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One moment my system was fine. I tried to use Skype and could not get microphone to work. I tried starting pulseaudio volume control. It would not start. After reboots and a lot of messing about I removed and reinstalled pulseaudio. Then when I rebooted there was no desktop. A right click gave me options including terminal and web-browser (I think this is openbox). I tried 'startlxde' from terminal and was told it was not installed. I did:

 sudo apt-get install --reinstall lxdm lubuntu-desktop

now if I type startlxde in a terminal I get a desktop, albeit completely unlike my old one. However it does not start automatically. How can I fix this ?

Also the microphone now works fine, but there is no output sound. Should I just salvage any personal work and start to install everything from scratch ?

  • you could set startlxde to be executed automatically at bootup, that should make the desktop appear as soon as you boot up. I don't know if there's a more elegant solution but reinstalling may be a bit extreme. – dsSTORM May 6 '18 at 18:43
  • I fixed the problem with the speakers, so now the only thing wrong is not starting lubuntu desktop on boot. Will installing a greeter package fix that ? – user1759557 May 8 '18 at 15:54
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To get the Lubuntu desktop back, I right-clicked in the black openbox desktop and selected logout. This brought up the greeter screen that I was familiar with. I had never noticed the buttons in the top right corner before (never needed to use them). One of these is a pull-down which allows me to select the desktop environment. Openbox was selected. I changed the selection to Lubuntu Desktop and logged in as normal. This gave me the desktop I am used to with all my taskbar customisations intact.

The good thing is that the desktop selection is rememembered. Subsequent reboots took me straight to Lubuntu desktop instead of Openbox.

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