13.2. Enabling the Ctrl+Alt+Backspace Shortcut

The Ctrl+Alt+Backspace shortcut key combination is used for terminating the X server. You might want to terminate the X server especially when:
  • a program caused the X server to stop working.
  • you need to switch from your logged-in session quickly.
  • you have launched a program that failed.
  • you cannot operate in the current session for various reason.
  • your screen freezes.
To enable the Ctrl+Alt+Backspace shortcut to forcibly terminate the X server by default for all users, you need to set the org.gnome.desktop.input-sources.xkb-options GSettings key. (For more information on GSettings keys, see Section 9.6, “GSettings Keys Properties”.)

Procedure 13.2. Enabling the Ctrl-Alt-Backspace Shortcut

  1. Create a local database for machine-wide settings in /etc/dconf/db/local.d/00-input-sources:
    [org/gnome/desktop/input-sources]
    # Enable Ctrl-Alt-Backspace for all users
    xkb-options=['terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp']
    
  2. Override the user's setting and prevent the user from changing it in /etc/dconf/db/local.d/locks/input-sources:
    # Lock the list of enabled XKB options
    /org/gnome/desktop/input-sources/xkb-options
    
  3. Update the system databases for the changes to take effect:
    # dconf update
  4. Users must log out and back in again before the system-wide settings take effect.
The Ctrl+Alt+Backspace key combination is now enabled. All users can terminate the X server quickly and easily and doing so bring themselves back to the login prompt.