I am using Gnome 3 with Debian Wheezy. I am looking for a way to make the user ask at least for the root password when using the shutdown button from the menu.

2 Answers 2


polkit/consolekit can do exactly what you need. Write a new polkit rule:


add the following content (assuming you require root password for both shutdown & restart):

[Disable shutdown/restart]

Change the privileges on the shutdown command in /sbin so that only root (or a member of a group with equivalence) can execute it. You would make the changes via chmod or the file-manager of choice in your distribution. If you did this, in theory you would have to "sudo shutdown -h now" and you would be prompted for the root password. That should work in theory

Another more complicated but better answer:

Open /etc/X11/gdm/gdm.conf in a text editor and find the [greeter] section. Make sure that there is a line which says SystemMenu = false. This line will ensure that the gdm login screen will not have the option for shutting down the system etc.

Step 2:
If you have a laptop, or an acpi system on your computer, then go to /etc/acpi and disable the power button, so that, when someone presses the power button, the system does not shutdown. You can disable this easily by doing chmod 000 /etc/acpi/powerbtn.sh

Step 3:
Now edit /etc/inittab

and find the lines that say:

ca::ctrlaltdel:/sbin/shutdown -t3 -r now

And change it to read:

ca::ctrlaltdel:/bin/echo “ctrl-alt-delete has been disabled” .

This will effectively prevent users from changing to a console screen and using ctrl+alt+delete to shutdown the system.

Step 4:
Execute the following commands:
sudo chgrp admin /sbin/halt /sbin/shutdown
sudo chmod 550 /sbin/halt /sbin/shutdown

Step 5:
Use the Configuration Editor (Applications -> System Tools -> Configuration Editor) to edit the preference apps->gnome-session->options->logout_opt… to “logout” instead of “shutdown”.

Now only a superuser (Admin) can shutdown the system, using the command:
$sudo shutdown -t3 -r now

Got help from here: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080606143849AAONUy9

  • Thank you for your answer. i only need to know how to disable this in the users menu. The other steps are already done. And since i am using GNOME 3 (!!!) there is no entry for gnome-session under apps neither in gconf-editor nor in dconf editor.
    – l1zard
    Jul 24, 2012 at 17:58

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