Sunday, April 12, 2009

Changing Ubuntu Login Screen

The login screen is one of the first things you see when you start up the Ubuntu operating system. Since the login screen is sort of like a first impression, it should reflect the individual user. Like everything else in a GNU/Linux operating system, this can be configured to do so.

Unlike the desktop wallpaper or the themes, the login screen allows for much more configuration. While you can still change the look of the login screen, you have many other options as well. Each of the six tabs allows the user to determine how the computer will react at the login screen. These tabs—General, Local, Remote, Accessibility, Security, and Users—can be accessed by selecting System from the top panel and then going to Administration | Login Window.

To understand how to configure the login screen to your tastes, it is important to understand what can be changed under each one of the six tabs.

The General tab contains some simple changes that you can make to your login screen and some that you should not try to edit until you have much more experience with Ubuntu.

The first change you can make is if you would like asterisks or circles to replace the characters at the login screen. Changes can be made by checking the check box, or by removing the check by clicking it again. The only other item you should adjust at this time is Use 24 Hour Clock. The default is Auto, but you can choose Yes or No as well. The three options of Disable Multiple Logins For A Single User, Default Session, and GtkRC File should not be altered at this time. These are for more advanced users and can create problems for you when you are using Ubuntu.

This tab offers the most choices for you because you can alter the actual login screen here. You can choose the theme, the background color, and you can even create a custom welcome message here. This is also where you can add new login screens to use. Don’t worry about this tab; you can feel free to make any changes you want here because they all have to do with the aesthetics of the login rather than its behaviors.

This option dictates what remote users see at their login screen. You only have three choices under the Style menu. By default, the remote login is disabled; however, you can set it to be the same as the Local login or as a plain login screen. Unless you are planning to set up remote logins later, this tab is not overly important at this time.

The Accessibility tab provides you with choices regarding what users see, hear, and can do at login. The option to Enable Accessible Login should be left unchecked. The Themes section allows users greater control over their greeter screen. The Sounds section gives you the most configuration options, allowing you to choose what sounds users hear at successful and failed login attempts.

The security section helps you protect your computer from unauthorized login attempts, idle logins, and permissions for heightened security. While a great deal of security is a good thing when it comes to computers, a great deal of common sense is often far better. You may be inclined to set all of the security settings to their strictest levels, but keep in mind that security experts warn that the higher a computer’s (or network’s) security levels are elevated, the less user friendly the computer (or network) becomes.

In the Security tab, you should only worry about two sections as a novice Ubuntu user. The first is the Enable Automatic Login option. By default, this first option is left unchecked. Checking it allows you to select a user that your Ubuntu computer will automatically log in as. If you are trying to protect your computer, leave this option unchecked, forcing users to provide a username and password at the login screen. Instances where someone would enable the automatic login may be to allow small children or guests to use the computer.

The only other tab you should worry about now is the one below the Enable Automatic Login, which is Enable Timed Login. Again, this is unchecked by default. Choosing this option by checking the box would automatically log in a specified user after a certain amount of time. For instance, a coffee shop running Ubuntu can set all of the computers to log in to the Guest account if no one else logs in after 30 seconds. This gives an employee, or a member, the opportunity to log in with his or her account before the Guest login automatically takes place. The time set before the timed login is determined in this tab as well. Obviously, too short a time period does not allow users the opportunity to log in, and too long a wait can be annoying to the automatic login user.

The Users tab serves two functions; it allows you to exclude or to include users in the lists that appear in the Security tab. By default, all users are included in these lists. The second thing that the Users tab can do is set the default face image for users who have not selected one. Face images are icons that appear next to the user’s name at the login screen. If you wish to use face images, the default login screen needs to be changed. This can be done by going back to the Local tab and selecting a login screen that includes lists such as Human List.

Source of Information : McGraw Hill Osborne Media How to Do Everything Ubuntu 

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