Since installing the latest build of Raspbian onto my Rasberry Pi 3, I've been getting the following error:

setterm: terminal xterm-256color does not support --blank setterm: cannot (un)set powersave mode: Inappropriate ioctl for device

I've found a couple of posts on this topic, but none have offered a solution to the issue. I've tried the solution listed here e.g. adding consoleBlank=0 to /boot/cmdline.txt, but to no avail. Also suggested here.

Within this thread the above solution is mentioned but also that this issue could be a general bug with latest version of Raspbian (or Debian).

Is there any thing left to try? Is this indeed a bug?

3 Answers 3


Not Raspberry Pi specific but I ended up here from Googling setterm: terminal xterm-256color does not support --blank

If you are ssh'd into your machine and trying to run the setterm command, you will need to physically be in front of the machine in a tty for the command to work. Hope this helps someone

  • 1
    this should be marked as the answer for this thread! Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 12:37

An xterm cannot possibly have support for power saving; you can't power-save part of the screen and have the rest be on!

  • Makes sense, but where can I change/find these settings? This warning appears immediately following a fresh installation of Raspbian.
    – frederickk
    Commented May 31, 2016 at 0:07
  • where does it appear? The boot console gets TERM=linux on Raspbian by default, as do all the vtys. Are you setting TERM in your .bashrc (or equivalent)?
    – JayEye
    Commented May 31, 2016 at 0:59
  • The above settermsimply appears as the first lines in the command line (desktop and cli mode). I haven't set anything as everything is default. After attempting the solutions listed in my initial post, I re-installed Raspbian just to make sure it wasn't something I had fiddled with. I came across this post which mentions that mucking with .bashrc isn't a proper solution (granted the article isn't Pi specific).
    – frederickk
    Commented May 31, 2016 at 3:32
  • what is running it? something must be setting your TERM variable to the value you are getting. I just tried a virgin jessie installation (the may 10 release) and i don't see anything like that.
    – JayEye
    Commented May 31, 2016 at 5:52
  • Sorry for the delay. After another reinstall, I think I've tracked the source of the error. It's not an issue with Jessie, but rather the error appears after installing openframe. The install for openframe appends the following BLANK_TIME=0 and POWERDOWN_TIME=0 to /etc/kbd/config
    – frederickk
    Commented Jun 12, 2016 at 2:39

I was able to turn off the display of the laptop by putting this command physically on to the machine and not via SSH:

setterm --blank force

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