The recipies for changing one's login screen in 14.04 [EDIT or in 15.04, 15.10] don't work in 16.04. The "custom" background shows for a split second and then fades to the Ubuntu one. So, how do I change the login screen background in 16.04?

[Edit: this post is not a duplicate because all other related questions specifically refer to previous versions of Ubuntu, and the solutions to those do not apply here (as they do not work on 16.04).]

  • I'm also seeing this problem
    – seanlano
    Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 2:34
  • The non coder way is to use Ubuntu Tweak. You can find out how to get it here askubuntu.com/questions/770947/… Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 20:08
  • @OrganicMarble thanks for the suggestion, but Ubuntu Tweak seems to only be able to change the Lock screen, which I've already changed using other methods. The login screen is still the same. And, theoretically speaking, if the (slightly) old recipes for changing the login screen manually do not work, and Ubuntu Tweak is abandonware, one cannot expect it to be able to succeed in the task. Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 18:57
  • @GregKramida if this doesn't apply, you need to edit your post to explain why it is not a duplicate, or make a comment to that effect. Once that is done, I'll reopen this for you, if the duplicate and its answers don't help
    – Thomas Ward
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 22:22
  • @ThomasWard, thank you, I just edited the question. Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 22:29

7 Answers 7


You said:

The "custom" background shows for a split second and then fades to the Ubuntu one.

The greeter by default load the selected user background if it is available. A fade transition used to change between backgrounds of users including greeter default (for guest user). I think that the question should: How to stop lightdm greeter from loading the user background?

Be aware of two distinct greeters, default is unity-greeter. I noticed that some answer here in AU, don't mention this and mix up between them.

Using lightdm-gtk-greeter

GUI tool

  1. Install the settings tool

    sudo apt install lightdm-gtk-greeter-settings
  2. Run it

    pkexec lightdm-gtk-greeter-settings
  3. In Appearance tab: Select the image

  4. On same tab: Unckeck User user wallpaper if available
  5. Save & Close


CLI tools

  1. Open lightdm greeter settings file

    sudo nano /etc/lightdm/lightdm-gtk-greeter.conf
  2. Change it this way

    background = /usr/share/backgrounds/Spring_by_Peter_Apas.jpg
    user-background = false
  3. Ctrl+o to save it then Ctrl+x to exit.

Using unity-greeter (default)

Same answer by Serg, I have tested it in a fresh VBox Ubuntu 16.04.

  • Change the background of the login screen

    $ sudo nano /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas/10_unity_greeter_background.gschema.override
    $ sudo glib-compile-schemas /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas
    $ sudo service lightdm restart
  • Some debug hints:

    1. Purge lightdm-gtk-greeter settings

      sudo apt purge lightdm-gtk-greeter lightdm-gtk-greeter-settings

      Or you may want just disabling it temporary

      sudo mv /usr/share/lightdm/lightdm.conf.d/60-lightdm-gtk-greeter.conf /usr/share/lightdm/lightdm.conf.d/60-lightdm-gtk-greeter.conf.disabled

      To enable it back

      sudo mv /usr/share/lightdm/lightdm.conf.d/60-lightdm-gtk-greeter.conf.disabled /usr/share/lightdm/lightdm.conf.d/60-lightdm-gtk-greeter.conf

      Restarting the lightdm is needed

      sudo systemctl restart lightdm
    2. Reinstall unity-greeter to remove any change in /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas/com.canonical.unity-greeter.gschema.xml

      sudo apt install --reinstall unity-greeter
    3. Check if there any other dconf override file that take priority

      grep -rn -e "com.canonical.unity-greeter" -e "background=" -e "draw-user-backgrounds=" /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas/
  • 1
    The critical thing was "Unckeck User user wallpaper if available", which finally removed the fade-to-purple effect. However, the login screen still looks different after installing the said package. This is the old look: tecmint.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/…. Note how the login block is left-aligned versus the centered look I'm getting now. I'm going to test the other solutions suggested here on my home machine later to see if they work without messing that up. Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 18:52
  • This appears to be the only way that really works so far. I hate to have to install the lightdm-gtk-greeter for this, I actually like the unity one so much better... Well, gotta choose the the lesser of the two evils :-) Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 19:02
  • 1
    @GregKramida,:) believe me I did notice that they are two distinct greeters lightdm-gtk-greeter & unity-greeter/default . and I think I found how to make same setup on unity-greeter , I will test it and update my answer.
    – user.dz
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 19:27
  • 1
    @GregKramida, For unity-greeter, it is :) same answer as askubuntu.com/a/694370/26246 tested and it works fine in vbox 16.04 fresh install . AlI can think of, that you have to purge any lightdm-gtk-greeter related settings using sudo apt purge lightdm-gtk-greeter lightdm-gtk-greeter-settings before trying that solution. I noticed that many solution mix up between the two greeters. If it is worth, I may try it in 16.10 if you want?
    – user.dz
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 20:32
  • 1
    @Serg Greg already knew the step was missing in the original version of my answer as he pointed it out to me before you did. It's been revised and the spreadsheet has been recalculated so the new script with comment is in place. So that mistake at least will never happen again. Thanks :) Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 0:20

To change the login screen in Ubuntu 16.04 I used the following:

gksu gedit /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas/10_unity_greeter_background.gschema.override

Insert these lines:

# After changing use: sudo glib-compile-schemas /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas


  • $USER = your user ID.
  • Pictures = your wallpaper directory.
  • 1920x1080-TuxSuckingWindowsTetraWwallpaper.jpg = your image file name (can be .png format too).
  • # (comment) ... reminds you what to do after changing!

Save the file and exit gedit

Now compile the new login wallpaper with:

sudo glib-compile-schemas /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas

Last step is to reboot.

Many thanks and credit to Serg: (Change the background of the login screen) Note on my system this no only changes the initial login screen but also the lock screen login as well.

Point and click with Nautilus to set login screen wallpaper

I wrote a script where you can navigate to a directory / image, right click on it and set it as login screen / lock screen background using Nautilus (file manager now called "Files"): Nautilus can set desktop wallpaper. How can it set login and lock screen wallpaper?

Nautilus set-login-wallpaper Drop Down

  • Well, I'm sorry, but this just doesn't work for some reason. I'm on 16.10 at this time, btw, a lot of time has passed since the original question was posted. I don't think that's what's making the difference, though, since I'm experiencing the same effects as I did back in 16.04: I see that custom picture that I set for a split second, then it fades to the default Ubuntu purple one. Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 18:57
  • I think mine flashes the purple for a split second before mounting my real wallpaper. My 16.04 was upgraded from 14.04 but never tried wallpaper until after upgrade. Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 22:48
  • I'll mark your answer up, because it seems like, thanks to experiment by @user.dz, it would work for some, or even most, users. I would suggest to post a link to the original one or include the missing two steps, though: askubuntu.com/questions/694202/… Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 23:05
  • The important step that you're missing here is to sudo glib-compile-schemas /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas. Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 23:18
  • Yes I saw that when I read the link on my phone. In the process of updating now that I'm home again. I had copied out of my spreadsheet and missed the line last night. Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 23:47

Run sudo lightdm-gtk-greeter-settings (if installed). Go to the Appearance tab, and select Background > Image.

Note: If you're selecting an image from your home folder and the folder's encrypted, it won't work, because /home/user hasn't been mounted yet.

  • 1
    Thanks for the suggestion, but this solution seems to have the same effect as many of the solutions for the previous Ubuntu versions. I see the image I set for a split second and then it fades to the aggravating purpleness off the default image... I think the startup screen also looks very different after setting up that package (which also installed a few others), now I don't know how to get the old look back... Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 14:23

As @OrganicMarble said, Ubuntu Tweak should do the trick. I installed it and in the Tweaks tab there is a tab called 'Login settings'. Unlock the page in the top right by entering the password and you can change the settings wallpaper. Since then my login and lock screens were changed.

  • Nope, sorry, same as before, shows custom image for split second and fades to purple. The only thing I see this change for me is the lock screen. Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 19:01

This worked well for me on 16.04 LTS and without installing extra-software https://www.linuxslaves.com/2016/06/easiest-way-change-ubuntu-login-screen-background.html

In short: Open sudo gedit /usr/share/gnome-background-properties/xenial-wallpapers.xml and add your background image to the list. Then open the "Change background image" by right-clicking on your desktop, select the image and it's done for both working and login screen. Eventually restart to try it out.


To set the unity greeter as default, in Ubuntu 16.04 login screen, edit the file


and change the "greeter-session" line to "greeter-session=unity-greeter"


Duo Step-

  1. sudo cp Downloads/human_ubuntu-wallpaper-1366x768.jpg /usr/share/backgrounds/
  2. sudo mv /usr/share/backgrounds/human_ubuntu-wallpaper-1366x768.jpg /usr/share/backgrounds/warty-final-ubuntu.png

Just lock and comment!

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