My computer has an ATI card, which supports 3D, but doesn't refresh the screen properly.
This is because I use the classic session on 11.04 instead of Unity. That's OK.

But when I start a Guest Session, the Unity-based session starts automatically, because this are the default settings for new users.

So, is there any way to change the session to start by default?
(So the classical GNOME desktop gets launched instead of Unity)

  • @people who answered: All the answers are great, so I'm not sure which one to accept. I think I will accept Marky's. Thanks for answering! Aug 29 '11 at 14:55

Changing the default is done through Login Screen Settings. At the bottom there is a drop-down list that lets you set the default. I'm not sure if this affects guest sessions too. Let me try it out and I'll update this post.

edit: Yeah it changes the guest session too. I guess it would've been obvious since you need to unlock it with admin privs. For some reason it doesn't work until a restart though.


You can also try to change your ~/.dmrc file to:


This will change your personal account's default session.

If you want to change the default for the guest session, you should try to change the file
/usr/share/xsessions/guest-restricted.desktop to:

Exec=/usr/share/gdm/guest-session/Xsession gnome-session --session=gnome
  • Not saying that the above is wrong but this doesn't work for me. I instead edited /usr/share/xsessions/guest-restricted.desktop. In the said file, change the value of Exec to: /usr/share/gdm/guest-session/Xsession gnome-session --session=gnome
    – Marky
    Jun 11 '11 at 9:55
  • Sorry, that was a typo. You were referring to the guest session ;-) I just saw it and edited my anwser.
    – Pavlos G.
    Jun 11 '11 at 13:38
sudo mv /usr/share/xsessions/guest-restricted.desktop /usr/share/xsessions/guest-restricted-old.desktop
sudo ln -s /usr/share/xsessions/gnome-2d.desktop /usr/share/xsessions/guest-restricted.desktop
  • Welcome to AskUbuntu! +1 Good catch, vito. Aug 29 '11 at 14:49

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