How to change display manager in Ubuntu?

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A display manager or login manager is a program that provides graphical login capabilities to a Linux system. It is displayed on a system once the boot process is over. It manages all the user sessions and user authentication on the system.

Once you are authenticated, the display manager starts the display server and loads the desktop environment. There are various implementations of display managers available for Linux systems some of them are GDM3, LightDM, SDDM, etc.

Today in this article I will discuss how to change the display manager in Ubuntu.


To follow this guide you should have the following –

  • A Ubuntu system where you want to change the display manager
  • Access to a user account with superuser privileges

How to install a display manager on Ubuntu

Different display managers are available in the default Ubuntu repository. You can use one of the given commands to install a display manager on your system.

To install gdm3 on Ubuntu Linux, use –

sudo apt install gdm3 -y

By using the given command you can install sddm display manager –

sudo apt install sddm -y

To install lightdm on Ubuntu, execute –

sudo apt install lightdm -y

Check the current display manager on your system

Use the following command to display the status of the current display manager –

sudo systemctl status display-manager.service

status of display manager

As you can see in the image above display manager services are active and running. And gdm3 is the current display manager on my system.

Alternatively, you can view your current display manager by executing the given command in your terminal –

cat /etc/X11/default-display-manager

This will display output something like it is given in the image below.

current display manager

Change your current display manager on Ubuntu

You can change or reconfigure your current display manager by executing the given command in your terminal –

sudo dpkg-reconfigure gdm3

Don’t forget to replace gdm3 from the display manager currently active on your system.

Now this will display a package configuration window as you can see in the image below.

configure display manager

Press enter to move to the next window, here you can choose the display manager that you want to set to your system.

After choosing a display manager press enter.

choose display manager

Reboot your system to make the changes effective.


You can verify that your display manager has changed or not by executing the given command –

sudo systemctl status display-manager.service

As you can see in the image below gdm3 is now changed to lightdm.

status of display manager

To get back to gdm3 first execute the following command and then choose gdm3.

sudo dpkg-reconfigure lightdm


So you have successfully changed the display manager on your Ubuntu system.

Now if you have a query or feedback then write us in the comments below.

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