Howto Enable Ctrl + Alt + BackSpace in Ubuntu Jaunty

By default Ctrl + Alt + BackSpace key combination in Ubuntu Jaunty was disabled.This shortcut key is used  to restart X.This tutorial will explain how to enable this key combunation.

Install the “dontzap” package using the following command

sudo apt-get install dontzap

Open Terminal and type

sudo dontzap --enable


sudo dontzap --disable

Where “disable” means that Ctrl+Alt+Backspace restarts the xserver while “enable” means that it won’t.

Update :- Some more solutions from our readers

1)You don’t need to install software to enable it. Simply add the following lines to your xorg.conf file, making sure that when you paste it, it is NOT using smart quotes.

sudo gksudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Section “ServerFlags”
Option “DontZap” “false”

2) you can use
right alt + printscreen +k
to do the same effect

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34 Responses

  1. Dàrent says:

    also, you can simply do this

    sudo /etc/init.d/gdm restart

    or, the same:

    sudo /etc/init.d/gdm stop && sudo /etc/init.d/gdm start

    I put the second command in my aliases so i can restart all X simply by typint “shit!” xDDD

  2. Will Kelly says:

    I know that this is an old post, but it is still ranking on google.

    This is now all done through XKB. You can control it through your desktop settings.
    Please see:

  3. John says:

    You can achieve the same result hitting AltGr + PrintScreen/SysReq + K (more info at )

  4. Yaro Kasear says:



    Do NOT use Magic SysRq keys unless there’s NO other option. It’s not just equivalent to Control + Alt + Backspace. It’s telling the kernel itself to wipe something off, which is very dangerous.

    I swear, Ubuntu users should not be allowed to use the magic sysrqs.

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