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Knowledgebase: Ubuntu
How do you run Ubuntu Server with a GUI?
Posted by Thang Le Toan on 31 October 2015 10:12 AM

Trying to run a Ubuntu server for the first time... But everything is in a terminal. Is there a way to switch to a GUI? Also, the server doesn't have direct access to the internet... So, is there a way to share it from a laptop?


Then run these commands to install a desktop environment:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop

You should get a graphical login prompt at that point (I'm not completely sure; if you don't get one, reboot).


If you want to administer locally

You can install the default Ubuntu desktop by executing the following:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop

There are many desktop alternatives which you may install and use, like:

  • Gnome 3 installation: sudo apt-get install gnome-shell
  • KDE see Kubuntu installation: sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop
  • XFCE installation: sudo apt-get install xfce4
  • LXDE installation: sudo apt-get install lxde
  • Openbox installation: sudo apt-get install openbox
  • Gnome Classic a Gnome 3 desktop that looks like Gnome 2 installation: sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback


If you are looking for some GUI similar to Windows Server, then such GUI does not exist for Linux Server. But you can download a Ubuntu desktop on a server to get the UI...All server related activities will still be required to be done through the terminal. You can download the desktop GUI on the server through the following command...

Following are the options

  1. To install the default Unity desktop: sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop

  2. To install graphical interface without addons like (Email, Openoffice): sudo aptitude install --without-recommends ubuntu-desktop

  3. To install a very light weight desktop environment, just the basic GUI (xfce): sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop

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Comments (1)
Le Anh Ha Lan
26 September 2019 03:24 AM
$ sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade
$ sudo apt install ubuntu-desktop
$ systemctl status gdm
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