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Something went wrong when I was upgrading from Ubuntu 12.10 to 13.04.

When the screen comes up I get an option to load Ubuntu with various versions of Linux and if I select one I get nothing but terminal. I think the network is having trouble connecting, because all kinds of downloads that should work are having problems.

What should I do? The computer in question has no optical drive at the moment but I could theoretically put the old floppy drive back in.

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The following answer was provided by user239585 (the question asker):

  1. Your disk will likely be read-only in recovery mode. Run this command to make it not so:

    mount -o rw,remount /

  2. The problem is that during your upgrade, some of the packages did not download/install correctly. To correct this problem, you will need to run a series of commands. If you are on a wired connection, however, you will first need to run:

    vi /etc/network/interfaces

Add the following two lines:

auto eth0 iface
iface eth0 inet dhcp

Save (command mode, zz)

Then run this command:

sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart

Now run the following commands in succession, being that you are connected to the internet and your disk is writable:

sudo dpkg --configure -a
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install -f 
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo dpkg --configure -a

Then, as you guessed, just type:


And all should be well. You may still get the recovery screen on your next boot, but just select the top option, Ubuntu. When the cursor appears, you know you're good, because that is a sign that X server is running properly. After following these instructions, I have 13.04 with XFCE and all important files in tact.

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@user239585 Be sure to follow the question & answer format used on all Stack Exchange sites such as Ask Ubuntu. Normally I would have just commented on your question and recommended that you post the answer yourself (as an answer), but I don't yet have enough rep on Ask Ubuntu to comment there. Therefore I put your answer in its right place here. As a tip for the future: It’s OK to Ask and Answer Your Own Questions – Cerran Jan 25 '14 at 14:28
It wouldn't allow me to do that for 8 hours following the posting of the question, but it only took me a couple hours to find my own answer. Thank you for doing this for me. – user239585 Jan 25 '14 at 21:39
@user239585 Ah yes, I forgot about that. Good point! Don't forget to accept an answer so this question doesn't remain in the "unanswered" section. – Cerran Jan 25 '14 at 23:36

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