After installing 14.04 server, how could I get out from terminal and go to graphical?

  • I'm marking this as "unclear what you're asking" because even if I give the benefit of the doubt I have to assume there is a specific reason you wanted the server edition, rather than desktop, but you still wanted a graphical desktop - however you have not provided these reasons, nor have you provided the steps you have tried so far to install a desktop environment. Aug 22 '14 at 1:52
  • 1
    I assume it is possible to add the desktop part to a server install - so it's answerable, and the question makes sense because a beginner may just not expect that there is a Ubuntu version without the graphical part. Someone who does not really understand the term server, probably. Still not a reason to ignore the question, I think. Aug 22 '14 at 5:54

If you want to be able to enter a gui environment from the command line, first you need to install one... (pick one below)

sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends ubuntu-desktop    

sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends lubuntu-desktop

sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends xubuntu-desktop

Next you will probably want a GUI login manager...

sudo apt-get install lightdm unity-greeter

To reconfigure the default GUI for the login manager from command line..

sudo dpkg-reconfigure lightdm

If you want to keep yout server lean and mean and booting to without gui, but with it available when you want it..

  1. Copy and paste below command into terminal and hit enter:

    sudo nano /etc/default/grub

  2. Do below changes:

Add # to the following line


so it reads


Next change the following..




Finally uncomment this line like so..




Now when you are in a non gui console on the server and decide you want to run the gui, type.


If you are on the lan and want to ssh into the server and run something..

ssh MyRemoteUserName@   #the username on the server and the ip of the server

If you want to be able to run GUI apps on the server, but have them displayed on another machine you are sitting at..

ssh -X -C  MyRemoteUserName@   #the username on the server and the ip of the server

After logging in you can launch an app like so...

gedit &

This will run gedit on the server, but display to you. the & returns the command prompt to you.


The main difference between the desktop version and the server version of Ubuntu is that the server version does not install the whole graphical part of Ubuntu.

A server in this sense is a computer that runs in text mode only, often using ssh - it may not even have a Monitor.

So the X server and the window management part is left out - and all the programs that have a GUI user interface - which is a whole lot.

So, you need to install the desktop part of Ubuntu first, before you can use it.
Combining the desktop and server software is not a real problem, it will just use more disk space, because you get the default software set for two purposes.

There is a programm to choose one of the variants of Ubuntu to install, tasksel. Run it like this, it will allow to choose and install one of the variants like Kubntu, Lubuntu etc:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install tasksel
sudo tasksel

If you already decided that you want just the default Ubuntu desktop, you can directly install the "meta-package" that will require all the parts of the desktop to get installed:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop

See also Switching from Server to Desktop

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