Disable GUI Boot in Ubuntu 11.10

Is it possible to disable GUI / X at boot time? So many Ubuntu 11.10 Desktop edition users are asking the same question. On my ubuntu machine I have done following steps to disable GUI boot in ubuntu 11.10

Step 1 First update your repository by running

sudo apt-get update

Step 2 There is some bug in old version of lightdm, so we need to upgrade the same. To do so run,

sudo apt-get install lightdm

Step 3 Now we have to modify grub config.
Step 3a Open /etc/default/grub with your faviourite editor and change




Step 3b Also comment GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT=0 This line is for unhiding the GRUB menu

Step 4 Now we will upgrade GRUB configuration

sudo update-grub

Step 5 Ubuntu 11.10 Desktop edition use lightdm for GUI. We need to disable the same

sudo update-rc.d -f lightdm remove

Step 6 Now restart your machine. Voilla you will be in console mode

At any time you need after booting your system you want to change to gui mode the run


If you want to restore Ubuntu’s GUI mode then

Open /etc/default/grub with your faviourite editor and change




Update GRUB by running

sudo update-grub

To restore lightdm run

sudo update-rc.d lightdm defaults

That’s it


  1. Ken Brown says:

    Nice steps – this helps out on one of my Desktops that is experiencing problems with lightdm video driver. Now that I can return into Console or command mode I can install the Video drivers without having X or LightDM loaded and fix the video issues I am experiencing.

    Nicely done – One addition when running Ubuntu 11.10 while using the command “startx” display and speed of computer is kind of buggy; however, if I use the command “sudo lightdm start” the display and functionality is much better.


    • Maher says:

      >> however, if I use the command “sudo lightdm start” the display and functionality is much better.

      I tried this command after applying the steps in the article, but to the contary, the screen started splashing endlessly and I had to reset the VM. startx worked normally. (Kubuntu 11.10 x86 in VMWare Workstation 8.0.2)

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