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Linux / UNIX: Run Multiple X Sessions

How do I run multiple X Session under Linux or UNIX operating systems? How do I switch between X sessions?

The startx script initialize an X session. You can use the same to run multiple X session. Switch to console mode by pressing CTRL+ALT+F1. Provide your login details and type the following command to start X session:
startx -- :1
By default the first X session runs on screen 0. However, you can run the second X session on screen 1, the third on screen 2, and so on. The above startx command tell X to run on screen 1. To run X on screen 2, you’d use the command
startx -- :2

How Do I Switch Between X Sessions?

  1. To go back to the screen 0 user X session, press Ctrl+Alt+F7
  2. To go back to the screen 1 user X session press Ctrl+Alt+F8.
  3. To go back to the screen 2 user X session press Ctrl+Alt+F9.
  4. Please note that F7 to F12 identify six X sessions.
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{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Stjujsckij Nickolaj April 28, 2010, 9:34 am

    Or one could just use Qingy: http://qingy.sourceforge.net/

  • Steven April 28, 2010, 3:42 pm

    When using KDE, you have the option to start a new session in the start menu. You are then presented with a new login screen.
    The annoying thing though, is that you have no info on who is already logged in into one of those additional X Sessions.

    • Daemon_ZOGG May 25, 2010, 4:05 am

      Open a terminal shell (bash, xterm, etc). Type the letter “w”, press enter… Shows you who’s logged in. No matter what tty they’re logged in to. You don’t have to be root to run the command. It will even show remote users logged in to your machine.
      Cheers ;)

  • Ex-Opesa April 29, 2010, 3:20 am

    Thanks for the info! I didn’t know that^^

  • yannick February 2, 2011, 1:29 pm


    If You want launch a simple Xorg session with the next command line :

    # Xorg :0 (control+alt+F7)
    # Xorg :1 (control+alt+F8)

    (which is lauched by startx — :1)

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