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I've just completed a fresh new installation of Ubuntu 11.04 Server (64 bit) including xfce. After the installation was complete (along with all the LAMP server components), I started X for the first time and all was good. After the initial reboot, I get the nice xfce login screen. I put in my credentials, it suddenly switches to command-line mode for less than half a second and returns me to the pretty xfce login prompt.

The login credentials are correct, as if I intentionally using the wrong username or password, it tells me so. I managed to capture an image of the terminal window that flashes up and disappears - all just an install script with all [ok] - no errors at all.

Now, this is running on a VBox virtual machine, but that shouldn't really matter - and I've successfully used the same VBox for dozens of other Linux installations - including Ubuntu server 10.04 LTS.

Any ideas?

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Ok - I'm not sure exactly how, but on my 5th attempt, I got it working and the problem automagically went away.

I think it had to do with VBoxLinuxAddtions... see this thread, which gave me a bit of guidance:

First, you need to install VirtualBox guest extensions:

  • In the VirtualBox menu, Devices -> "Install Guest Additions"
  • Then, mount them: Devices -> Mount CD/DVD-ROM -> CD/DVD-ROM Image
  • Select VBoxGuestAdditions.iso

Open a terminal (Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal)

  • sudo apt-get install linux-headers-generic
  • mount /media/cdrom (If you get an error that it's already mounted, ignore the error)
  • sudo /media/cdrom/
  • (wait)
  • Reboot the virtual machine.
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Ran into the same problem with Ubuntu 14.04. Followed these instructions, but the problem persists. – Tom Jan 21 at 15:12

To be specific - it was the "sudo apt-get install linux-headers-generic" that I had been missing. Oddly enough, it wasn't a required step in the other Linux installations I had done on VBox - including Ubuntu Server 11.04 running gnome - it seems just xfce (or at least my installation of xfce) was having problems without it...

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