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Yesterday, after turning on Ubuntu, I logged into a Gnome session. A few minutes later, I tried switching to Unity for a change. Unfortunately, the background and my desktop icons loaded, but the system bar and launcher failed to load even after several minutes. Unity had always worked fine for me.

I then tried the guest account, and it worked fine on both Unity and Gnome. However, the problem with my account got worse; I couldn't log into any desktop at all anymore. I would type in my password and press enter and it would just sit there doing nothing. The computer no longer responded in any way, so I had to hold the power button and reboot. The same problem happened repeatedly.

Earlier today, I tried to get on again. I found that I hadthe same problem, when I tried to log in, the computer no longer locked up, but instead flashed a black screen with theconsole output and what seemed to be an error message before returning to the log in screen. It was to quick for me to read, about 1/4-1/2 second.

I'd really appreciate some help as I have some important files that are not backed up yet. I can't transfer the files to a new account, or even make a new account because I tried taking the password off my account so now I can't authenticate from the guest to perform root functions.

I'd really appreciate some help as I have some important files that are not backed up yet. Thanks.

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Try creating a new user account and log into Gnome and Unity to see if both work ok. If so, the problem is with your user. – LnxSlck Oct 6 '12 at 23:19
I can't create a new user because my account, the admin, has no password. – Razick Oct 7 '12 at 11:46
up vote 1 down vote accepted

You can get in your account from the terminal without GUI and back up the files or fix some issues from there.

Hit Ctrl+Alt+F1, and you'll see a login prompt. Log in and do your stuff, from the command line.

You can create a new user from the command line like this:

sudo adduser <newusername>

If you want to get back to GUI desktop, hit Ctrl+Alt+F7.

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I found out I have the files I need in Ubuntu One. So I'm reinstalling. This did help me make some progress and I think would have worked though, so thank you! – Razick Oct 8 '12 at 22:44

I ran into the same issue. The problem was in the user .XAuthority file permission was owned by the root user. I changed the file permission and was able to log back in.

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