A while back I decided to try the Gnome Shell desktop environment as I've always been a fan of the foundation and the desktop environment. I decided that I'd become used to Unity and that I wouldn't really log into a GNOME session often, so I uninstalled it via the command line... which, frankly, was stupid. When I boot into my Ubuntu installation, the login screen does not appear, but rather a logging TTY - the one seen upon shutdown that is reserved for X11, and normally accessible by Ctrl+Alt+F7. Can anyone tell me the packages required to make the login screen appear - as in default packages that may have been removed (metacity, unity, etc)?

Edit: I ran apt-get update/upgrade/dist-upgrade from another terminal, but to no avail.

Here is a picture of the TTY, just in case I was not clear (sorry about the quality): Ubuntu TTY

Thanks in advance.

  • It might prove to reinstall the operating system as this may not be a save.
    – Ringtail
    Mar 6, 2012 at 21:55
  • I was thinking that. I suppose that's what I'll have to do. Is it possible to reinstall without wiping out the home directory - better yet, can one use the Live CD installer to reinstall the default packages and not be left with a bare install? Mar 6, 2012 at 23:14
  • askubuntu.com/a/19821/46312 look around here
    – Ringtail
    Mar 6, 2012 at 23:51
  • I ended up just doing a reinstall. Thanks though. Mar 7, 2012 at 3:46
  • well that too bad. gave it a good run though.
    – Ringtail
    Mar 7, 2012 at 3:49

2 Answers 2


This should take care of your issue

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop

additionally if needed

sudo apt-get install gnome-shell
  • ubuntu-desktop was already at its current version, and gnome-shell was updated (see my edit of the question). Mar 6, 2012 at 21:09
  • is this 10.10, 11.04 or 11.10
    – Ringtail
    Mar 6, 2012 at 21:35
  • Ubuntu Desktop 11.10 amd64 Mar 6, 2012 at 21:39
  • try rebooting, during the GRUB boot process, hold down the SHIFT key. This should put you into the recovery console
    – Ringtail
    Mar 6, 2012 at 21:47
  • Do you mean the GRUB rescue? What would I do from there? Mar 6, 2012 at 23:05

sudo apt-get install --reinstall ubuntu-desktop should install lightdm and the rest of the missing packages to get your desktop back.

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