51

I would like to implement a keyboard shortcut to restart gnome-shell whenever this one crashes (some bugs aren't currently fixed just yet). For this I would need a command line to restart the shell.

The Alt+F2 and restart command won't work when the shell is crashed because the prompt is implemented in the shell.

Hence, how to restart the gnome-shell from command line?

  • NOTE: Alt+F2 and restart will stop all the running programs. (I still don't know how to restart the GUI without stopping the programs.) – Andriy Makukha Aug 17 '18 at 6:38
48

The command to replace the gnome-shell would be gnome-shell --replace.

From the manual page of gnome-shell:

--replace             Replace the running window manager
  • 2
    Thanks I wasn't sure --replace = "restart". – Benjamin Jan 31 '12 at 15:56
  • 4
    As of GNOME Shell 3.30.1 on Ubuntu 18.10, this solution no longer works, and will kick the user to the login screen, losing all their work. The correct solution is now commandline: "killall -3 gnome-shell", or ALT+f2 and r (if possible). – C.Rogers Nov 15 '18 at 10:48
  • 1
    ALT+f2 (show command prompt) + gnome-shell --replace will work nicely in 18.04. All running programs won't be stopped. – lifeisfoo Jun 10 at 12:42
  • I add the ampersand to the end of the command to put the process in the background so I can close the terminal without killing gnome-shell: gnome-shell --replace & – Teddy Oct 4 at 13:01
  • WARNING: gnome-shell --replace on my Ubuntu 19.10 machine caused most running applications to close and gnome-shell to enter a problem state with a white screen and a prompt to restart the computer. – Sparr Nov 6 at 17:20
31

The easiest way is to Alt+F2 and type r then .

  • 5
    That is true, but exactly not the question. The question then is: what happens when you do this. So that you can do it yourself – sehe Jan 21 '17 at 11:34
  • 4
    As of GNOME Shell 3.30.1 on Ubuntu 18.10, and commandline: "killall -3 gnome-shell" are the only solutions posted here that work. All others kick the user out to login screen, losing all their work. – C.Rogers Nov 15 '18 at 10:49
  • 1
    Tried this on debian buster. Getting "Restart is not available on wayland" error. – livinston Aug 14 at 21:49
27

You can also do a killall -3 gnome-shell.

  • 2
    I don't know why people keep recommending this command. All this does is kill gnome-shell. How have you answered the question of restarting it? – smac89 May 30 '18 at 16:42
  • 1
    Probably because this is a good solution where the other command doesn't work. I tried both, the choosen one is good but didn't solve my problem, while this did. – Mitro Nov 5 '18 at 10:00
  • 2
    As of Ubuntu 18.10, GNOME Shell 3.30.1 - THIS IS THE CORRECT SOLUTION. All other solutions restart the session and kick the user out to the login screen, losing all their work. – C.Rogers Nov 15 '18 at 10:44
  • 3
    SIGQUIT (3) doesn't kill the process – Jack Wasey Jan 1 at 11:22
  • This seemed to work for me. Whereas I was using gnome-shell --replace & before. It worked but, kept running in the terminal. The issue I was having was with Youtube videos in full screen somehow causing Dash-to-Dock and the panel to freeze closed. github.com/micheleg/dash-to-dock/issues/… – Natetronn Apr 18 at 23:48
5

The command should just be gnome-shell --replace.

  • 3
    As of GNOME Shell 3.30.1 on Ubuntu 18.10, this solution no longer works, and will kick the user to the login screen, losing all their work. The correct solution is now commandline: "killall -3 gnome-shell", or ALT+f2 and r (if possible). – C.Rogers Nov 15 '18 at 10:50
  • doesn't work for a remote session, so when gnome shell has frozen, this doesn't work. – Jack Wasey Jan 1 at 11:21
5

In case the whole gnome-shell got frozen there is a way how to restart it from the terminal without restarting the whole X window:

  • Ctrl+Alt+F2 to switch to terminal
  • log in with your credentials (username and password) and then run:
  • DISPLAY=:0 gnome-shell -r &
  • log out exit and
  • Alt+F1 to switch back to graphical interface X Window.
1

I came up with this function to logout users (see at the bottom)

It assumes

  • you have sudo permissions
  • you have bash
  • the users have 1 running X session (although you should be able to issue the same logout command multiple times to get rid of remaining sessions)

You can give it multiple usernames:

logout john jane mike elisa

And you can give it additional options:

logout john --force

So, I have the following helper function:

function forcelogout() {
    logout "$@" --no-prompt --force
}

Notes:

  • This is a blunt instruments and works by just copying the entire session environment. This could be more selective.
  • Sometimes logout seems to take a while
  • In rare occasions the session keeps being reported until someone visits the vt where the session ran, but nothing is there anymore)

CODE

function logout() {
    local USERNAME
    export USERNAMES=( ) 
    while [ -n "$1" ]; do case "$1" in
        -* ) break ;;
        *) USERNAMES+=( "$1" ); shift ;;
    esac; done

    for USERNAME in "${USERNAMES[@]}"; do
        local SESSION_PID=$(pgrep -fu "$USERNAME" gnome-session|head -1)
        if [ -n "$SESSION_PID" ]; then
            (
                sudo -u "$USERNAME" cat "/proc/$SESSION_PID/environ" | xargs -0 -n 1 echo export
                echo "gnome-session-quit --logout $@"
            ) | sudo -u "$USERNAME" sh -;
        fi
    done
}
1

I defined an alias: alias gnomeshellrestart='echo "gnome-shell --replace -d" $(w| grep "$USER"| awk "{print \$3}"|grep ":"|head -1)| at now'

You may be able to start a terminal by right-clicking with the mouse on background and type there (alt-tab is dysfct then, too), if not, login to a tty with e.g. ctrl-alt-F2 and run from there.

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