Unix & Linux Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of Linux, FreeBSD and other Un*x-like operating systems. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I pressed some key combination and got a big full screen black terminal screen with a login prompt. After logging in, I tried startx to get the UI back, but got a message

Fatal server error:
Server is already active for display 0
If this server is no longer running, remove /tmp/.X0-lock and start again.

So - what did I do to get me the black prompt in the first place, and how do I get back to X?

share|improve this question
up vote 13 down vote accepted

You pressed Ctrl+Alt+Fn for some n, and you need to press Alt+F7 (usually) to get back.

share|improve this answer
You mean Ctrl+Alt+F7? – Michael Mrozek Apr 6 '11 at 4:49
@Michael: The text mode console usually wants Alt; X11 uses Ctrl+Alt because of programs that used Alt + F-keys (WordPerfect for Unix, back when, did that a lot). – geekosaur Apr 6 '11 at 4:52
Wow, you're right; I've always used Ctrl unnecessarily – Michael Mrozek Apr 6 '11 at 5:01

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.