minicom on /dev/tty# – Ctl-A Z doesn't appear to work?

I have an old laptop (Dell Latitude D610) that I want to use as a serial terminal for some systems that require that, since this machine has a built-in RS-232 port. I have installed Debian 12 and minicom, but without graphical environment, so I login on the text console. However when I start minicom, Ctl-A Z doesn’t open the help menu – instead I just see z echoed and the cursor doesn’t move. In fact I have observed the same in screen, so this isn’t limited to minicom.

On my new laptop, I see the same phenomenon, but it works without problems in a GUI terminal on the same system, so it seems to be specific to the text mode consoles. Is there a setting somewhere that I can change to fix this issue?

Asked By: j4nd3r53n


The minicom help screen key binding is Ctrl-A Z with an uppercase Z. The symptoms you describe are consistent with pressing the keys Ctrl-A z with a lowercase/unshifted z.

screen uses Ctrl-A z to exit from a session while leaving the session running, which is a common thing to do. Perhaps your muscle memory has been remembering the screen keystroke sequence while you’re using minicom.

Answered By: Sotto Voce
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