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Re-enable Ctrl-Alt-Backspace to restart X in Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope

24 April 2009 18,942 views 23 Comments

The Ctrl-Alt-Backspace key combination which was used to restart X was disabled by default in Ubuntu 9.04. In order to re-enable this key combo, run the following command in your terminal windowCanada:

sudo aptitude install dontzap && sudo dontzap โ€“d

Please note: I had to install the program “dontzap” prior to this command working, so I have added that to the line of code above to make life easier for you!

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  • a said:

    two dashes on disable…posted today and google already indexed…nice!

  • cJ (author) said:

    @a – hmm.. It was showing up with two dashes for me, so I pulled it up on another system, and saw what you were talking about.. It is fixed now. Thanks for the heads up!

  • ExAstris said:

    Really helpful, thanks.

    I’m a little upset, TBH, that Ubuntu decided to disable this by default. I always think that the more control given to the user, the better ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Nenad said:

    Why did they disable CtrlAltBkspace in the first place… Thank a lot, Chris, much appreciated!!

  • cJ (author) said:

    @Nenad I believe I remember reading something that people who are new to Ubuntu would hit this key combo by mistake.. I do agree that I don’t like the fact that it was changed, but atleast there is a quick and easy fix.

  • Re-enable Ctrl-Alt-Backspace to restart X in Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope | Ubuntu-News - Your one stop for news about Ubuntu said:

    […] The Ctrl-Alt-Backspace key combination which was used to restart X was disabled by default in Ubuntu 9.04. In order to re-enable this key combo… More here […]

  • Johannes said:

    Thanks a lot – very useful!
    I’ll integrate it in the Ubuntu “Jaunty” guide I’m writing ๐Ÿ™‚

  • hippie said:

    I don’t think it was changed by Ubuntu. It was a change made by Xorg. Not for sure though, just what I heard.

  • Innocent ByStander said:

    Any one knows what is the reason for Ubuntu 9.04 to disable such a well known key stroke?

  • anonimous said:

    Actually it is not a decision of Ubuntu but a change in the X server.

  • John said:

    Hi, I followed your instructions and it acted like it was working. I had to type exit to get out of terminal (another bug). The key combo doesn’t work still.

  • Joonas said:

    If you copy+paste the command, there’s a bug with the dashes in –disable. Just run sudo dontzap -d in the terminal after the installation.

  • Dustin said:

    This just adds the following to your /etc/X11/xorg.conf which you can just copy-paste:

    Section “ServerFlags”
    Option “DontZap” “False”

    Then just logout and log back into desktop (causes restart) and CTL-ALT-BACKSPACE should immediately kill X, no questions asked.

  • Kirrus said:

    Instead of using don’t zap, try using Alt GR – SysRq – K instead. It does things a little more kindly than Ctrl-Alt-Backspace ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Morris said:

    THANK YOU for this.

    Whoever made the decision to remove this feature needs to have their head examined. (for thinking nothing can go TU with your X-Server)

  • Morris said:

    NM, I found the culprit:


    How the hell do you do a three finger salute by accident?

  • Chris Brunner said:

    Thanks so much, Chris! This was exactly what I was looking for.

    I wish Ubuntu would stop messing with age-old defaults like this one.

  • Galaphile said:

    worked great, thanks. Though it’s beyond me why they disable this feature in the first place.

  • Mike said:

    The real problem I see in disabling this command is that some software hangs the user interface, and the only way to get back is a cold start of the system — a VERY BAD way to recover from a user interface hang. Thanks for this fix.

  • matt mcinvale said:

    thanks thanks! had to restart my primary system because x failed. tried all the keyboard shortcuts that i could, but nothing worked. i’ll give this a shot when it’s back up. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • zid said:

    I _want_ X to stop when I press ctrl-alt-backspace in my ubuntu 8.04.
    How do I make it stop rebooting automatically.



  • Alex said:

    Hey, have a look a https://wiki.ubuntu.com/X/Config/DontZap !


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