chvt - Linux


chvt is a Linux command used for switching between virtual consoles (VTs). VTs are independent terminal sessions that run concurrently on a single physical console.


chvt [options] <n>


  • -s: Switch to the specified VT without displaying the login prompt.
  • -f: Force the switch even if the specified VT is already in use.
  • -h: Display help and usage information.


  • Switch to VT 7:
chvt 7
  • Switch to VT 10 without displaying the login prompt:
chvt -s 10
  • Force a switch to VT 3, even if it is already in use:
chvt -f 3

Common Issues

  • Error: Invalid argument: Ensure you are specifying a valid VT number between 1 and 63.
  • Error: Permission denied: You may not have sufficient privileges to switch to the specified VT.
  • Stuck on a VT: If you are unable to switch back to your original VT, try using the Ctrl+Alt+F1 key combination.


chvt can be integrated with other commands to automate VT switching. For example:

  • Switch to VT 5 and execute a command:
chvt 5 && command
  • Create a script to cycle through VTs:
for i in $(seq 1 6); do
  chvt -s $i
  sleep 1

Related Commands

  • console: Displays the current VT number.
  • fgconsole: Switches to the foreground VT.
  • reset: Resets the current VT and displays the login prompt.