Yesterday I upgraded my Ubuntu by SSH but before I finished it, I restarted my computer. I know that was not very smart. Anyway now I don't have internet connection, the WiFi or Ethernet is not recognized.

When I try on the latest version installed, the mice didn't work. When I try with previous version and go in gnome-network manager it's said:

The system network service is not compatible with this version

Another thing is when I comeback to the remote computer and look at the SSH terminal the process have stopped at:

Setting up desktop-file-utils (0.20-0ubuntu2) ... 
Configuration file `/etc/gnome/defaults.list' 
==> Modified (by you or by a script)
since installation. ==> Package distributor has shipped 
an updated version. What would you like to do about it ? 
Your options are: Y or I:install the package maintainer's 
version N or O : keep your currently-installed version D : 
show the differences between the versions Z : start a shell 
to examine the situation The default action is to keep your 
current version. * defaults.list (Y/I/N/O/D/Z) [default=N] ? 
Write failed: Broken pipe

Is there any simple solution other than I having to reinstall my system?

  • I'm getting the same problem with Ubuntu 14.04
    – jeremiah
    Commented Sep 7, 2014 at 11:08
  • If on 14.04 LTS and you are facing problems after update in 2016 or later use this. I updated on 13th May 2016 and started facing this problem. askubuntu.com/a/771841/543358 This solved the problem without the need to downgrade. It will update network manager
    – Jit
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 14:47

8 Answers 8


I faced the same issue. Workaround is to start the network-manager manually

sudo service network-manager start

Still trying to figure a way to fix it permanently.

  • I haven't found one besides reinstalling :/
    – the_drow
    Commented Nov 24, 2013 at 12:27
  • Did you find the permanent way? Commented Feb 22, 2014 at 10:55
  • 1
    For permanent fix (in ArchLinux) : sudo systemctl enable NetworkManager.service then sudo systemctl start NetworkManager.service
    – Fritzip
    Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 12:35

Edit: This answer is over six years old and is no longer fresh due to changes in Ubuntu. This is a workaround.

Go into settings, startup items. Add an entry with the following command:

sudo service network-manager start

In a terminal, use visudo to add a NOPASSWD entry for this command so you do not need to give a password:

your-username-here ALL=NOPASSWD: service network-manager start

Next time you log on, this will force a start of the network manager (supposing that it is configured such that it can start up).

  • 1
    It's not a very clean way...
    – nanofarad
    Commented Jun 27, 2012 at 22:52
  • Please describe what you mean by "clean".
    – jeremiah
    Commented Sep 7, 2014 at 11:06
  • 1
    @jeremiah it's basically a workaround that could be done at a more appropriate time such as one of many initialization boot scripts (although determining which to use is sometimes not trivial)
    – nanofarad
    Commented Sep 7, 2014 at 11:07
  • gksu was removed from Ubuntu, so this answer is not helpful for most folks. If you can, just open a command prompt and use sudo.
    – Mike T
    Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 21:46
  • @MikeT The problem with the use of pure-sudo is that a startup item probably won't get a proper PTY. I think that the best way to handle this would be to require the NOPASSWD entry so that the command can run fully-automatically.
    – nanofarad
    Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 22:01

I had to reinstall the NetworkManager package and reboot. Everything was fine then.

sudo apt-get --reinstall install network-manager

  • thanks @iGeorgie I am having ubuntu in Virtualbox.. This reinstallation of network manager worked for me :) Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 6:38

Just stick the following in /etc/rc.local before the line that says "exit":


That should launch it whenever your system starts. A better way would be to add it to the appropriate init scripts so that it doesn't start in single user mode, but honestly it won't hurt anything this way either.


I also had a partially-complete upgrade cause this issue, but my fix was different. Turns out that network-manager won't start at boot if any of the interfaces in /etc/network/interfaces marked auto don't come online. Basically, the static network configuration stuff should all come online before network-manager will be triggered. For me, this was a stray eth0 configured to use dhcp. I had unplugged the ethernet from my box, and suddenly this problem emerged. Solution was to remove everything but the loopback interface from /etc/network/interfaces. See this link for more info


My install completed successfully, but I got the same error. Turns out that a new update (which reintroduces an old bug) causes network manager to crash. See here for the fix: Last upgrade crashes network manager (no internet connection, no applet)


If the installation was interrupted, you might get good results by fixing it with

sudo apt-get install -f

I just had what I think was the same problem OP had, starting manually the Network Manager provided me with the icon in unity, but no interfaces visible, while the above mentioned command and a reboot fixed the issue completely.


While check network configuration found some additional ethernet, I have just removed it and it works for me!

ls /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts


rm -rf ifcfg-Auto_Ethernet*

[root@ac2 network-scripts]# service network restart
Restarting network (via systemctl):                        [  OK  ]
  • Welcome to Ask Ubuntu. Use the {_} icon above the edit window to format pasted text from the the terminal as code next time.
    – user68186
    Commented Jun 11 at 16:23

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