Is there any way to make the login screen from a locked session (either by using Ctrl+Alt+L or from a screen timeout) look like the login screen when you're starting a new session? I hate that everything on the lock screen aside from the password input is black.

  • 1
    It's worth noting that in 11.10/Oneiric/GNOME3/whatever that the lock screen now uses your desktop background instead of a black screen.
    – zpletan
    Oct 25, 2011 at 19:11
  • In Gnome 3 things are a bit more complicated. Lock screen do use desktop background... But how to change it except replacing image files or editing xml's? Jan 10, 2013 at 0:18

5 Answers 5



You can't make the lock screen look like the login screen.

However, you can use a theme for the lock screen. There are quite a few available at gnome-look.org. Here's an example.



The answer may be a little bit late, but aside from setting the theme of the actual unlock dialog you can also set the background (i.e. the black space around the dialog) to whatever image you like. Just run the following command in the terminal:

sudo gconftool-2 --direct --config-source xml:readwrite:/etc/gconf/gconf.xml.defaults --set /desktop/gnome/background/picture_filename --type string /usr/share/backgrounds/Holes_by_FireCobold.jpg

Replace the last path in the command with the path to the image you desire to use. Do not forget to restart your desktop session (or try to restart gconfd-2 by killing it, at least).

EDIT: unless you configured the background of the login screen (e.g. via Ubuntu Tweak), the above command will also change it.

  • I've searched for a solution applicable to Gnome 3. Unfortunately this one isn't. Jan 10, 2013 at 0:13


This was planned 12.04 -here is the bug report. However, it did not make the final release.


If you are somewhat proficient at C and a little bit of GTK, it's possible to have the lock screen look like (but not be!) the login screen -- since your main concern seems to be the ugliness of the lock box?

You'd do this by modifying the sources of the gnome-screensaver package, which provides the lock screen.

For tips, please see the How did you figure this out? section at the end of this answer. The original question was about repositioning the lock-box to the bottom-left instead of the center. For what you want, you'd move it to the left, make the grey background transparent, and change the sizes of the username and "Password:" text appropriately.

From my experience, the code you need to change is most probably only in two files: gs-lock-plug.c and gs-windows-x11.c.

If you try this and have any questions, please ask in a comment and I'll try my best to point you in the right direction.


Light DM

This tweak works by replacing call to OnScreen Virtual Keyboard with that of LightDM. A better tweak would be to replace the call to Gnome ScreenSaver Lockscreen(Ubuntu's default LockScreen till Ubuntu 13.10) with one to Unity Greeter(Ubuntu's default Login Screen), but I couldn't find any way to do that.


Open Dconf Editor,select the schema org.gnome.desktop.screensaver,edit the variable embedded-keyboard-command and replace it's contents with

dbus-launch gdmflexiserver -xnest

, and then check embedded-keyboard-enabled for the same schema.

Shortcut Commands: For the Terminal lovers and lazy ones out there,you can do the above settings with just 2 commands:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.screensaver embedded-keyboard-command "dbus-launch gdmflexiserver -xnest"
gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.screensaver embedded-keyboard-enabled true

From now onwards, Ubuntu Login Screen (Unity Greeter) appears every time the system wake from either Screensaver (Lock Screen) or Suspend.

This method was provided by alina on the Ubuntu Discourse thread Wake from screensaver directly to the login screen. I'm using Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and this method works fine. May work on 12.10,13.04 and 13.10 too.

A limitation with this method is that you'll see the Gnome Screensaver LockScreen for a second before seeing Unity Greeter. Also, as Unity Greeter isn't designed for locking screen, it's not as fast and fluid as the default Lock Screen. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS will find a solution to these problems by using Light Locker instead of Gnome Screensaver LockScreen.

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