I was following a guide to install i3-gaps and successfully changed to it from the login screen. When I logged in from there, nothing loaded up (blank desktop) and it seems as if the keyboard won't work (I cannot access the terminal or anything else for that matter from the desktop). The only way I'm able to get out is to hit the power button.

I am on Ubuntu 16.04, linux boots up to i3-gaps which is completely unresponsive and I want to go back to the default window manager, with only access to the terminal in recovery mode.

  • I have it set up to boot to the desktop after the grub menu, so I never get to see the login screen. Because of this I can't change back to the original window manager.

  • failsafex does absolutely nothing in recovery mode (makes the screen black and then shows me the recovery mode menu after a little bit).

  • sudo apt-get commands fail in the recovery mode terminal (I think this is because I have no internet connection in recovery mode for some reason), so I don't think I'll be able to install anything from there.

  • after a short amount of time in the recovery mode menu, the system will glitch out forcing me to have to restart.


  • Ctrl + Alt + F2 from the desktop got me into that terminal.

  • startx to get back to unity

  • sudo service lightdm start to get back to the login screen. From there I was able to switch back to the default window manager

  • Have you tried logging in to one of the CLI virtual terminals (e.g. Ctrl-Alt-F2)? Unlike recovery mode, networking should be up and the root filesystem should be writable from there. Apr 7, 2018 at 2:17
  • Feel free to add your solution as an answer to help others that might be experiencing the same. Q&A type questions are encouraged here.
    – Terrance
    Apr 7, 2018 at 13:41

1 Answer 1


you can try to get into different tty session. just open and wait for everything to settle. then CTRL + ALT+ F2 to go into different session. log in as normal. and after that it is just command line. you can delete every other window manager and install gnome or unity, or whatever you want.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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