I want to avoid starting up in GUI mode. I used to edit /etc/inittab but this does not existing anymore.

  • 2
    What OS are you using? This isn't related tot he Pi number but rather the OS.
    – Havnar
    Mar 8, 2016 at 15:40
  • Try init 3, it will change the runlevel to 3. init 5 will change it to 5.
    – pparas
    Feb 24, 2018 at 15:59

2 Answers 2


/etc/inittab does not exist anymore because last year, in sync with the upstream Debian source, Raspbian switched to using systemd in place of SysV as the init daemon.

Systemd does not use runlevels; the parallel concept would be targets although it is not in many cases an exact parallel (in this context it more or less is, however). Systemd is not specific to Raspian, Debian, or the pi and there is plenty of further reading you can do about it online.

Anyway, in this case

sudo systemctl set-default multi-user.target

Should get you what you want (console based login).

Added Aug/2016: Beware that at least some recent versions of Raspbian "-lite" may use graphical-target as the default despite the fact that the lite version does not include the GUI fundamentals and hence can only present a console login. Further, if you happen to notice this and change the target to multi-user, the system will fail to boot with most essential services running. In short someone who did not know what they were doing did something absurd, and hopefully it will get corrected...


Goldilocks comments are correct.

The easiest solution is to use raspi-config (or the GUI equivalent if already in GUI) to boot to the console.

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