How to boot Manjaro into text mode (text-only console mode) and troubleshoot at bootup (2018 tutorial)

You might have run into it. Issues at bootup. Sometimes you messed something up, but you know how to fix it. If only you had access to a terminal/console at bootup!

Look no further. Here's how to boot Manjaro into text mode, i.e. text-only console mode. (terminal)

Additionally a few useful tips are given to solve or work around potential issues.



1. Start up your computer and when you see the Grub screen, do the following:

2. In the Grub menu press the 'e' key to edit Grub's boot options.

3. Using your arrow keys, move the typing cursor to the end of the 'linux' (kernel) line and append a '3' at the end of the line (with a space before it).

4. Then press CTRL+X or F10 to save the changes for this bootup session and to boot the system into a console.

That's it. You will now boot into a console where you can log in with your username and password.



Additional tips:

5. Common issues that can cause problems during bootup are video driver issues. When booted into a console at bootup, you can uninstall and install graphics drivers as follows. Old drivers must always be uninstalled before installing new ones, otherwise you can get errors. Options are generally video-nvidia for non-free drivers, video-linux and video-vesa for free drivers:

# Remove a video driver
sudo mhwd -r pci video-nvidia

# Install a video driver
sudo mhwd -i pci video-linux

6. When wanting to boot into a GUI when being in the console at bootup, type the following.
You need to be logged in, in order to be able to do this:
sudo startx

7. Once in LightDM (your GUI login screen) or in XFCE you can use the CTRL+ALT+F2 keys and CTRL+ALT+F7 keys to switch between a console and a GUI.

8. Sometimes it can happen that Manjaro freezes at the splash screen (Plymouth) before booting into the console (or the GUI login screen). What you then can do is to repeatedly press F11 to go into verbose mode in order to avoid 'quiet splash' mode, which could be causing the issue. Verbose mode is the boot mode that shows any potential errors at bootup in text format instead of showing a splash screen.

9. Optionally, you can remove the 'quiet splash' boot option at the Grub menu when pressing 'e' and editing the Grub boot options. (this works for a single boot session)

10. To permanently turn off 'quiet splash', edit the following file /etc/default/grub as root and remove the words 'quiet splash'. Then uninstall and reinstall your kernels for the change to have an effect. And finally run the 'update-grub' command to save the changes to Grub's options:


Good tutorial! Some comments:

Why the sudo? You could just startx as user.

The subject matter is complex. Maybe direct user to help flag an man page?

You could mention that this is mostly an issue with older installations. Plymouth has been dropped for a long time now, and there is a new bootsplash implementation coming with next release.

I have never used a DM and do not know if this may change things, but on both my Manjaro desktop and Arch arm the GUI sits at tty1 and not tty7. Thus I need CTRL+ALT+F1 instead of CTRL+ALT+F7 to return to the GUI from the console (latter being any of tty2 - tty6).

One should also do an update-grub before rebooting, whenever you have made changes to /etc/default/grub .

It does change things. Lightdm defaults running xorg in tty7, gdm in tty2. Not sure what sddm uses. If you call startx directly, it uses the current tty. In bspwm edition logging in starts x in tty1, but autologin starts it in tty7.

Thanks for the insight.

Added it to the tutorial.


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