Raspberry Pi Tricks: Disable Virtual Terminal Switching

(Originally posted April 5th 2016)

Part of my day job consists of contorting Raspberry Pi’s into things that we can use for our locations across the world, to either simplify a process, or have greater control of the devices operating system itself. Being that they can run a host of Linux based operating systems from Raspbian, to Arch, and even modified versions of those including Kodi. We run the whole lot. So naturally, I have seen some crazy challenges. Including but not limited too, disabling virtual terminal switching.

After searching and scouring the internet on how to do this, the general consensus is that, you must recompile the kernel. Good news, that is incorrect. Other forums unrelated to Raspberry Pi, notably the Ubuntu forums, say to add some snippet of code to the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file and it should do it. But this isn’t Ubuntu. Its technically Debian for ARM Processors.. and being that it works in a completely different way than even the most standard Linux OS’es, I wouldn’t blame them. This isn’t Ubuntu.

But, luckily for you, here is a nugget of gold from my experience.

One caveat though.. this is for Raspbian Wheezy. Jessie is still too much of a PITA for me and my recommendation as of now, so if you need this to work, use wheezy. Or try it on Jessie, let me know if it works there too. Here we go..


Use that. If it doesn’t exist, create it. Then add this in it:

Section “ServerFlags”
Option “DontVTSwitch” “true”

Viola. You have now successfully disabled the Virtual Terminal switching in Raspbian.

I have a slew of other tips and tricks for locking down Raspbian, so if you want more (stripping keybinds, webpage kiosks, etc), leave a comment and let me know you want a brain dump. Id be happy to share.

Leave a Comment