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How To Disable Linux Console Screen Blank Out Feature?

After idle for some time, you will find the Linux console (screen) blank out or displays empty black screen – thanks to the “screen-save” feature (screensaver for text mode Linux console)!

In good old days, this screensaver is useful and indeed desperately needed to prevent phosphor burn-in on CRT computer monitors – the powered on monitor will “burn” if computer is not used (remains idle or still) for a prolonged period.

But, I don’t think it’s useful when running Linux on virtual machine (e.g. using VMWare Server or ESXi) or servers in modern data center (where single monitor linked up to multiple CPU using KVM switch and usually powered off manually after used by administrators who follow rule or aware of “goes green” initiative).
Personally, I find this feature troublesome (requires additional keystrokes or mouse movement) when it activates on virtual machine.

So, how to disable the Linux console screen blank out function (prevent the Linux screen shows empty, black screen)?

Well, the trick is simple as follow (tested with RHEL 5.2 running on virtual machine and boots up to runlevel 3):
  1. Open /etc/rc.local configuration file
  2. Append this line setterm -blank 0
  3. Save the file

After reboot Redhat Linux, that setterm command will disable blank screen effect to all virtual console (text mode screen displays that shown on the physical monitor, not the remote screen display on Putty or telnet application), whether there is a log-in session or not.

If you only want to prevent Linux screen blank out after user login, then just need to append that setterm command to login script ($HOME/.bash_profile) of respective users.

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  1. patricklbs 29-12-12@19:24

    Hi, Thanks, but I do not understand, where is stored the config file of screensaver ? Do u know where ?
    Thanks for reply.
    Patrick.

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