Linux Know-How provides a collection of introductory texts on often needed Linux skills.

Can I have a GUI login prompt?

To start your X-server automatically on the system start-up and display a graphical login prompt, you have to change (as root) just one character in the file /etc/inittab. This file specifies something like:


Change it to


This sets up the default runlevel to 5, which is X-Windows. The meaning of the different runlevels is explained in the same /etc/inittab file :

0 - halt (Do NOT set initdefault to this)

1 - Single user mode

2 - Multiuser, without NFS (The same as 3, if you do not have networking)

3 - Full multiuser mode

4 - unused

5 - X11

6 - reboot (Do NOT set initdefault to this)

You can change the runlevel from the command line. E.g., this command (has to be executed as root):

init 6

will reboot your computer, while the following command would switch your computer to a single-user mode:

init 1

To find out which runlevel I am currently at, I use the command runlevel.

To fine-tune the appearance of my X login screen, I can use (under X):

kcontrol &

and select "System"-"Login Manager". I like a login screen with an analog clock, big font, the login name of the last user already typed in, and the focus pre-set on the password field in the dialog box.

Last Update: 2010-12-16