Virtual Consoles and the Installation Program

By Doug Lowe

Linux is inherently a command-line–oriented OS. Graphical user interfaces — including the installation program’s GUI — are provided by an optional component called X Window System. However, while you’re working with the GUI of the installation program, Linux keeps several additional command-line consoles open. Normally, you don’t need to use every one of these consoles during installation. However, if something goes wrong during installation, these consoles may be useful:

  • Console 1: The Installation dialog box. This is the main installation console. You see it when Setup first starts. After the GUI takes over, it’s hidden in the background. You can call it up by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F1.
  • Console 2: Shell prompt. This console provides you with a shell prompt, from which you can enter Linux commands. If you need to do something manually during installation, you can do it from this console. The keyboard shortcut is Ctrl+Alt+F2.
  • Console 3: Install log. This console lists messages generated by the installation program. You can get to it by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F3.
  • Console 4: System log. This console displays system-related messages. You can get to it by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F4.
  • Console 5: Other messages. Still more messages may appear in this console, which you can open by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F5.
  • Console 6: X graphical display. This is the console where the GUI of the installation program is displayed. If you use a Ctrl+Alt keyboard combination to view any of the other logs, press Ctrl+Alt+F7 to return to the installation GUI.