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Manual Pages  — VT


vt – virtual terminal console driver



options TERMINAL_KERN_ATTR=_attribute_ options TERMINAL_NORM_ATTR=_attribute_ options VT_MAXWINDOWS=N options VT_ALT_TO_ESC_HACK=1 options VT_TWOBUTTON_MOUSE options VT_FB_MAX_WIDTH=X options VT_FB_MAX_HEIGHT=Y options SC_NO_CUTPASTE device vt

In loader.conf(5): hw.vga.textmode=1 hw.vga.acpi_ignore_no_vga=1 kern.vty=vt kern.vt.color.<colornum>.rgb="<colorspec>" kern.vt.fb.default_mode="<X>x<Y>" kern.vt.fb.modes.<connector>="<X>x<Y>"

In loader.conf(5) or sysctl.conf(5): kern.vt.kbd_halt=1 kern.vt.kbd_poweroff=1 kern.vt.kbd_reboot=1 kern.vt.kbd_debug=1 kern.vt.kbd_panic=0 kern.vt.enable_bell=1


The vt device provides multiple virtual terminals with an extensive feature set:
Unicode UTF-8 text with double-width characters.
Large font maps in graphics mode, including support for Asian character sets.
Graphics-mode consoles.
Integration with KMS (Kernel Mode Setting) video drivers for switching between the X Window System and virtual terminals.

Virtual Terminals

Multiple virtual terminals are provided on a single computer. Up to sixteen virtual terminals can be defined. A single virtual terminal is connected to the screen and keyboard at a time. Key combinations are used to select a virtual terminal. Alt-F1 through Alt-F12 correspond to the first twelve virtual terminals. If more than twelve virtual terminals are created, Shift-Alt-F1 through Shift-Alt-F4 are used to switch to the additional terminals.

Copying and Pasting Text with a Mouse

Copying and pasting text from the screen with a mouse is supported. Press and hold down mouse button 1, usually the left button, while moving the mouse to select text. Selected text is highlighted with reversed foreground and background colors. To select more text after releasing mouse button 1, press mouse button 3, usually the right button. To paste text that has been selected, press mouse button 2, usually the middle button. The text is entered as if it were typed at the keyboard. The VT_TWOBUTTON_MOUSE kernel option can be used with mice that only have two buttons. Setting this option makes the second mouse button into the paste button. See moused(8) for more information.

Scrolling Back

Output that has scrolled off the screen can be reviewed by pressing the Scroll Lock key, then scrolling up and down with the arrow keys. The Page Up and Page Down keys scroll up or down a full screen at a time. The Home and End keys jump to the beginning or end of the scrollback buffer. When finished reviewing, press the Scroll Lock key again to return to normal use. Some laptop keyboards lack a Scroll Lock key, and use a special function key sequence (such as Fn + K) to access Scroll Lock.


Kernel Configuration Options

These kernel options control the vt driver.
  These options change the default colors used for normal and kernel text. Available colors are defined in <sys/terminal.h>. See EXAMPLES below.
  Set the number of virtual terminals to be created to N. The value defaults to 12.
  When the Alt key is held down while pressing another key, send an ESC sequence instead of the Alt key.
  If defined, swap the functions of mouse buttons 2 and 3. In effect, this makes the right-hand mouse button perform a paste. These options are checked in the order shown.
  Disable mouse support.
  Set the maximum width to X.
  Set the maximum height to Y.


Several options are provided for compatibility with the previous console device, sc(4). These options will be removed in a future FreeBSD version.
vt Option Name sc Option Name



The computer BIOS starts in text mode, and the FreeBSD loader(8) runs, loading the kernel. If hw.vga.textmode is set, the system remains in text mode. Otherwise, vt switches to 640x480x16 VGA mode using vt_vga. If a KMS (Kernel Mode Setting) video driver is available, the display is switched to high resolution and the KMS driver takes over. When a KMS driver is not available, vt_vga remains active.


These settings can be entered at the loader(8) prompt or in loader.conf(5).
  Set to 1 to use virtual terminals in text mode instead of graphics mode. Features that require graphics mode, like loadable fonts, will be disabled.

If a KMS driver is loaded the console will switch to (and remain in) graphics mode.

  Set to 1 to force the usage of the VGA driver regardless of whether ACPI IAPC_BOOT_ARCH signals no VGA support. Can be used to workaround firmware bugs in the ACPI tables. Note no VGA support is only acknowledged when running virtualized. There is too many broken firmware that wrongly reports no VGA support on physical hardware.
  Set this value to ‘vt’ or ‘sc’ to choose a specific system console, overriding the default. The GENERIC kernel uses vt when this value is not set.
kern.vt.color.colornum .rgb
  Set this value to override default palette entry for color colornum which should be in a range from 0 to 15 inclusive. The value should be either a comma-separated triplet of red, green, and blue values in a range from 0 to 255 or HTML-like hex triplet. See EXAMPLES below.

Note: The vt VGA hardware driver does not support palette configuration.

  Set this value to a graphic mode to override the default mode picked by the vt backend. The mode is applied to all output connectors. This is currently only supported by the vt_fb backend when it is paired with a KMS video driver.
kern.vt.fb.modes. connector_name
  Set this value to a graphic mode to override the default mode picked by the vt backend. This mode is applied to the output connector connector_name only. It has precedence over kern.vt.fb.default_mode. The names of available connector names can be found in dmesg(8) after loading the KMS driver. It will contain a list of connectors and their associated tunables. This is currently only supported by the vt_fb backend when it is paired with a KMS video driver.


These settings control whether certain special key combinations are enabled or ignored. The specific key combinations can be configured by using a keymap(5) file.

These settings can be entered at the loader(8) prompt or in loader.conf(5) and can also be changed at runtime with the sysctl(8) command.
  Enable halt keyboard combination.
  Enable power off key combination.
  Enable reboot key combination, usually Ctrl+Alt+Del.
  Enable debug request key combination, usually Ctrl+Alt+Esc.
  Enable panic key combination.


These settings can be entered at the loader(8) prompt, set in loader.conf(5), or changed at runtime with sysctl(8).
  Enable the terminal bell.


  virtual terminals
/etc/ttys terminal initialization information
  console fonts
  keyboard layouts


This example changes the default color of normal text to green on a black background, or black on a green background when reversed. Note that white space cannot be used inside the attribute string because of the current implementation of config(8).


This line changes the default color of kernel messages to be bright red on a black background, or black on a bright red background when reversed.


To set a 1024x768 mode on all output connectors, put the following line in /boot/loader.conf:


To set a 800x600 only on a laptop builtin screen, use the following line instead:


The connector name was found in dmesg(8):

    info: [drm] Connector LVDS-1: get mode from tunables:

    info: [drm] - kern.vt.fb.modes.LVDS-1

    info: [drm] - kern.vt.fb.default_mode

To set black and white colors of console palette




kbdcontrol(1), login(1), vidcontrol(1), atkbd(4), atkbdc(4), kbdmux(4), keyboard(4), screen(4), splash(4), syscons(4), ukbd(4), kbdmap(5), rc.conf(5), ttys(5), config(8), getty(8), kldload(8), moused(8), vtfontcvt(8)


The vt driver first appeared in FreeBSD 9.3 .


The vt device driver was developed by amp;Ed Schouten <Mt ed@FreeBSD.org>, amp;Ed Maste <Mt emaste@FreeBSD.org>, and Aleksandr Rybalko <Mt ray@FreeBSD.org>, with sponsorship provided by the FreeBSD Foundation. This manual page was written by Warren Block <Mt wblock@FreeBSD.org>.


Paste buffer size is limited by the system value { MAX_INPUT}, the number of bytes that can be stored in the terminal input queue, usually 1024 bytes (see termios(4)).

VT (4) July 21, 2022

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