How to enable the Ctrl+Alt+Backspace shortcut in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7?

Solution Verified - Updated -


  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7
  • GNOME 3
  • KDE


  • The Ctrl+Alt+Backspace shortcut key combination is used for terminating the X server. It used to work in RHEL 6, but it's not working in RHEL 7. Is there any way to enable this shortcut?



  • To enable the Ctrl+Alt+Backspace shortcut to forcibly terminate the X server by default for all users, set the org.gnome.desktop.input-sources.xkb-options dconf key. More information is available in the RHEL 7 documentation.
  • The file for the dconf setting should contain the following lines:



  • Go to System Settings ==> Input Devices ==> Keyboard ==> Advanced => Key sequence to kill the x server ==> ctrl-alt-backspace.

Root Cause

The traditional key combination to kill the X server is disabled by default.

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It's not clear to me how to perform the second step...

I think there are better ways to do this as far as I understand it.

In RHEL 7 there is already a /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/00-keyboard.conf file. Adding the following line in that file does the job:

Option "XkbOptions" "terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp"

A user can use /usr/bin/dconf-editor, go to org > gnome > desktop > input-sources and add terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp to the xkb-options.

A user can use /usr/bin/gsettings: - get the existing options: "gsettings get org.gnome.desktop.input-sources xkb-options" - if the output is @as [] that means there's no option set so you can simply run: gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.input-sources xkb-options "['terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp']" - or rewrite the whole array of values and add the new value.

Thanks for your feedback. Indeed the second step was not clear. Modified those lines, please check.