Friday, 30 September 2011

Re-start Linux X-Server without Rebooting

In normal operation, the Ctrl+Alt+Delete key combination brings up a menu to shut down, restart, suspend or hibernate your machine. Then there are the times when the X-Server, that software stack that handles the windowing graphics display breaks down and things appear to freeze, the mouse cursor won't move and Ctrl+Alt+Delete doesn't respond either.

There are alternatives; the shortcut keys Alt+PrintScreen+K also quits X-windows to go out to the log-in screen without a reboot.

The Ctrl+Alt+Backspace key combination does the same, but that is often disabled in some Linux distributions. It is easily enabled:

Go to System > Preferences > Keyboard.
Select the 'Layouts' tab then the 'Options' button.
Select “Key sequence to kill the X server” and enable “Control + Alt + Backspace”.

All this does is get you out to a point where you can re-start the X-server, it's up to you to diagnose how the lock-up occurred in the first place. RC