I'm using Ubuntu Gnome 15.10 and my gdm version is 3.16.2. I know that there are a few different threads here and articles at other websites about customizing the login screen in Ubuntu older version,however after try almost everything I am still not able to change my login screen background.Could anyone please help me

  • 1
    I have the same problem. Editing /etc/gdm3/greeter.dconf-defaults does not have any efect at all. – user5950 Nov 1 '16 at 3:50

(Disclaimer: Tested on Ubuntu Gnome Shell 16.04+ Hopefully it should work on 15.10 as well)

Two ways. If you want to know what exactly you are doing, follow Solution #1. If you want a single script to do all for you, follow Solution #2 (All it does it automate Solution #1)

Solution 1

Background Info: Gnome Login Background is not a parameter which you can change directly(Wierd!). Its present within Gnome Shell CSS file which is present in binary file. Hence you have to extract binary file, modify it and replace new binary with old file.

Step1: Extracting Gnome shell binary file

Run the following script extractgst.sh to extract Gnome shell theme to ~/shell-theme directory


if [ ! -d ${workdir}/theme ]; then
  mkdir -p ${workdir}/theme

for r in `gresource list $gst`; do
        gresource extract $gst $r >$workdir/${r#\/org\/gnome\/shell/}

Step2: Modifying contents

  • Copy your background image to this folder ~/shell-theme/theme.
  • Edit ~/shell-theme/theme/gnome-shell-theme.gresource.xml Go to line <file>logged-in-indicator.svg</file> and add another line <file>filename</file> where filename is your background image filename
  • Now, open the gnome-shell.css file in the directory and change the #lockDialogGroup definition as follows:

    #lockDialogGroup {
      background: #2e3436 url(filename);
      background-size: [WIDTH]px [HEIGHT]px;
      background-repeat: no-repeat;

Set filename to be the name of the background image and background-size to your resolution.

Step3: Create new binary and replacing existing

Inside theme directory, run

glib-compile-resources gnome-shell-theme.gresource.xml

You will get a binary file named gnome-shell-theme.gresource. Copy it to


Now restart GDM using

service gdm restart

If it doesnt work or got stuck, restart your computer to see your new login wallpaper :))

Solution 2

Ok, as promised, there is a simpler way to automate all this. Simply save this script as login-background.sh

GSTRES=$(basename $GST)

mkdir -p $WORKDIR
mkdir theme

for r in `gresource list $GST`; do
  gresource extract $GST $r >$WORKDIR$(echo $r | sed -e 's/^\/org\/gnome\/shell\//\//g')

cd theme
cp "$IMAGE" ./

echo "
#lockDialogGroup {
  background: #2e3436 url(resource:///org/gnome/shell/theme/$(basename $IMAGE));
  background-size: cover;
  background-repeat: no-repeat;
}" >>gnome-shell.css

echo '<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
  <gresource prefix="/org/gnome/shell/theme">' >"${GSTRES}.xml"
for r in `ls *.*`; do
  echo "    <file>$r</file>" >>"${GSTRES}.xml"
echo '  </gresource>
</gresources>' >>"${GSTRES}.xml"

glib-compile-resources "${GSTRES}.xml"

sudo mv "/usr/share/gnome-shell/$GSTRES" "/usr/share/gnome-shell/${GSTRES}.backup"
sudo mv "$GSTRES" /usr/share/gnome-shell/

rm -r $WORKDIR

if [ "$CREATED_TMP" = "1" ]; then
  rm -r ~/tmp

Run the script using

IMAGE=~/Bat.jpg sh login-background.sh

Now restart gdm using service gdm restart or restart laptop for your new login background :))

References: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/GDM


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