How to Fix Can’t Type in Terminal Issue in Linux

When the terminal doesn't show what you type, you know you have a problem.

How To Fix Cant Type In Terminal Issue In Linux Featured

The terminal remains the primary way the majority of Linux users interact with their computers. Nothing is perfect, though, and sometimes even the terminal can stop responding or ignore your input. If your Terminal freezes and you can’t type on the terminal, here are some of the most prevalent causes and their solutions.

Is the Window in Focus?

There is a slight chance your problem could be easy to fix: is the terminal window active?

If the terminal window is not in focus, anything you type won’t appear on it.

Another possible source for this problem can be some background applications that continuously steal the focus. Check if, for example, you have a pop-up notification that could take the focus away from your terminal.

Finally, if you’re using KDE, there’s a minimal chance of a poorly set up window-management rule. Such a rule could, for example, never give focus to your terminal or have it show up in a predefined position, with an unusable size, or even minimizing automatically.

Cant Type In Terminal Kde Window Settings

Are You Entering a Password?

If your terminal looks frozen while you’re trying to enter a password, don’t worry, as that’s normal! You may be used to seeing asterisks or dots elsewhere while typing a password, but on the terminal, it will show nothing.

Can’t Type In Terminal Passwords

Thus, you can ignore that the terminal looks frozen, type your password, and press Enter.

Is Something Already Running in the Background?

Some processes take a significantly longer amount of time to complete than we originally anticipated. If your terminal looks frozen and doesn’t respond to input after entering a command, it may not have finished what it was supposed to.

Try pressing Ctrl + Z in your non-responding terminal to suspend any active task. If your terminal works after that, then you know the cause of the issue. You can make the application run in the background by typing bg.

Alternatively, by pressing Ctrl + C, it will send a stop signal and try to exit the application. Stopping the app will obviously also prevent it from doing what it was supposed to be doing.

Is It a Remote Shell?

If you are connected to a remote shell using SSH, a frozen terminal is often due to a connection problem. For example, if you connect to a VPN, the current SSH session will become unresponsive.

The fix is simple: try terminating your remote session and logging in again. If that doesn’t work, check your Internet connection or Firewall.

If none of this works, try rebooting your computer and router.

Is your problem somewhat different, in that, you can connect, but your terminal freezes after some time? That’s (probably) a connection problem. The difference is that, in such cases, there’s not much you can do: it’s probably the network infrastructure that’s to blame.

In such cases, you can only contact your Internet provider, explain your problem, and ask if there’s any way around it. The solution could be as easy as swapping out your existing modem/router for a new one, or, in a worst-case scenario, replacing some piece of problematic cabling somewhere between your home and your Internet provider.

Is the Problem Only About Some Letters?

If you can type in your terminal, but it’s only specific letters that refuse to appear, maybe your .inputrc configuration was somehow corrupted. You may have mistyped a parameter in the past that ended up filtering out specific characters.

Use your favorite text editor to check out “~/.inputrc” and “/etc/inputrc” for any mistyped parameters.

Can’t Type In Terminal Inputrc

As to what you should look for, unfortunately, that’s where we can’t help, since we don’t know what you typed before. Maybe checking out your Bash and sudo history would help.

Terminal Reboot

If you’ve tried everything up to now, but your terminal is still unresponsive, you may want to reset it to its default settings.

Did You Check the Keyboard Cable?

The most obvious possible cause sounds outlandishly impossible. How could someone not notice the whole keyboard isn’t working? And yet, it’s happened before! Check your keyboard cable to see if it is loose or if your keyboard is faulty, which explains why you can’t type in the terminal.

Try a Blind Reset

When what you’re typing can’t be seen, it’s called blind typing. Since you can’t type in terminal in Linux, you can try a blind reset. You won’t see what you’re typing, so do it slowly to ensure you’re entering the correct letters.

How To Fix Cant Type In Terminal Issue In Linux Reset

With terminal open, type reset and hit Enter.

Alternately, you can type reset -c to just reset the characters responsible for your issue. Once again, this doesn’t always work, especially if everything is frozen.

Start Over Completely

As a last resort, restart Linux completely. The problem may not have anything to do with terminal at all. Something else could have hung up, freezing the system. If you’ve tried everything else, restart your system, not just the terminal instance.

You will lose anything you’ve been working on in terminal, but if you can’t type or proceed, you may not have any other choice.

Do You Have Too Much Running?

It’s easy to get busy and start multitasking. However, systems are only designed to handle so much at once. Check to see just how many different things you have running at one time. Closing out some of your more resource-intensive tasks could be all that’s necessary to solve your problem.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will any commands work if nothing’s appearing when I type?

Sometimes. Even if the terminal appears frozen, it may just be the screen itself. Anything you type may still work. A quick way to test this is to type stty sane and hit Enter. This is designed to restore your session to normal if it freezes up. While it doesn’t always work, it’s well worth trying. Remember, you won’t see what you’re typing.

2. I’ve typed my command, but nothing is happening. Is my terminal frozen?

Not necessarily. This issue often happens for those new to Linux or just as a simple accident when multitasking. Commands won’t process unless you hit Enter afterward. Otherwise, you wouldn’t get the chance to enter your full command before the system started processing it.

3. Why can’t I type anything after using the paste function?

In the terminal menu, Paste is right above Read-Only. If you accidentally turn on Read-Only, you won’t be able to type anything at all. This can also happen if you’re using someone else’s system and they’ve turned this mode on.

Simply open the terminal menu and turn off Read-Only. This should allow you to start typing again.

4. Why isn’t my terminal screen moving as I type?

You may think you have a typing issue in your Linux terminal if the screen doesn’t move once you reach the bottom of the window. However, the most common problem is the Scroll Lock key has been turned on. Press this key to turn off the feature.

5. Should I try another terminal app?

If you’re constantly having issues with the included terminal, you should consider trying some alternatives. Often, these work smoother and provide additional features. A few options to consider include:

Crystal Crowder
Crystal Crowder

Crystal Crowder has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as an IT technician and then as a writer. She works to help teach others how to get the most from their devices, systems, and apps. She stays on top of the latest trends and is always finding solutions to common tech problems.

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