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While logged in as a sudo user, click the right top power icon, then select and click Shutdown menu, it comes up with a dialog asking if I want to close all programs. The dialog has two options: restart or shutdown. Choose either one logs me out. Syslog has the following line about restart:

WARNING: Unable to restart system: Authorization is required

This happened after I installed NTP and some OpenStack packages while working in a prototype project. My Ubuntu's software is up to date as of this writing.

Anyone encountered the same problem in 12.04?

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What is logged in as sudo user? – Manish Sinha Apr 15 '12 at 15:53
"While logged in as a sudo user" I mean the default user created by Ubuntu installation. This user can run commands like "sudo ....". – jenls Apr 15 '12 at 16:17
Same problem here under 12.04 (Lenovo thinkpad x121e). Can only use command line to restart/shut down the computer. Side effect is that my wife considers me a geek now as I shut down my laptop like this. – HongboZhu Apr 18 '12 at 11:58
very bad bug, exists from 10.10 until now – pylover Nov 18 '13 at 2:57

Sadly this is a known bug in (probably) consolekit LP #838792

The workaround for the time is

sudo reboot

sudo shutdown now -P
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This should solve your problem:

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Following these websites information: and

Seems to have resolved our problems with the lightdm shutdown button not working for all users on Ubuntu 12.04.3 LTS (GNU/Linux 3.11.6-031106-generic x86_64)

vim /var/lib/polkit-1/localauthority/20-org.d/usershutdown.pkla

Then add the following lines to the file.

[Allow Shutdown]<br>

[Allow Restart]<br>

Then enter service lightdm restart and/or a reboot of the machine is needed. Tried before logging into the machine and then again after someone logged in.

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My workaround for this annoying little bug is this, I create a launcher with the following:

To Shutdown:
sudo shutdown -h

To Restart:
sudo shutdown -r

You will then be asked your super user password. I put this launcher on the desktop and use that until the bug is sorted out.

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its not a little bug, its a big bug – pylover Nov 18 '13 at 2:57

Maybe the problem is caused by the HSQLDB Server. I just filled a bug about it:


sudo apt-get remove hsqldb-server
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I had the same troubles - the guilty one was kalarm. After I disabled it, shutdown started to work properly again.

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How do you disable this? – Tim Aug 19 '14 at 21:27

A GUI resolution is to install Cairo-dock from the repository and click on the Shutdown button on that menu to shutdown or restart.

While using the terminal commands work. For some people, having to go to a terminal screen is at least, overly complicated, and also a lot of work.

I've been using this Gui workaround for the past 6 Ubuntu version releases.

This can be installed from the software center or cli:

$ sudo apt-get install cairo-dock
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