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How To Take A Screenshot Of Your Login Screen

Normally you use a screenshot tool to take screenshots of your Linux desktop. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work if you want to take a screenshot of your login prompt. This tutorial explains how you can take a screenshot of your Linux desktop login screen nevertheless.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Find Out The Virtual Terminal (VT) Of The Login Screen

First, log out of your desktop session so that you get to the login screen:


Now press CTRL + ALT + F1 to get to a command prompt:


While you are at the command prompt, type CTRL + ALT + F8 or CTRL + ALT + F7 to get back to the login screen – usually it is at CTRL + ALT + F8 which means your VT is 8. (It is possible that it is located at another VT – if you don’t find it at 7 or 8, please try your other F keys).

2 Taking The Screenshot

Now that you know the number of the VT of the login screen, go back to the command prompt (CTRL + ALT + F1) and log in. We need to have the packages imagemagick and xnest installed; on Ubuntu, we can install them as follows:

sudo apt-get install imagemagick xnest

Now make sure you have root privileges – on Ubuntu you can achieve this by typing

sudo su

We can now take the screenshot with this command:

chvt 8; sleep 5; XAUTHORITY=/var/gdm/:0.Xauth DISPLAY=:0.0 import -window root /tmp/gdm-login-shot.png

Make sure you use the correct VT of the login screen in the chvt command (if your VT is 7, use chvt 7; instead).

This command will switch to your login screen automatically and take a screenshot. Log into your desktop and open a file browser. You should find your login screenshot in /tmp/gdm-login-shot.png.