Tech Tip: Restore Ctrl-Alt-Backspace in Ubuntu


In the last release of Ubuntu (9.04) the Ctrl+Alt+Backspace key sequence normally used to kill the X server was disabled by default. Apparently many people like to kill their X server this way so a workaround "dontzap" package was used to enable it. With the latest Ubuntu release (9.10, aka Karmic) it's even simpler to enable it.

To enable Ctrl-Alt-Backspace in latest Karmic release simply go to:

   System –>
     Preferences –>
       Keyboard –>
         Layout (Tab) –>
           Layout Options –>
             Key sequence to kill the X server –>
               (Tick) Control + Alt + Backspace.


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Ctrl-Alt-Backspace (kill

Anonymous's picture

Ctrl-Alt-Backspace (kill current X) doesn't always work. Alt-SysRq-K (kill current VT) should be more reliable (and is enabled by default), though sometimes it doesn't work either.


scjacksonATlinuxDOTcom's picture

Thanks for the handy tip. I hated that in 9.04 they disabled it so I had to go in and do some vi work to re-enable it. I just threw on a fresh install of 9.10 and forgot how I did it last time so this tech tip is very timely and practical for me. Thanks!