How to Set your Ubuntu Wallpaper as the bootsplash and login screen background

If you have noticed, Ubuntu Karmic comes with a new xsplash that allows you to set custom wallpaper as the background. Not only is it more visually appealing, it is also much easier to customize than the previous usplash.

In this article, we are going to do some thing more interesting – change the bootsplash and login screen concurrently when you change your desktop wallpaper.

Note: this is currently only possible with Ubuntu Karmic 9.10 or distro with xsplash installed.


Update: A new PPA is now available for the wallpaper daemon script. You can install it with the command:

Once installed, you should be able to access it from “System -> Settings -> XSplash Wallpaper Settings”.

First, install the dependencies.

Download the script from

Extract the tar file to a suitable location, probably your home folder.

Go to the location where you have extracted the file. Right click on the and select Properties. Go to the Permissions tab and check the box “Allow executing file as program”. Click “Close”.


Open a terminal and type

Remember to change the “filepath-to-script” to the actual filepath.

This will backup your existing xsplash screen and run the daemon.

Now change your desktop wallpaper (“System -> Preferences -> Appearance -> Background”)


Open a new terminal (do not close the previous one) and type:

You should see a preview of your new bootsplash. Press “ESC” to return to the desktop.

Go to Startup Application (“System -> Preferences -> Startup Applications”)

Click “Add”

Enter the command as below:

Name: Wallpaper Daemon
Command: /filepath-to-script/

Remember to change the “filepath-to-script” to the actual filepath

Click “Close”.

Close all windows and restart your computer. You should now see your favorite desktop wallpaper as the bootsplash and login screen.


Desktop wallpaper


Bootsplash screen


Login screen


If you are using wallpaper changer app like Wally or Desktop Drape, they will work with the wallpaper_daemon script as well. Whenever the desktop wallpaper changes, the xsplash and login screen will change as well.


If you feel that the wallpaper_daemon script is taking up too much resources, or you are tired of such fancy stuff, here are the steps to uninstall it.

Go to “Startup Application”, delete the wallpaper_daemon entry that you have entered earlier.

Open up your Nautilus file manager and navigate to “/usr/share/images/xsplash” and look for this file “backup.xxxxxxx” where the xxx represents a string of number. Copy down the name of this file.


Open up a terminal,

Note: Replace the “backup.xxxx” with the actual name of the backup file.

This will restore the default xsplash screen.

That’s it. You may also want to delete the script from your computer, but that is purely optional.


  1. Nice…boot in process looks much better just two screens.

  2. Nice article, but all this GUI/boot splash stuff (in other distributions as well) probably the most pointless feature in Linux. You boot once a week/day, besides that useful boot messages get hidden – IMO utterly pointless feature.

    1. @Blinky: IMO, whether the feature is useful or not is really dependent on each user. It might be pointless to many, but some people simply love eye candy and such features can really spice up their day.

      1. WTF@Blinky

        If you don’t want to use it then don’t. NOW SHURRUP!!!

        @Damien Thanks for this, quite nice for branding my servers with a nice login and my helpdesk numbers.


  3. what I really want is to set my desktop wallpaper to be the default boot splash, but I can’t find that file anywhere! This is a nice alternative.

    1. I found the original file here: /usr/share/images/xsplash

  4. Hello, nice tip but after I put in

    /home/matthew/ ?-install

    I got some error messages stating that the .rc file in my theme could not be located in the pixmath path. Then sudo xsplash only showed my previous splash screen, so didn’t seem to work.

    Can you suggest a fix?



    1. What is the theme that you are using for your desktop? If you have installed a custom theme, that could be the cause of the problem. Try to change back to the default theme or any other pre-installed theme and see if it works.

  5. Hello,
    Very good way to change the login screen. But I don’t understand this sentence :”Remember to change the filepath-to-script to the actual filepath”. Can you help me ?
    Thank you,

    1. @Christophe: If you saved the file in your home folder, your filepath will be /home/your-login-username/. If you saved it in the wallpaper folder in your Home directory, the file path will be /home/your-login-username/wallpaper.

      Do you understand now?

      1. Hello,
        Thank you very much ! It works.

  6. #!/bin/sh

    # Quick Script to change the XSplash Login Screen
    # MattyD
    # 1/27/2010


    echo “This script WILL change your login screen”
    echo “You should backup the xsplash before running”
    echo “I’ll try to back it up…but I make no promises…”
    echo “Input the specfic path to the new login graphic :”
    read NEWONE

    TIMESTAMP=`date +%m%d%y%H%M`; export TIMESTAMP

    sudo cp /usr/share/images/xsplash/bg_2560x1600.jpg /usr/share/images/xsplash/$TIMESTAMP.jpg

    sudo cp $NEWONE /usr/share/images/xsplash/bg_2560x1600.jpg

    sudo ls -halt /usr/share/images/xsplash/*.jpg

    sleep 5

    echo “Testing Boot Screen…press esc key to exit test…”

    sleep 5
    sudo xsplash

    echo “DONE!”

    1. @MattyD: Thanks for your script.

      For those who are not sure what the above code is, it is a simple script that you can use to change the XSplash login screen.

      Copy the code into a text editor and save it as

      Execute the script from the terminal:


  7. Quick Update – The Wallpaper daemon now downloads as a .deb file, so it installs itself, and add itself to startup automagically.

  8. Thanks for notifying.

  9. Using Ubuntu 10.10 on a PowerBook G4

    apt-get install xsplash-background-settings fails, saying
    E: Unable to locate package xsplash-background-settings

    1. Did you add the repository?

      sudo add-apt-repository ppa:meerkat/stable

      1. I added the repo but it still isn’t working for me on 10.10. Installed xsplash background settings 1.6.1 and it doesn’t seem to work. Program is installed, permissions for the folder are set, but wallpaper doesn’t change! Please help Thank you!

        1. Which version of Ubuntu are you using?

          1. Ubuntu Maverick 10.10

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