Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I originally asked this question over the Ubuntu forums, but I'm not really sure where the best place to get help is. Anyway...

I've had Ubuntu 11.04 installed on my desktop since it's release. Up until an hour ago, it was working fine. I clicked on an update from the update manager, now booting into a graphical mode is completely broken, (the start-up load hangs at 'Check Battery State ... [0k]'). I restarted my computer, and booted into safe mode, and launched the terminal. This all works fine. I then typed :

sudo gdm start

into the command prompt, hoping that I would be able to start things manually. Instead, it spat out this:

gdm-binary[230]: WARNING: Unable to load file '/etc/gdm/custom.conf'. No such file or directory.
gdm-binary[230]: WARNING: Unable to find users : no seat-id found.
gdm-binary[230]: WARNING: Gdm Display: display lasted 0.070467 seconds

The last line was printed about 8 times, with slightly different times, before it gave up and failed. Some information which might help, I have Gnome 2, Unity and KDE (not sure which version), installed. My graphics card is the GTX 275, and I have driver the Nvidia driver 275.21. So yeah, I think the update has gone and moved custom.conf somewhere, but I have no idea on how to fix it. I have a graphics programming assignment due on Friday and I would be eternally grateful if I could get this fixed well before then. Thanks.

share|improve this question
try to run sudo apt-get install --reinstall gdm – Pavlos G. Aug 22 '11 at 14:01
I gave that a go, but it still produced the same error. – Darcy Rayner Aug 22 '11 at 14:12
then check whether the file /etc/gdm/custom.conf exists. if not, you should try to create one. i'll post the main contents in a bit.. – Pavlos G. Aug 22 '11 at 14:15
Thanks Pavlos. Gdm is right, the file doesn't exist, and there are no temp or hidden files in the directory that it might be related to. – Darcy Rayner Aug 22 '11 at 14:25
Can you run gdmsetup? Are there any files in the /etc/gdm/ folder or is it empty? – Pavlos G. Aug 22 '11 at 14:27
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Alright, so I managed to solve this issue. The trouble was that I wasn't using the Ubuntu packaged graphics driver, so after a kernel update the kernel was expecting a particular graphics driver, but was actually linked against a newer version. Re-installing the driver seems to have fixed the problem temporarily, but it might re-occur as soon as I do another kernel update.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.