Automatic login to virtual console

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This article describes how to automatically log in to a virtual console at the end of the boot process. This article only covers console log-ins; methods for starting an X server are described in Start X at Login.


Create a new service file similar to getty@.service by copying it to /etc/systemd/system/:

# cp /usr/lib/systemd/system/getty\@.service /etc/systemd/system/autologin\@.service
Note: /etc/systemd/system/ takes precedence over /usr/lib/systemd/system/.

Once created you can link the new autologin@.service to your chosen tty, e.g. tty1, tty2, [...] tty8, etc., by specifying it as an alias in the [Install] section of the unit file. Accordingly, change the value of ExecStart in autologin@.service:

ExecStart=-/sbin/agetty --noclear -a USERNAME %I 38400
Tip: It is possible to change Type=idle to Type=simple and avoid delaying the execution of agetty until all jobs (state change requests to units) are completed. This option is more useful when starting X automatically. See man systemd.service for more info.
Note: Type=simple can cause systemd boot-up messages to pollute the login prompt.

Finally, you need to disable the old getty@.service for the specified tty and enable the new autologin@.service for the same tty:

# systemctl daemon-reload
# systemctl disable getty@tty1
# systemctl enable autologin@tty1
# systemctl start autologin@tty1
Warning: If you are currently in an X session on the same tty configured in the service file, starting autologin@ttyX.service will kill your X server.

To avoid errors related to display-manager.service in dmesg, you should set the default target to multi-user instead of graphical:

# systemctl enable

(See also: Change default runlevel/target to boot into.)