whole line here). however, as nicely as that worked, it wouldn’t let me mount removable media, threw tons of exceptions when i watched it running in the terminal i launched it from, and had no sound. keyring also was flakey. was unable to solve, back to booting to the ubuntu log-in manager.

  • http://twitter.com/thebestchuck Chuck Lane

    This worked for me with Ubuntu 11.10 or 11.04 I can’t remember. 

  • Pablo Leon

    Worked great for me, running Ubuntu Server 12.04! thanks a lot John!

  • Ano

    IT IS NOT:
    sudo nano /etc/default grub
    BUT, IT IS:
    sudo nano /etc/default/grub

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