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Looks like modding Gnome shell at usr/share/gnome-shell/theme is not a good idea. As a workaround, I tried copying the Adapta theme folder from usr/share/theme and placed a copy in .themes folder in the Home folder.

But after that when I edit the gnome-shell.css and placed an alternative image on the same folder, it won't change the background. It fetches whatever is available at usr/share/gnome-shell/theme folder. Why is it so ? I even placed an edited copy of ubuntu.css next to gnome-shell.css and in the root folder of the theme in .themes. But still whatever is in the gnome-shell/theme/ubuntu.css works. Is there any fix ?

I want to change the login screen user icon as well. It is more comfortable if I can do it through .themes folder. Thanks.

I changed this in ubuntu.css

#lockDialogGroup {
  background: #2c001e url(resource:///org/gnome/shell/theme/noise-texture.png);
  background-repeat: repeat; }

to

#lockDialogGroup {
  background: #2c001e url(unlock-background.jpeg);
  background-repeat: repeat; }
  • Please post (at least the relevant part of) your .css file to the question. A couple of questions: 1. did you use the absolute path to the image file? 2. Did you reboot/re-login after making changes? – pomsky Jan 21 at 7:39
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    Did you select the custom shell theme (e.g. using GNOME Tweaks)? – pomsky Jan 21 at 7:55
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    You need to have User Themes extension enabled to load a shell the from home directory: askubuntu.com/questions/141277/… Also you don't have to add the complete .css file, just add the part you modified and the corresponding unmodified part. – pomsky Jan 21 at 8:59
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    Okay, change your background url from background: #2c001e url(unlock-background.jpeg); to background: #2c001e url(file:///full/path/to/unlock-background.jpeg);. – pomsky Jan 21 at 9:16
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    IMO a per-user configuration of GDM doesn't make sense because, well, there is no user logged in before a user logs in, and there is no user specific context when switching users either. If two users had different custom GDM themes in their home folder, which one should be chosen? – danzel Jan 21 at 15:00

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