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I just spent a number of hours in trying to make my 12.04 boot again, after it put itself in a strange hang in splash screen.

After many trials and errors involving false leads such as

  • nvidia-common driver
  • hanging after "Checking battery state"
  • failure in mountall
  • failure to mount the swap due to encrypted home directory

and dealing with grub plymouth and others, I traced the problem to being related to lightdm. I changed to gdm, and the problem was solved. Could I have saved this fiver hours waste of time by using a log file, or any other information that could help in finding the difficulty that lightDM was experiencing?

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Yes, the following log files would have helped immensely: /var/log/lightdm/* You need to be root (sudo) to read the files.

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