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I've already been through a number of threads, so I'll summarize my situation and my attempts so far:

When I get to lightdm or gdm, I enter my information then get returned to lightdm or gdm. I use gnome-shell as my environment.

I have already done:

  • Moved .Xauthority to .Xauthority.backup
  • Changed from lightdm to gdm (and back)

I've gotten to tty1 and done:

  • sudo apt-get install --fix-broken
  • sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
  • sudo dpkg --configure -a

None of which have helped - there were no prompts for either process, although apt-get update upgraded linux-headers-generic and linux-image-generic. I've looked through dmesg, and there are no warnings or critical messages.

I feel like from the other messages that I'm a victim of a partial upgrade, but searching on that gets me the same information. I'm out of ideas. Help!

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Are you sure you get nothing in dmesg? You can search also in syslog (grep lightdm /var/log/syslog) and in /var/log/lightdm/lightdm.log. Also you can try to start the X server from tty1(startx) to see if you get any error or warning. –  Salem Nov 16 '12 at 13:56
    
I'm using gdm at the moment - here's a fatal error in 0-greeter.log: gnome-shell: Fatal IO error 11 (Resource temporarily unavailable) on X server :0 –  b. e. hollenbeck Nov 16 '12 at 14:26
    
Note - with xstart I get a desktop, but it asks for a keyring login, and compiz crashed at least once. I don't have gnome-shell at all. –  b. e. hollenbeck Nov 16 '12 at 14:43
    
You should update your answer with the logs using pastebinit. Maybe someone can get a hint from where the problem comes from with them. –  Salem Nov 16 '12 at 15:30
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