I bought a new computer, a precision tower 7920 with Quadro RTX 4000 GPUs. Because the nvidia driver installation is so complicated, I ordered the machine with Ubuntu (as it was supported by Dell and comes pre-installed).

However from the very first time I turned the computer on it won't boot, getting stuck at

Starting Gnome Display Manager

showing no error messages, but not moving forward from that point. Just like in this question: GUI does not start

It looks like the graphic drivers aren't installed properly. I could start debugging this. But my concern is: Should I even consider that Dell would send a new computer that is incapable of booting? Is this an 'exchange the product' case?

  • 26
    Fully agree with @Karel here, it is Dell's reponsiblity to provide a usable computer. So it is entirely their fault. I would recommend not allowing them to "troubleshoot" for you because most of the time support staff are not trained in Linux support, and often have no clue what they are doing. Aug 7, 2019 at 0:07
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    You may want to boot from a live Ubuntu media just to confirm for yourself that the hardware is fine. Aug 7, 2019 at 11:33
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    Returning/fixing will take weeks; you may want to fiddle a bit before you do that. As a matter of terminology: The machine clearly does boot (the system must be up and running in order to start a GUI). You may want to determine whether the machine actually hangs overall or whether just the GUI startup hangs; for that, try to switch to a different console with Alt+Function key (I think any except F7 because that's where X is running). If starting the GUI makes it hang overall try to start in single user mode to a text console and examine the log files. Aug 7, 2019 at 12:04
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    Technically, it did boot if it shows "starting gnome display manager" :) Sounds like unsupported, misconfigured (BIOS settings) or confused (wrong head) graphics hardware Aug 7, 2019 at 19:55
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    It shouldn't take weeks. I don't know Dell's policies, but most reputable vendors in this situation will say "we're very sorry, we're shipping out a replacement today and here's an RMA tag to send back the non-working one." Your time is worth money, and you should not spend your time to fix their problem. Aug 7, 2019 at 20:16

4 Answers 4


You don't have to accept a computer that doesn't boot from Dell or from anyone. If the computer has a guarantee, return it and make them honor their guarantee. If you do too many things to try to repair this computer, it may be used as an excuse to void the guarantee, and you'll be stuck with a useless unbootable computer.

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    Nothing wrong with your reply, but personally I would consider first checking logs or reinstalling the OS myself. Taking the computer back to the store and then waiting for diagnostics/fix will take much more time.
    – Maadinsh
    Aug 7, 2019 at 13:38
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    @karel I tried with some small fixes and one solved the issue (diabling the Wayland display server and forcing the system to use Xorg). Still I think the correct move is to expect a working computer and should not fiddle around it. I just have now concerns on quality check on their side and wondered if exchanging the machine would have solved anything. But I see that your approach should be the correct one.
    – hirschme
    Aug 7, 2019 at 17:00
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    Presumably OP just purchased this recently, in which case he can rely on sale of goods laws rather than any guarantee. Most countries will have such a rule whereby within a certain period (e.g. 30 days) you can return a faulty product for a full refund, regardless of any guarantee (or lack thereof). Aug 7, 2019 at 17:48
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    @Maadinsh you should first read small print, as stupid as it sound, reinstalling the OS yourself might void the guarantee even for hardware ... Aug 8, 2019 at 13:52
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    In the US, reinstalling a computer's OS or installing a different OS won't void the warranty. Warranties are covered by federal law, and companies cannot enforce warranty requirements that violate the law.
    – barbecue
    Aug 9, 2019 at 13:39

You could boot off a flash drive and nuke the existing OS installation since it seems to only be a software issue but, as others have said, it is Dell's responsibility and you should file a warranty claim.

  • This was my original thought as well
    – leetbacoon
    Aug 7, 2019 at 20:57
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    If the OP had just got the computer, a return to retailer should be used instead of a warranty claim. Only submit a warranty claim if the retailer won't exchange or refund.
    – AStopher
    Aug 7, 2019 at 21:25
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    Reinstalling the OS is likely less hassle than returning it and being without a laptop for some time.
    – Qwertie
    Aug 8, 2019 at 6:32

In addition to the what everyone else said, there's also the very distinct possibility that there's a hardware problem. Definitely contact Dell.


What did you buy? Some hardware, or a working computer (with the knowledge that Linux is well supported on it)?

What are your skills? Are you fluent enough on Linux to be able to reinstall some Linux distro on your computer without any help? Are you capable of detecting most hardware issues?

How much is your time worth? Can you wait a week to get that problem fixed, or do you prefer to fix it yourself because you actually have some work to do quickly with that computer? You'll probably lose nearly a week (in practice) to get that problem fixed by Dell. Of course, it will be fixed.

The latest Ubuntu is 19.04 now. You might have reasons to prefer the latest distro, not the most stable one (or vice versa). I prefer, as a developer, to have the latest libraries.

I've got the same workstation at work (but right now, in mid-August 2019, I am on vacation) and I preferred to reinstall Debian on it.

Should I even consider that Dell would send a new computer that is incapable of booting?

We are sadly living in a world where capital (and shareholders' interests) is more important (and more valuable) than labor. The poor guy actually installing Ubuntu at Dell's factory is probably underpaid, even more than you or me are. He made some mistake, but that happens to all of us...

Errare humanum est, but the most interesting part comes next.

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