The terminal remains the primary means for the majority of Linux users to interact with their computers. Nothing is perfect, however, and sometimes even the terminal may stop responding or ignore your input. If your terminal freezes and you cannot type on the terminal, here are some of the most common causes and their solutions.
Is the window clear?
There is a small chance that your problem will be easy to solve: Is the terminal window active?
If the terminal window is not active, not everything you type will appear on it.
Another possible source of this problem can be some background apps that continually steal focus. Check if, for example, you have a pop-up notification that might distract from your device.
Finally, if you are using KDE, there is a minimal risk of an incorrectly configured window management rule. Such a rule could, for example, never give focus to your terminal or make it appear in a predefined position, with an unusable size, or even automatically minimize itself.
Are you entering a password?
If your device seems frozen while you try to enter a password, don’t worry, it’s normal! You may be used to seeing asterisks or dots elsewhere when typing in a password, but on the terminal it won’t display anything.
So you can ignore that the terminal seems frozen, type your password and hit enter.
Something is already running in the background?
Some processes are taking much longer than expected. If your terminal seems frozen and does not respond to input after entering a command, it may not have completed what it was supposed to do.
Try to press Ctrl + WITH in your unresponsive terminal to suspend any active task. If your terminal works after that, you know the cause of the problem. You can run the app in the background by typing
Alternatively, by pressing Ctrl + VS, it will send a stop signal and try to quit the application. Stopping the app will obviously also prevent it from doing what it was supposed to do.
Is it a remote shell?
If you are connected to a remote shell over SSH, a frozen terminal is often caused by a connection problem. For example, if you connect to a VPN, the current SSH session will stop responding.
The fix is simple: try to end your session remotely and reconnect. If that doesn’t work, check your internet connection or your firewall.
If none of that works, try restarting your computer and your router.
Is your problem a little different, in that you can log in, but your terminal freezes after a while? It is (probably) a connection problem. The difference is, there isn’t much you can do in such cases: it’s probably the network infrastructure that is to blame.
In such cases, you can only contact your ISP, explain your problem, and ask if there is a workaround. The solution could be as simple as replacing your existing modem / router with a new one, or in the worst-case scenario, replacing a problematic piece of wiring somewhere between your home and your ISP.
Is the problem only with a few letters?
If you can type into your terminal, but only specific letters refuse to appear, maybe your
.inputrc the configuration was somehow corrupted. You may have entered a parameter incorrectly in the past, which ended up filtering out specific characters.
Use your favorite text editor to check “~ / .inputrc” and “/ etc / inputrc” for any incorrectly entered parameters.
As to what you should be looking for, unfortunately, this is where we can’t help, as we don’t know what you typed before. Maybe checking your Bash and sudo history would help.
Restarting the terminal
If you’ve tried everything so far, but your device is still unresponsive, you might want to try resetting it to its default settings.
You can also try another terminal app, like Tilix.
Have you checked the keyboard cable?
We left the most obvious possible cause for last because it seems oddly impossible. How could someone not notice that the whole keyboard is not working? And yet, it has happened before! Check your keyboard cable to see if it’s loose or if your keyboard is faulty, which is why you can’t type into the terminal.
These are some of the more common issues that can prevent a terminal from responding and ways to resolve them. If you have a problem opening the terminal, here are the fixes.
Is this article useful?