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How To Switch to Console Mode for Ubuntu VMware Guest

If you are running an Ubuntu guest in VMware, you may have found that you cannot switch into the Console mode using Ctrl+Alt+F1. If you try, you will encounter a blank screen and won’t see a login prompt at all.

There’s an easy workaround for this, but it’s not an obvious one. I’ll have to thank larstr on IRC for this tip.

Open up /boot/grub/menu.lst using the following command (or use your favorite editor)

sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst

Find the section that looks like this:

## ## End Default Options ##

title Ubuntu, kernel 2.6.17-10-386
root (hd0,0)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.17-10-386 root=UUID=8312b3d9-e087-439b-8f3b-21f4b00434f1 ro quiet splash
initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.17-10-386
savedefault
boot

Remove “splash” from the kernel line. Save the file, and reboot.

You should now be able to switch to console mode by using Ctrl+Alt+F1  (or F2-F6)

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 12/13/06

Comments (8)

  1. Carsten Dreesbach

    Nice tips, love the site, but this one is not working for me. Running Edgy Eft with VMWare Wkst 5.5.3 and kernel 2.6.17-11. Anything I need to do in VMWare?

  2. Aki

    Thanks, worked for me. Using VMware Server 1.0.2 and Ubuntu 6.10.

  3. Alan

    Ummm…remind me how to get out of this :)

  4. Alan

    Never mind..I got it! (Alt F7)

  5. Philip Andersen

    You can also do the switch without changing the /boot/grub/menu.lst file
    To get the CTRL+ALT key to go to the Client ( in this case Ubuntu ), you press CTRL+ALT+SPACEBAR , then release the SPACEBAR without releasing CTRL+ALT, and press F1 – F8

  6. RupeshK

    Philip Andersen!! Hats off to you dude!!

    M using VMware Workstation 6.5, Ubuntu 9 and your “formulae” works superb.

  7. anu

    Is the procedure same for Linux Guest OS as well..please mention the changes to be done for Linus will be appreciated…

  8. GauravB

    @Philip Andersen: awesome man!!! thanks a ton..:)

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