What is the equivalent of Ctrl + Alt + Del from Windows on elementary? A keyboard short cut that gets special handling and will allow to unfreeze desktop environment / kill resource hogging processes.

Freezes happen rarely but most solutions I read about for linux don't seem to work on elementary. Is there any "offical" solution for this use case?

5 Answers 5


Not sure, if your system freezes completely, or if it's "just" the desktop.

In case you are very new to linux and didn't already know:

Try switching to a Terminal by pressing CTRL+ALT+F1 or ...+F2 (your desktop should be at ...+F7)

From there you can view all active processes using the command ps

Each process has an ID. You can force-quit any process using the command kill ID

If you're curious, here is more info on the ps-command. I hope I didn't completely misinterpret your linux-knowledge. :)

  • I know about this solution and if there is nothing better for elementary OS I'll have to accept it as an answer, my problem with it is only the fact of how tiresome and not user friendly the process is. Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 11:32
  • when I list ps nothing is included except "ps" and "bash".
    – Seph Reed
    Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 16:29

this is what I do when it happens to me...

  • press the power button from your PC and it'll send you to lock screen, then you can log back or restart the PC from the power menu

  • or run terminal by pressing Ctrl + Alt + F1 and try killall wingpanel and press Ctrl + Alt + F7 to bring back the interface

  • if it doesn't work then go back to terminal and try sudo reboot


Probably not what the OP wants, but still good to know:

You can hard reset your computer by pressing Alt+Shift+SysRq (often this is a combinaion Fn+PrintScreen)+B. This is useful if nothing else helps.

  • All it does is make a screen-shot. This is basically what I am looking for but SysRq doesn't seem to be accessible. Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 11:28
  • Sorry, my bad, corrected now. Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 18:59

It doesn't make much sense but removing wingpanel-indicator-power resolved hangups problem for me.

My system was not completely freezing like you reported. But I was having quick hangups for example when opening a new tab in chrome.

sudo apt-get remove wingpanel-indicator-power


I had the same problem with Elementary os , is a problem caused by the video driver nouveau , here is the link of the discussion of the problem ( https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=234763 ) . I solved with this command:

sudo ubuntu-drivers autoinstall

used it since 1 month and it seems to be fine , before while using it 8 hours it froze 3 times

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