On a Debian 9/stretch machine, I can switch from the GUI to the command line by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F4. After doing this... how do you switch back to the GUI?

I haven't found any key commands or terminal commands to achieve this goal, so I am stuck in the command line permanently after doing so. The only way I have found to return to the GUI is to reboot the machine using sudo reboot.

Is there anyway in Debian to switch back to the GUI from the command line without rebooting?

None of the answers seem to work from Command line to return to the GUI after Ctrl-Alt-F1?

2 Answers 2


Usually you may use alt+F7 for GUI switching

  • Confirmed Ctrl-Alt-F7 works.
    – Nate Houk
    Feb 19, 2020 at 10:53
  • It depends, And you can also do ctrl-alt-F7 (so you don't have to consider if you are in GUI or CLI mode). It may be F8 or F9 or any of them (but usually F7). Just try them. Feb 19, 2020 at 11:07

If using the Debian Installer (non-graphical/CLI version of the Installer), the keys are:

ALT+F1 = Installer GUI
ALT+F2 = Shell 1
ALT+F3 = Shell 2
ALT+F4 = syslog entries

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