I have a Debian Jessie build, and I want to add keyboard shutdown. I've tried the following, without any success:

Attempt 1

To /etc/inittab I added

ca:12345:ctrlaltdel:/sbin/shutdown -t1 -a -r now

I also tried

ca::ctrlaltdel:/sbin/shutdown -t1 -a -r now

Then I tried to create a file /etc/init/control-alt-delete.conf and added:

start on control-alt-delete    
exec /sbin/shutdown -h now "Control-Alt-Delete pressed"

Attempt 2

I also, installed kbd and to rc.local added:

loadkeys << EOF
alt keycode 103 = KeyboardSignal

And to /etc/inittab added:

kb::kbrequest:/sbin/shutdown -h now

Again nothing.

Attempt 3 To /etc/kbd/default.map.gz, I added

keycode 111 = Select
        altgr   control keycode 111 = KeyboardSignal
        control alt     keycode 111 = KeyboardSignal

And to /etc/inittab I added

kb:12345:kbrequest:/sbin/shutdown -t1 -h now

I've had no success with any of these attempts. I obviously restarted after each attempt.

My ultimate goal is to allow reboot from the login prompt page when you use console without GUI

Help is appreciated

1 Answer 1


sysvinit is deprecated in favor of systemd in Debian jessie. So you cannot change the system's behavior by editing /etc/inittab or /etc/init/*.conf.

When user presses Ctrl+Alt+DEL on the console, systemd invokes /lib/systemd/system/ctrl-alt-del.target which is by default a symlink to reboot.target in the same directory, that results in a simple reboot.

You can override that behavior by creating /etc/systemd/system/ctrl-alt-del.target. If you want to shut down and power off the system, make a symlink to poweroff.target:

ln -f /lib/systemd/system/poweroff.target /etc/systemd/system/ctrl-alt-del.target

See systemd's manual about special targets mentioned above.

  • That's fantastic thank you. Is it possible to change the keyboard shortcut from Ctrl+Alt+Del to something else? Or is that keyboard shortcut hardwired?
    – Kousha
    Feb 8, 2016 at 18:56

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