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I am currently unable to load the desktop (ubuntu 13.10, AMD64) following installing 13.10, then trying to install the latest nvidia driver (x86-64-331.38) from tty (after having to stop lightdm). The installation failed (I do not remember the exact message); when I rebooted I was unable to start the desktop. Am I correct in thinking that the video driver is what is causing this?

Here's where it gets worse: I locked the root, so I am unable to uninstall/reinstall via root shell in recovery mode. All other options on the recovery screen end up hanging after a few lines (a known bug?). I have tried adding init=/bin/sh to the linux line in the grub file; I have access to a shell here but get a warning ("can't access tty; job control turned off") and I cannot (or do not know how to) run files.

My question is: is there anything I can do to restore the video without having to wipe the computer and reinstall everything? Can I start up from cd? I'm not sure if this helps but I have an ubuntu...iso file that I appear to have access to. I am happy to provide any additional information.

Thanks for any help.

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I figured out how to unlock the root. When the shell prompt, remount the disk as rw, then unlock root. When I rebooted I was able to access the root shell. – user247453 Feb 12 '14 at 14:30
Now I have tried to reinstall the NVIDIA driver and I get all sorts of error messages: Skipping the runlevel check (the utility 'runlevel' failed to run). It ends up telling me that the gcc compiler is the wrong version; I have 4.8, and the driver .run file was compiled using 4.7. The install fails after this, saying that it cannot find the kernel. – user247453 Feb 12 '14 at 14:53
After downloading and installing the necessary (older) linux-header (I have 3.11 on saucy; NVIDIA needed 3.8.0-35), I tried again to install the NVIDIA driver via ./*.run. Though the installer said it was successful, nvidia-sim cannot find an NVIDIA driver. – user247453 Feb 12 '14 at 22:02
After trying many things to fix this problem, nvidia-smi was finally able to find the drivers after I purged the previously installed x-swat ppa. – user247453 Feb 18 '14 at 17:08

Yes you can. While you started booting your Ubuntu, you may see GRUB menu & in that menu choose recovery mode. If you have not seen recover mode keep pressing SHIFT key until you see GRUB Menu

After you getting into GRUB menu there is a option like " root drop to root shell " . From there you can do as a root user or you can reset root user password too.

There we have one more option like dpkg with which you can reconfigure your packages too. so I mean to say installing/removing/repairing your packages.

hope that helps.

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My root is locked so I am unable to work in root shell mode, and the other options do not work (they hang). – user247453 Feb 12 '14 at 14:20

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