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 Sep 7 '14 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 May 13 '16 at 14:47

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).

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  • 1
    It's not a very clean way... – nanofarad Jun 27 '12 at 22:52
  • Please describe what you mean by "clean". – jeremiah Sep 7 '14 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 Sep 7 '14 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 Feb 15 '19 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 Feb 15 '19 at 22:01

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.

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  • I haven't found one besides reinstalling :/ – the_drow Nov 24 '13 at 12:27
  • Did you find the permanent way? – Jill Clover Feb 22 '14 at 10:55
  • 1
    For permanent fix (in ArchLinux) : sudo systemctl enable NetworkManager.service then sudo systemctl start NetworkManager.service – Fritzip Dec 29 '16 at 12:35

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

sudo apt-get --reinstall install network-manager

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  • thanks @iGeorgie I am having ubuntu in Virtualbox.. This reinstallation of network manager worked for me :) – ravi.zombie Aug 11 '16 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.

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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

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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)

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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.

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