Disable Blank Console Screens for Ubuntu

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Leeland's picture

I have a number of Ubuntu servers that boot up in text mode (both VMs and physical boxes). Once they boot I usually access them via ssh sessions so almost never try to type to console directly. However, it is rather annoying to want to see what is being sent to the console because I have to click and hit a keyboard key. So I had to find a way to permanently disable the blank screen feature for the consoles.

Now when you are logged in this is simple to do just enter the command:

$ setterm -powersave off -blank 0

No more screen blanking. However, I need my servers to never blank regardless of sessions or logged in or not. Especially directly from boot when showing the basic login prompt.

The answer to this is to use the console-tools package that allows console options to be controlled. First you have to install them if they are not already present:

$ sudo apt-get install console-tools

To stop the screen blanking both the screen saver (BLANK_TIME setting) and the power management standby (POWERDOWN_TIME setting) settings need to be disabled. If these two settings are set to zero (0) in the file /etc/console-tools/config the features will be completely disabled. Alternatively a local settings file called /etc/console-tools/config.d/disable-blank-console can be created containing the following two lines to achieve the same affect.

POWERDOWN_TIME=0
BLANK_TIME=0

Actually you can name the file anything you want so long as the name consists of only upper/lower case letters, numbers, underscores, and hyphens.

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