Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have an Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Desktop PC with GNOME.

How can I fully disable the reboot/shutdown/suspend/hibernate functions in GNOME or even with root? So that the root gives out the "reboot" or "pm-suspend" command it doesn't do anything, and the machine goes on. How can I fully disable these basic "features"?

share|improve this question
I dunno? As a kiosk? you just remove shutdown and pm-suspend from /sbin/ and /bin/ – Amith KK Jan 7 '12 at 13:04
Those files could be in cache, no? Removing them will permanently disallow the reboot/shutdown/suspend/hibernation function even in GNOME? – LanceBaynes Jan 7 '12 at 13:13
Yes, it would probably do so @Lance Baynes – Amith KK Jan 7 '12 at 13:16
up vote 10 down vote accepted

User access to these actions are controlled by polkit. In particular, they correspond to the following actions:

  • org.freedesktop.consolekit.system.stop
  • org.freedesktop.consolekit.system.restart
  • org.freedesktop.upower.suspend
  • org.freedesktop.upower.hibernate

All of these actions are allowed by default for active local users (although consolekit further restricts the first two permissions to only work when there is a single user logged into the system).

If you want to disable these actions create a file /etc/polkit-1/50-local.d/disable-shutdown.pkla containing something like:

[Disable shutdown/whatever]

This should prevent those actions from completing. More information on these policy files can be found by running man pklocalauthority.

If you are trying to restrict root though, this will only be a minor inconvenience. By definition, root is an unrestricted account according to the traditional UNIX discretionary access control system. If you can't trust users you've given full root access to, then you've got bigger problems than them just shutting down the system.

Note that in later Ubuntu versions somebody decided to break compatibility. As answered in How to disable shutdown/reboot from lightdm in 14.04? the action seems to have changed to "org.freedesktop.login1.reboot" (and the-like).

For example in 14.04 adding the following lines as /etc/polkit-1/localauthority/50-local.d/restrict-login-powermgmt.pkla works:

[Disable lightdm PowerMgmt]

In addition note that this method block solely reboot/etc commands issued from GUI. To block reboot/etc commands from command line one may use molly-guard - as explained in Disabling shutdown command for all users, even root - consequences?

share|improve this answer
Stopped working here with Ubuntu 13.10 !!! – GabrieleV Jan 28 '14 at 21:03
@GabrieleV Maybe version with login1 works in 13.10? I tested it in 14.04 - and hopefully nobody at Canonical breaks backward compatibility in polkit in every release for fun. – Mateusz Konieczny Apr 16 at 15:04
chmod -x /usr/sbin/pm-suspend
chmod -x /sbin/reboot
chmod -x /sbin/shutdown
share|improve this answer
Can you substantiate your answer? I surely don't think he wanted to eliminate the possibilities of rebooting and shutting down. – viyyer Jan 10 '12 at 3:43
How could one re-enable hibernation this way? – Gabriel Fair Feb 5 '12 at 19:49
use "chmod +x" not "chmod -x" – LanceBaynes Feb 6 '12 at 17:58

Consider installing molly-guard.

sudo apt-get install molly-guard

This package will prevent unintended shutdown/reboot/suspend/hibernate by interactively prompting you to enter the hostname of the system.

However, it's trivial to configure molly-guard to completely disable shutdown/reboot/suspend/hibernate. Simply create an executable file at /etc/molly-guard/run.d/99-prevent-all that has this in it:

exit 1

Note it protects only against commands issued from command line, shutdown/reboot/suspend/hibernate issued from GUI is bypassing it. To block also GUI using reboot one may use polkit rules.

share|improve this answer
This is a good solution for a multi-user computer where the administrator needs to do work and prevent all the other users from shutdown for a while. – Alexis Wilke Jan 4 '13 at 5:51
Works from console, but even with molly-guard in place (and set to 'always ask') the shutdown proceeds without asking when initiating it from GNOME (3.4). – Jan Oct 13 '14 at 16:22
Yeah, this is not working anymore... Since 13.10, maybe 13.04. – Alexis Wilke Oct 17 '14 at 3:42

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.