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This is a question in general. Sometimes when using Natty, the interface freezes like the keyboard works but the mouse does respond. In which case pressing Ctrl+Alt+F1 puts me at the terminal. However I do not know how to load the GUI and Unity and continue using Ubuntu. At present I just shutdown properly and restart.

I have no expertise in this regard, which is probably why some of the terms I use could be wrong. Please correct me if necessary.

How do I restart the Xserver or GUI(Gnome and Unity) when I press Ctrl+Alt+F1?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

There are a few ways to do this. My personal favourite is to login to the F1 text console as yourself. Then type

sudo service gdm restart

This should kill you previous X server and restart it. Sometimes it fails to kill properly, but it will start another X server on tty8 (CTRL + ALT + F8)

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You can restart X in 2 different ways staying at graphical tty (i.e. tty7).

  • First you can try

    Ctrl + Alt + Backspace

(this shortcut isn't enabled by default. To enable, go to Menu > System > Preferences > Keyboard > Layout > Options > Key sequence to kill X server).

  • If it doens't work you can use the kernel to do this. The "shortcut" is:

    Sys Rq + Alt + K

    (or for laptops:

    Fn + Sys Rq + Ctrl + Alt + K)

For reference, see Wikipedia: Magic SysRq key.

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If you can use ALT+F2 you can try "unity --replace" OR "unity --reset-icons"

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No, unity --resets will remove all user configurations of unity. I think you meant unity --replace instead. – nik90 Apr 21 '11 at 5:42
I think you mean unity --replace which starts a new program in place. – poolie Apr 21 '11 at 7:37

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