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Chizi Victor

Software Engineer

Reset Display Manager

Reset/Restart the display manager on Linux

I often find myself needing to restart the display manager on my Linux machine. This usually happens when I run xrandr commands to change the display settings and the display manager doesn’t pick up the changes. My screen goes black and I can’t see anything.

First, switch to a different tty. Use this as a tty cheat sheet:

  • Ctrl + Alt + F1 –> Lockscreen
  • Ctrl + Alt + F2 –> Desktop
  • Ctrl + Alt + F3 –> Terminal

At least, that’s how it is on my machine.

Then, restart the display manager using one of the following commands:

sudo service gdm restart
# or
sudo service gdm3 restart
# or
sudo service lightdm restart

This should restart the display manager and restore your desktop environment. For me, it sends me back to the lockscreen and I can jump back into i3wm.