When I boot my system, I can see the boot messages on my physical console tty1. After my X server has started, I can switch back to tty1 with CTRLALT+F1, and still see the output on the console. There is no getty running, because I have commented out the following line in /etc/inittab:

#1:2345:respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty1

However, I am not able to scroll back in the console, nothing works, and even enter does not do anything. I would like to scroll back, to see the earlier boot messages (output of init scripts, which I cannot see in dmesg)

I am using Debian and SysVinit as my init

1 Answer 1


It's not possible and it has never been possible AFAIK. This is well explained in the Linux keyboard and console HOWTO: the console display history uses the video memory witch is flushed when you switch console.

Upon changing virtual consoles, the screen content of the old VT is copied to kernel memory, and the screen content of the new VT is copied from kernel memory to video memory. Only the visible screen is copied, not all of video memory, so switching consoles means losing the scrollback information.

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