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Actually, I've written this post before (quite a few months ago) but then deleted it because it didn't work. In the mean time, I found out why, so I decided to post it again. I find pressing Control + Alt + Delete to open up System Monitor to be very useful, especially for Windows users who are used to it and may actually press this quite a few times before realizing it doesn't do anything or what it does in Windows. Using System Monitor, you can preview all running processes, end or kill them, see how much CPU a process is using, CPU + memory + network history, available disk space and even change how much CPU a process should use.

There are 2 ways of changing Ctrl + Alt + Delete behavior to open System Monitor: one if you are running Compiz, and one for Metacity, only to use if you are not running Compiz.

Step 1: This is actually very important: go to System > Preferences > Keyboard shortcurs and search for any command which already has Ctrl + Alt + Delete set as a shortcut and change it's shortcut. If you don't change this, it will not work! If you want to use the "Del" ("keypad .") button instead of "Delete", search for that and also make sure there's no shorcut set for it.

Once you complete step 1, we can proceed.


Method 1: Using Compiz


1.1. Make sure you have CCSM (CompizConfig Settings Manager) installed, and go to System > Preferences > ompizConfig Settings Manager.


1.2. Under "General", notice the "Commands" option. Enable the check box next to it, and then click it.

1.3. On the Commands tab, choose an empty line and paste this:
gnome-system-monitor

Important: remember which line it was. For instance, I have chosen line 1.

gnome-system-monitor

1.4. On the Key Bindings Tab, for the same line you entered the command at step 1.3. (for which I choose line 1), there is now something called "Run command X" which is the key combination to be pressed to launch the command you entered under the "Commands" tab. OK, so next to this "Run Command 1" (in my case) line, press on the "disabled" button. A new window pops-up: check the "enable" box. Then, you are asked to select the key combination. You can simply press the "Grab key combination" button, and then press Ctrl + Alt + Delete (Or Ctrl + Alt + KP_decimal which is "Del" -> the button on the bottom right corner on your keyboard).

compiz keybindings

That's it, you can now test your new Ctrl + Alt + Delete



Method 2: Using Metacity


If you use Compiz and followed the steps above, than all this is already set for you so there is no need to read on :). If you don't use Compiz:

2.1. Press Alt + F2 on your keboard and type:
gconf-editor

2.2. Then navigate to: apps > metacity > keybinding_commands and choose a "command_x" parameter which is empty. I choose "command_2". Right click it, select "Edit" and enter:
gnome-system-monitor


gconf-editor

2.3. Now go to apps > metacity > global_keybindings and if you choose "command_2", then right click "run_command_2" and select "Edit", then enter:
<Control><Alt>Delete
for Ctrl + Alt + Delete, or:
<Control><Alt>KP_Decimal

(for Ctrl + Alt + Del - just "Del", not "Delete")

ctrl alt delete linux


And you are done!
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