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After I updated to Ubuntu 14.04, I am not able to login to Ubuntu.

Whenever I enter my password, my screen flashes for a couple of seconds and goes back to the login screen. I have tried over and over again but the same thing happens.

I can't login through the guest session either - whenever I click login, the screen flashes and goes back to the login screen again.

What do I do? I'm really confused and stuck and I need to fix this problem REALLY soon!


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boot to recovery mode, drop to a root shell, and make sure everything in your home directory is owned by your user. If that fails, try resetting unity -… – bodhi.zazen Jun 19 '14 at 22:20
@bodhi.zazen: Since it happens with guest sessions too, the problem is probably not home directory related. I would check the lightdm config files. – Gunnar Hjalmarsson Jun 20 '14 at 1:48
How would I do this? Thanks! – user295111 Jun 20 '14 at 4:44
you can look at the logs, but, it takes longer to debug a failed upgrade then it does to do a fresh install. Your data in /home will be preserved as long as you do NOT format yout root partition. – bodhi.zazen Jun 20 '14 at 12:08
Thanks for the help! Fairly new to Terminal and Ubuntu. Are there any specific commands that would help me do what I need to do? – user295111 Jun 21 '14 at 5:21

I had the same issue and solved it by correcting the ownership of the file: ~/.Xauthority. Just open a terminal and enter:

sudo chown `whoami`.`whoami` -R .Xauthority
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Sorry! Didn't work. Ubuntu just crashes when I do this. Is it possible if you could answer this:… – user295111 Jun 27 '14 at 6:37

[ I realize this is a long dead thread, I am primarily providing an answer for my future self to find after updating Ubuntu and having it once again break the install ]

If you are running Ubuntu within a VM, you most likely need to reinstall your virtual machine tools.

Ubuntu update/upgrade will have clobbered the video drivers. I removed the Ubuntu installed nVidia* packages, however that was quite likely not necessary.

You could try removing/correcting permissions on the ~/.Xauthority file, however I suspect you will not see and change in behavour.

General steps for re-installing virtual machine tools is as follows:

  1. start guest OS (Ubuntu)
  2. select "Reinstall VM Tools"
  3. login in via console (Ctl-Alt-F1 from the GUI login screen)
  4. sudo mount /dev/cdrom /mnt
  5. cd /mnt ; sudo ./install
  6. follow prompts - repair/re-install as prompted.
  7. reboot.
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