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A few months ago I converted an old desktop computer into a basic server by putting Ubuntu (desktop version) onto it and setting up apache2, etc. I have SSH configured so that I can work on it remotely, and use FTP to move files. When I tried to access my server yesterday I found that it was down, and I could not get in at all. I'm at college, and my server is at home, so I called my mom, who told me that there had been a brief power outage at my house, and I concluded that my server had restarted. I have the computer set to require a password on startup, so it turns out that it had just been sitting at the log in screen for the past few days, waiting for a password. My instinctive question is whether SSH or some other program can be used to log the system in (as if in person) from a remote computer after the server has been restarted.

As I said, I currently have the computer set to require a password to log into the one and only user account on the server upon startup. When I SSH or FTP, I use the same log in/password, though I'm guessing that I'm going to be told that this is the wrong way to go about doing it, and is the source of my problem. In that case, what would you recommend?

Thanks in advance.


In response to the comment and answer, I don't know what the X environment is, so it's probably not something that I want to log in to. The way I have the server set up, when you physically turn the machine on, it boots up, and then asks for a password, just like most normal computers do. You have to enter the password in order to get to the desktop and run applications. From my experience, the web server application, ssh server application, etc. are not active until the password is entered and the desktop is loaded. Hence, I need to log in to the computer in order for it to come on line as a server. What I need is a way to get the server running again (at desktop, with apache) after the machine loses power and boots back up without having to physically enter a password in person.

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  • Do you want to login into your computer but to the X environment? You want to login to Gnome or Unity or whatever? Is that it?
    – LnxSlck
    Oct 13, 2012 at 17:21
  • You want to have only terminal, or graphic user interface (like Unity, or Gnome)?
    – kubahaha
    Oct 13, 2012 at 20:35
  • It doesn't matter to me, as long as it can start apache, and doesn't log out and go off line when I close the client side application. I don't really want to keep peripherals connected, so a GUI wouldn't make a difference as you wouldn't see it. I'm not sure if what I'm saying makes sense. Oct 13, 2012 at 22:24

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Based on what you said, this sounds like you are using a BIOS boot password vs just the desktop logon password.

Case in point, I have a laptop in my home that is old much like yours, however, the ssh service is fully active and I don't need to log into the remote desktop. Doesn't matter how many users are present on the system. SSH is a service that will run in it's own process separate from the X environment.

My recommendation is that you remove the BIOS boot password and allow your computer to boot normally. That way you can access it remotely regardless of whether you have logged on to it physically.

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Edit: In response to comment, just as an alternative idea... you could create a second very non-privileged user that is allow to auto log on. This would get the needed services running.

Before I get flamed, yes there is a "potential" security issue in adding an auto log-in user. But not much more than adding an additional user period. Heavily restrict this user's access, give it a solid password, and have the screen auto lock and require a password after a very short time out. Then you should be able to log-in using the original answer.

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Use the -X option with the SSH command

Example $ssh -X 192.168.1.100

Also check out the man page for SSH to look at more options.

 man ssh

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