Saturday, May 24, 2008

How to change the default Ubuntu login screen - Update

Gno e login windows manager
Updated 5/24/08

The default Ubuntu login screen leaves something to be desired in the way of aesthetics (just my personal opinion, you may love it). But thankfully, like almost everything else in Ubuntu, it can be changed (welcome to the wonderful world of Linux). Here's how:

1. Click on System>Administration>Login Window
2. Enter your administrative password (your login password)
3. Click on the Local tab
4. Select one of the available themes (make sure the radio button is selected beside the theme you want - you may have to click twice for this)
5. Click the Close button
6. Log-out of Ubuntu, and you will be presented with the new themed login screen to log back in

If you don't like any of the default themes, head over to (look in the Login Manager category) or (look under GDM Screens) for plenty more choices. You can drag-n-drop a downloaded GDM (Gnome Desktop Manager) login theme into the Login Manager. Just make sure it is selected after you drop it in.

Update 5/24/08

Gnome login window background color

After you change the login theme, you'll still be left with an ugly orange screen just before and just after you login. To change this, look on the Login Manager Local tab, just under the available themes list, for a small colored box labeled Background color. Click on the box, pick the color you want, and close the login manager.

What next?
If you have a problem or question, leave a comment, I'll be glad to help. I'm still new at Ubuntu, too - but it may be that I've already been where you're at.
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chitra said...

Hi, I'm somewhat new to Ubuntu as well, and I'm having a problem with changing my login theme.

See, i know how to install and select themes. I did it before on Gutsy and it worked then. Now, after the hardy update, i've been having some trouble in making my selected theme actually show up.

The problem - I downloaded themes and dragged em into the window. it showed it, and i selected it. when i log out and come back, it keeps showing the Ubuntu Human Theme. like the default one. i even restarted it. then, i got so frustrated, and i deleted the human theme from the filesystem.

now, what happens is when i log in, it first shows this window saying, "your human theme cannot be loaded as it can be found under usr/share/gdm/themes

and then it shows a the sunflower "circles" theme which i did NOT select!

not sure what to do. i think there is a default setting i need to change. but i don't know how to. please help if possible!


wrgb said...

I don't know the answer off hand, but I'll check into it for you - I spend quite of bit of time in the Ubuntu forums - check back in a day or so.

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Anonymous said...

If you got a buggy one...
when it got stuck while the login screen is loading...
Go to text login by ALT+CTRL+F2
if you want gui desktop now...
$ sudo /etc/init.d/gdm stop
$ startx

but we don't need gui to fix it...
$ ls /usr/share/gdm/themes
$ sudo rm -rf /usr/share/gdm/themes/nUbuntu

$ grep -E ^GraphicalTheme /etc/gdm/gdm.conf
showing GraphicalTheme=Human

$ grep -E ^GraphicalTheme /etc/gdm/gdm.conf-custom
showing GraphicalTheme=nUbuntu

$ sudo nano /etc/gdm/gdm.conf-custom
search for "nUbuntu", replace it by "Human" as this is the default theme for Ubuntu 8.04

restart your computer or restart gdm: $ sudo /etc/init.d/gdm restart

Girish said...


I am new to Ubuntu. Recently i intalled unbuntu karmic kola 9.10. Now i want to change the login screen, problem is in System-->Administration iam get only "Login Screen" but not "login Window" option in this Login Screen option iam not able to change any thing. So plz tell me where can i change the login screen or else how can i get the "Login Window" Option

wrgb said...


I don't know why Ubuntu removed this capability. There's no easy (GUI) way to do this anymore, but this thread on the ubuntuforums tells you how to do it manually -- . Hope it helps.


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