Make a custom login screen

There are alot of login screen you can download @ , but what if you want your own picture?

A login screen in ubuntu is called a gdm theme. So the first thing you would do is go to and browse to the gdm-theme section. Then you download a layout you want. Don’t mind the background pictures, look for the placement of the buttons, the location of the session, …

Download a theme wich layout you like and untar it.

I used this theme.


Open the created folder and look for the background picture. Open that using the gimp.


In the gimp, go to “image -> scale image” and take a look at it’s size.


Look for the picture you want and scale it to the same size.

Save it as the exact same name as the picture in the folder is called. (here it’s called background.jpg).


In the created folder, remove the original picture and replace it with yours.


Almost done. Right-click the folder and tar it.


Note: the preview picture will look the same as the original one you downloaded. You could change that by removing it from the folder and putting the background picture you created in it’s place (same filename and extention). I’ll skip this part as it doesn’t matter for me.

Now add it as you normally would add a gdm theme. Go to “system -> administration -> login window”. Go to the “local” tab and drag your .tar.gz file to there, press install. Then select it from the list.



(my preview picture is still that of the original, if you changed yours, you picture would be there).


Next time you’ll log out, you will see your new login-screen.

    • voltonumsegundo
    • November 23rd, 2008

    Thanks for your post. I’d been struggling with the creation of a graphical login screen for a while but hadn’t thought of picking up an existing one and modifying it. After solving initial issues with the XML I got my own login screen up and running. That is the power of free software :-).

    • Evan
    • January 8th, 2009

    Wow. So simple. Very cool.
    Thanks for a great How-To.

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