Ubuntu: How do I restart a Unity session from the terminal?


The command for restarting Gnome2 is:

sudo /etc/init.d/gdm restart  

What is the equivalent for Unity?


The Upstart way is

sudo service lightdm restart for newer versions using lightdm

or sudo service gdm restart for older versions using gdm.

Update: Another option, which isn't using the terminal but using a key combination, can be found at How to set keyboard combination to kill the X server?


The command unity can be used to restart unity. It restarts the window manager, so your open programs will stay intact and you will not be logged out.

If you run the command from a terminal app, you should add & disown to detach it from the terminal. If you don't, then the unity program will become a child process of the terminal app such that when you close the terminal, unity will also close.

It might also be worthwhile to add &> /dev/null (before the disown bit) so that text and error output does not clutter your terminal.

So, the command is:

unity &> /dev/null & disown  

If you can't open the terminal application due to the desktop being extremely unresponsive (or any other reason), you can open a purely text-based terminal by hitting alt-ctrl-F1 through F6.

There you will get a text terminal, you have to login first.

Then you can run the command above, then hit alt-ctrl-F7 or alt-ctrl-F8 to come back to the graphical desktop.

This tends to fix "hanging" problems.

As a side note: since Unity is a compiz plugin, you can restart unity by restarting compiz using the command:

compiz --replace  

If you run it from the alt-ctrl-F1 terminal, you will need a --display parameter

compiz --display :0 --replace  

You'll still need to add & disown


You don't need to open a tty. In most cases Alt-F2 still works. Just enter "unity". That's it. No & disown needed.


In Ubuntu 13.04 you can use the following:

sudo service lightdm restart  


The command to restart GDM is sudo stop gdm followed by sudo start gdm, and should be done from a tty.

If you are trying to restart unity itself just run unity (but remember you need to do this from the run dialog.


In a terminal, run nohup compiz --replace. The nohup command will make sure compiz isn't closed when you close the terminal.


I like to change GNOME's font size attribute depending on the monitor. I've been shutting down the programs directly so the window position is saved. I put this in the script which probably does pretty much the same thing:

    nautilus -q && sleep 2 && bgcmd nautilus -n      pkill unity-panel      pkill unity-window      sleep 1      unity-window-decorator &> /dev/null & disown  

Note:If u also have question or solution just comment us below or mail us on toontricks1994@gmail.com
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