When Your Desktop Gets "Stuck", Try the Force Shutdown/Reboot Command

This command is not something new and is known by almost all the GNU/Linux users. But for those of you who haven't heard of it, it can be quite useful when you had nothing to do but use the "reset" button on your GNU/Linux PC which is not good for your HDD, especially.

I wanna break something! ;-)

For instance, I have an old laptop and since Ubuntu Natty comes with Compiz which heavily depends on your GPU (graphic card's processor). And currently I'm having troubles running Unity shell thus sometimes the desktop gets stuck!. In those cases I'm forced to use the "reset" button on my Linux Laptop or you can use the default shutdown/reboot command in GNU/Linux to safely shutdown your OS thus minimizing the HDD damages. 

But remember to do this we have to switch to a different TTY (if you don't know what that is... it's totally cool, I don't even know it fully :P). But depending on how bad your OS is "stuck", sometimes executing these commands will be impossible. In those situations you'll have to use the "reset" button on your PC.

Also remember, say that when you OS got stuck you were writing something in a text editor, then although this method is always better for your HDD rather than trying the "reset" button first, but those opened apps/data on your Desktop most probably be lost (in case of text editors, some do save it automatically).

But either way... when you have to make a choice, I don't know about you, but I go for the lesser evil ;-).  

Let's do this!. If your desktop is stuck... and no button or your mouse, etc works then try pressing the below buttons in your Keyboard.
Ctrl + Alt + F1
You can replace "F1" with F2/3/5, etc (not the F4, it's the default console display for your graphical GNU/Linux environment)

Now you should get an ugly looking console screen asking you to log-in to your system.

1. Enter your name log-in and press "Enter key" - (you can use your current stuck desktop log-in name/password).

2. Now you'll be prompted for the password, enter your password and press "Enter key" again.

3. Now you should be successfully log-in the console and we're ready to either reboot or shutdown your PC.

For rebooting only, issue the below command.
sudo reboot
For shutting down your PC, use the below command.
sudo shutdown -h now
As said, remember, you will not be always to login like this depending your how bad your OS is stuck. But if once you enter the "Ctrl" + "Alt" + "F1", if you were taken to the console, then that means it's gonna work, definitely/most of the time :).

But even after entering those key combinations "nothing happens" (it's always best to wait for few secs), but still after few seconds nothing happens, sorry guys/gals... you gotta use that "reset" key :(. 


vanitygamer said...

Thanks man, you saved my a** with this

Gayan said...


You are welcome :D ...

Anonymous said...

if your destop is stuck, it might help to do CTRL-ALT-BACKSPACE to restart the X server and bring you back to graphical login .. instead of restarting the complete OS

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