Linux / UNIX: Virtual consoles (VC)

in Categories , , , last updated August 7, 2007

Q. Can you explain the term Virtual Consoles and elaborate the usage of the same?

A. Under FreeBSD, Linux, or UNIX the virtual console (VC) allows a user to have multiple logins without using X windows GUI system. It is also known as virtual terminal (VT)

Linux has 6 VC

It is a combination of the keyboard and the display for a user interface. The concrete combination is the system console of the computer, where the user can switch between the virtual consoles to access multiple unrelated user interfaces. Usually in Linux, the first six virtual consoles provide a text terminal with a login prompt to a unix shell. The graphical X Window System starts in the seventh virtual console. To access 6 terminal press and hold [CTRL] + [ALT]+F{1,2,3,4,5,6}. For example press CTRL+Alt+F1 (or ALT+F1) to access the virtual console number 1.

Access X GUI system

To access X GUI system press CTRL+ALT+F7.

Other options for VC/VT

GNU Screen is a program that can change between several text-mode programs in one textual login.

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

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  1. Hey can you please guide me as to how i can access these Virtual terminals / Virtual Consoles in VMware, as i have the minimal install of Centos 6.0.

    Brief description:
    I installed Centos 6.0 Minimal Install and set a Static Ip for my eth0. So that i can access my Router Emulator in Virtual Machine in the Host machine . The issue i face is my Centos machine network interface will be up only when my modem is switched on , i.e pinging from Virtual machine to host happens upon modem being on otherwise it fails & i don’t know how to set Route between Virtual Machine to Host Machine without the default gateway ( my ISP modem ).

    When i try to access these Virtual Consoles by holding the Ctrl+Alt [F1 to F6] so that i can telnet to different routers it doesn’t show up.

    When my modem is Switched on i use putty to ssh and start routers one by one. Later i use SecureCRT to connect those routers in tab.

    My host machine ip is set to : /24
    Virtual Machine is set to Bridge Mode with Staic Ip assigned to Centos: /24.

  2. [ It was many of the posts at that helped me setup the Cent O.S. ]

    Yeah i found, my mistake.

    It was Alt+ F1 through F6 & not Ctrl+Alt+F1.

    Please help enabling Routing Between Virtual Machine Cento OS 6.0 & Host Windows 7. As explained earlier my Virtual Machine Centos is not able to Ping with Windows 7 & i need to know how to enable Routing between these.

    My host machine ip is set to : /24
    Virtual Machine is set to Bridge Mode with Staic Ip assigned to Centos: /24.
    My default gateway is set to my Modem

    When i switch on my default gateway (modem) i can clearly see that communication is happening between VM (Cent O.S 6.0 ) to Modem ( to Host ( If Modem is down ping fails.

    Please suggest what should be done.

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