If you’re the only one using your computer, there’s no point in having a lock/login screen. Let’s take a look at how you can disable the lock screen in Ubuntu and have a login-free experience when using your Ubuntu desktop.
The Two Paths to the Lock Screen
While using Ubuntu, you meet the lock screen through two different paths. The first is during the initial boot, after which Ubuntu will ask you to choose your account and enter your password to enter your desktop. The second is after idling for a while. After some time, Ubuntu will blank your screen. After even more time, it will automatically lock the computer and display the login screen.
To avoid the login screen altogether, you’ll have to disable both those paths, so that you neither have to log in when your desktop loads up, nor after some time of idling. Let’s see how, starting with the first login after boot.
Enable Automatic Login
Log in to your desktop for one last time and search for “Users” in your Apps menu. Choose the “Settings -> Users” entry that will appear.
This will open the Users control subsection in Ubuntu’s Settings panel. You won’t be allowed to make any changes to your own account for security reasons.
Click on the “Unlock … ” button on the top right and enter your password to enable all available settings.
Flick the “Automatic Login” switch to disable the initial display of the lock screen after boot. Note that you’re enabling this setting for the specific user account and stating that you’ll always be entering the desktop with this account.
Disable Automatic Screen Lock
The other tweak you have to do is the opposite. Instead of enabling, you want to disable a feature, the automatic return to the lock screen after some idle time. To find this option, don’t close the active Settings window. Instead, choose the search functionality on the top left and type “lock” in the search field.
Choose the Screen Lock page from the list on the left. Move to the panel with the settings that define what your computer should do after you stop using it for a while.
Disable the “Automatic Screen Lock” option so that after some inactivity, Ubuntu will only blank the screen but will not display the lock screen. This way, your screens will still turn off after you stop using your computer for a while, but you won’t have to reenter your password to resume your work.
There’s also an alternative approach you could take: click on the pull-down menu next to “Blank Screen Delay” and change the time to Never. This way, Ubuntu will never turn off the screens and, as a side-effect, never return you to the lock screen.
We suggest you don’t do that, though, if you’re using a newer OLED panel or are using your PC as a media center connected to a Plasma TV. Both technologies (and especially Plasma screens) are more prone to burn-in. If they display the same thing for an extended period, the image will be “burned” into the screen, and you’ll still be able to see it even after the screen updates. The previous image will show as a transparent ghost over the new one. Usually, the problem fades after a while, but the more the same image is displayed, the more vivid and long-lasting the burn-in effect is.
Thus, it’s better if you don’t disable screen blanking altogether and disable the Automatic Screen Lock option instead.
After the above tweaks, the login screen will be old news, and you’ll probably never have to deal with it again – unless you want to. The next time you boot up your PC, you’ll be taken directly to your desktop.
The login screen/lock screen provides a false sense of security. You can secure your system without the lock screen by encrypting your hard disk. The system will then prompt you for a decryption password during bootup. In the event your hard disk is stolen, your data is still encrypted.
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