11 Fixes: Can’t Type In Terminal Issue In Linux

Did you open the Linux Terminal to draft a script file, but the terminal keeps freezing or doesn’t recognize what you are typing? Using terminal commands is the most effective way to navigate all Linux distributions. 

Cant type in terminal issue linux featured image

Even the best tools have their drawbacks. This article will explore easy remedies to fix the Cant Type in Terminal issue Linux devices.

Why Can’t You Type in Linux Terminal?

Why you can't type in linux terminal

The BASH shell provided by Linux is the most potent terminal ever to exist, which is more functional than the PowerShell by Microsoft.

Linux power users face issues where some keyboard keys aren’t recognized or different control characters are misplaced while using the terminal.

After analyzing some of the best answers to the question feed provided by the online community, here are a few reasons why the “Can’t type in Terminal” issue occurs in Linux:

  • The terminal window might not be selected or running in the Read-Only mode while you are typing commands.
  • Due to some unknown entry in the Terminal configuration files, the terminal might discard any keypress or misunderstand a control character. 
  • As a security measure, the terminal cursor will not show keyboard characters while typing passwords in a login shell.
  • Background processes or tasks running in another terminal window might force the current one to freeze due to heavy hard disk usage.
  • Some built-in text editors of Linux, e.g., vim, don’t display what you are typing while in command mode.
  • A faulty keyboard or other hardware failures might give rise to the can’t type in terminal issue in Linux.

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

  1. Check If The Linux Terminal Window Is In Focus
  2. Check If You Are Typing A Password On A Login Prompt
  3. Restart The Linux Terminal
  4. Check For Interruption From Background Operations
  5. Turn Off the Read-Only Mode
  6. Check For Failure While Using Linux via SSH Connection
  7. Check and Edit The .inputrc System File
  8. Close Other Running Apps To Ease Hard Disk Load
  9. Ensure Proper Connectivity of the Keyboard And Other Input Device
  10. Hard Reset Terminal Configuration Files
  11. Restart The Linux Operating System

1. Check If The Linux Terminal Window Is In Focus

While multitasking, you might face the Can’t type in terminal issue on Linux simply because the terminal window where you intend to send the keyboard signal is not selected / out of focus.

Click Terminal to bring it back into focus
  • Before typing any commands, click once on your terminal window to select it and give proper clarification to Linux about where you want to write.
Pop-up notification put terminal out of focus
  • The constant interference of certain apps running in the background is another probable cause of this issue. Find out whether a pop-up window is keeping the terminal out of focus.
  • Due to unseen window management rules, KDE Terminals often face the Cant Type in Terminal issue on Linux.
  • Such a rule could never give your terminal focus, place it in a preset location, or minimize it automatically.
Open Special Application Settings from Terminal Settings
  • To view these rules, right-click on the title bar of the Terminal window > More Actions > Special Application Settings.
Uncheck everything inside Size & Position tab
  • Ensure all the checkboxes in the Size & Position tab remain unticked.
Enable Focus protection and focus stealing prevention in Appearance & Fixes
  • Head to Appearance & Fixes and enable Focus stealing prevention and Focus protection.
Change their mode to Remember
  • Select Remember for each.
Click OK to Save changes
  • Press OK to Exit.

2. Check If You Are Typing A Password On A Login Prompt

Facing the Can’t Type in Terminal Issue in Linux is normal if you are typing a password:

  • Due to privacy concerns, Linux doesn’t display the password on the terminal while you are trying to use a command using superuser authentication, e.g., sudo nano /etc/hosts.
  • While inputting a password elsewhere may display asterisks or dots, the Linux terminal will display nothing as a rigorous security measure.
Password not visible in terminal
  • To bypass this situation, enter the password at the login shell and press Enter.
Force close password portal using Ctrl + C
  • If your password is incorrect, press Ctrl + Z or Ctrl + C to stop the process in any type of terminal.

3. Restart The Linux Terminal

The Can’t Type in Terminal issue might occur using the Linux terminal emulation through the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) subsystem. A simple terminal restart will fix this issue:

Close the Linux Terminal using exit
  • Close the terminal window by clicking the Exit button at the top-right corner.
  • You can also type exit in the terminal and press Enter.
Launch WSL from PowerShell
  • Relaunch the terminal using the wsl command in PowerShell or launch the installed Linux kernel from the Start Menu.

4. Check For Interruption From Background Operations

We often underestimate how long specific tasks would take to complete. After executing a command, if your terminal seems stuck and no longer responds to key signals, it may not have finished its previous task:

Pause background task using Ctrl + Z
  • Click on the non-responding terminal and press the Ctrl + Z keys together to pause any running or pending task.
Use bg to resume background task
  • If your terminal recovers from the freeze, execute the bg command to resume the task in the background.
Use Ctrl + C to terminate the running process
  • You can also press Ctrl + C to stop the running process and exit the application. Forcefully closing will delete any unsaved work.

5. Turn Off the Read-Only Mode

The gnome-terminal used by Ubuntu provides a read-only mode, which can result in the Cant Type in Terminal issue on Linux:

  • Enabling the read-only mode will discard any keyboard signal on the terminal.
Disable Read-Only mode in Terminal window
  • You can disable it by clicking on the Menu icon on the terminal title bar and toggling off the Read-Only feature.

6. Check For Failure While Using Terminal via SSH Connection

While using the Linux shell remotely through an SSH connection, any network failures or abrupt aborting of a session might cause the Linux terminal to freeze or not be able to see what you are typing:

  • Execute “~.” or use the Ctrl + D combination to terminate the active SSH session. Log in again using your credentials.
Use stty sane to reset SSH session configurations
  • Type stty sane and press Enter. This stty command will return all terminal settings to their default value.
  • If the terminal still keeps freezing, restart your host computer or router.
  • Contact your ISP to find any connectivity issue if the terminal behaves abruptly or keeps responding momentarily.

7. Check and Edit The .inputrc System File

If you can type in the terminal, but just some characters won’t show up, your “.inputrc” Terminal configuration file may be corrupt.

  • In the past, you may have accidentally filtered out some characters because of a mistyped parameter.
  • For example, using bind TAB:menu-complete instead of just TAB:menu-complete will ignore keyboard signals of the letter “b” since “bind” is not a recognized keyword in the .inputrc file.
Find unnatural entries inside inoutrc fle
  • Use any Linux editor to check “~/.inputrc” and “/etc/inputrc”. Remove anything you had typed before or any character that feels out of the ordinary, and save it.

8. Close Other Running Apps To Ease Hard Disk Load

Multitasking on the Linux device might seem easy, but running many resource-intensive applications simultaneously can cause the Can’t Type in terminal Issue in Linux.

Close intensive applications using Ctrl + C
  • You can always exit the tasks that are not responding or take too much time by pressing the Ctrl + C shortcut keys.

9. Ensure Proper Connectivity of the Keyboard And Other Input Device

It’s hard to believe in the most plausible explanation, but not being able to type in the Linux terminal might result from a faulty connection between the keyboard and the USB serial port or damaged keyboard keys:

  • Plug in any external keyboard and try typing in the terminal.
  • The issue lies in the faulty keyboard if you can type successfully now.
  • Consult a PC technician to find the problems with your internal keyboard.

10. Hard Reset Terminal Configuration Files

Resetting the terminal settings to default values is often the best solution to fix the Can’t Type in Terminal Issue in Linux.

Reset Linux Terminal using reset
  • When the terminal is open, type reset and press Enter.
Reset specific characters inside Linux terminal
  • You can also execute the reset -c command to simply reset the characters responsible for this issue.

11. Restart The Linux Operating System

As a final option, restart Linux entirely. The issue may have nothing to do with the terminal. Something else might have caused the system to freeze. If all other solutions have failed, restart the whole system, not just the terminal instance.

Restart Linux
  • Type reboot in the terminal and press Enter.


Although the Can’t Type in Terminal issue in Linux might look challenging to fix, we hope the solutions given in this article will help you return to your script-writing task in no time.

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Abdul Rahim has been working in Information Technology for over two decades. Learn how Abdul got his start as a Tech Blogger , and why he decided to start this Software blog. If you want to send Abdul a quick message, then visit his contact page here.