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I recently installed Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty Tahr) LTS, and I was wondering how could I start the GUI manually upon booting the system.

For example, I'd like the system to start at a black tty screen, ask for my credentials and password, and then I can start the GUI manually.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Run the following command in terminal:

sudo gedit /etc/default/grub

This opens the GRUB boot loader configuration file with a text editor.

  1. Do the below changes:

Comment the line GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash", by adding # at the beginning, which will disable the Ubuntu purple screen.

Change GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="" to GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="text". This makes Ubuntu boot directly into text mode.

Uncomment this line #GRUB_TERMINAL=console, by removing the # at the beginning. This makes GRUB menu into real black & white text mode (without a background image).

After saving the changes, update GRUB via the command:

sudo update-grub

Restart your computer and see the result.

To get the GUI, run sudo lightdm.


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thanks i did what you posted and it disabled the automatic installation of the gui. but i have 2 little problems: 1- i receive "sda1 write same failed. manually zeroing" next to the login prompt (no problems on entering credentials/password though) 2- when I enter "startx" nothing initializes but the desktop. No sidebar or the bar at the top for system settings etc. I'd appreciate your help if you could help me. – exnihilodub Jun 8 '14 at 19:11
I don't know about the first one, but I would suggest trying the command sudo lightdm for the second one, not startx? – Tim Jun 8 '14 at 19:15

You need to boot in run level 3 (where you get only the command line) and then you can type init 5 (witch will go in run level 5 with GUI)

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thanks but how do i start at level 3? – exnihilodub Jun 8 '14 at 19:10
The concept of Runlevels is not applicable on Ubuntu any more. – guntbert Jun 8 '14 at 20:14

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