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Prevent Linux Reboot From CTRL ALT DEL

The CTRL + ALT + DEL keyboard shortcut is perhaps the well-known hotkey to reboot computer in the earlier day of IBM-compatible PC, especially among Windows users prior to Windows NT!

CTRL + ALT + DEL hotkey was invented by David Bradley, one of the original IBM PC designer, to trigger a soft reboot of personal computer. Although, Bill Gates was the man to make this hotkey famous – thanks to his problematic yet popular Windows system! This famous soft-reboot hotkey is also known as a three-finger salute, Three Fingered Death Grip, or Vulcan nerve pinch.

After using Windows 2000 (now Windows Vista) for some times, I’ve just get used to press this hotkey follow by ENTER to lock the Windows Desktop whenever leaving the office desk – the CTRL + ALT + DEL will bring up Windows Security dialog box and ENTER key will trigger the LOCK COMPUTER button in focus!
However, beware that the CTRL + ALT + DEL keyboard shortcut will not lock the Linux Desktop Manager!

The default Linux installation is still treating CTRL + ALT +DEL natively – pressing this famous hotkey in most Linux distribution will immediately reboot the Linux system without any warning signs for second chance!

So, it’s better to find a trick that will prevent Linux rebooting from CTRL + ALT + DEL hotkey, especially if you’re system administrator of Windows + Linux mix in a SME environment (like myself)!

Linux trick on How to disable CTRL + ALT + DEL hotkey in Linux?
  1. Login with root user ID,
  2. Edit the Linux init process setting file
    vi /etc/inittab
  3. Locate this similar line in /etc/inittab
    ca::ctrlaltdel:/sbin/shutdown -t3 -r now
  4. Remark that line, save the change made and exit. If Savio Lam’s dialog package is installed, you can keep that original line and add this:
    ca::ctrlaltdel:/usr/bin/dialog --title "CTRL + ALT + DEL disabled" --clear --msgbox "" 10 41

    which will bring up a TTY dialog box (similar to the setup command in Red Hat Linux) to kindly inform user who have pressed the hotkey by accident or with intention!
  5. To make the inittab changes become effective immediately without rebooting Linux, execute this command:
    kill -HUP 1

    will hang up and restart the Linux master process (init) immediately to re-read inittab settings!

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  2. Carlos 13-06-09@22:04


    My Asus eee pc 2g Linux os, i enter a invalid password many times, and now hang up! what will i do, how to disable the root password?


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