Where is my Ubuntu desktop? Its booting and going always default to terminal screen, if i press Ctrl+Alt+F7 still in terminal Ctrl+Alt+F1 still in terminal.

enter image description here

No GUI, how do I recover it?


sun@e700gent:/etc/X11$ sudo apt-get install --reinstall ubuntu-desktop
[sudo] password for sun: 
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following packages were automatically installed and are no longer required:
  libcdio-paranoia1 packagekit-backend-aptcc gdebi-core libxrandr-ltsq2 linux-headers-3.5.0-23-generic linux-headers-3.5.0-23 libcdio-cdda1 libllvm3.1
Use 'apt-get autoremove' to remove them.
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 1 reinstalled, 0 to remove and 209 not upgraded.
Need to get 0 B/4,016 B of archives.
After this operation, 0 B of additional disk space will be used.
(Reading database ... 230006 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to replace ubuntu-desktop 1.267.1 (using .../ubuntu-desktop_1.267.1_amd64.deb) ...
Unpacking replacement ubuntu-desktop ...
Setting up ubuntu-desktop (1.267.1) ...

sun@e700gent:~$ unity --reset
WARNING: no DISPLAY variable set, setting it to :0

(process:2541): GConf-WARNING **: Client failed to connect to the D-BUS daemon:
//bin/dbus-launch terminated abnormally with the following error: Autolaunch error: X11 initialization failed.

WARNING: environment is incorrect: No D-BUS daemon running

Did you just try to reset in a tty?
unity-panel-service: no process found
compiz (core) - Fatal: Couldn't open display :0

sun@e700gent:~$ sudo startx
[sudo] password for sun: 

X.Org X Server 1.11.3
Release Date: 2011-12-16
X Protocol Version 11, Revision 0
Build Operating System: Linux 2.6.42-37-generic x86_64 Ubuntu
Current Operating System: Linux e700gent 3.5.0-36-generic #57~precise1-Ubuntu SMP Thu Jun 20 18:21:09 UTC 2013 x86_64
Kernel command line: BOOT_IMAGE=/boot/vmlinuz-3.5.0-36-generic.efi.signed root=UUID=68af0547-17ed-4a85-8369-244d57223f91 ro quiet splash vt.handoff=7
Build Date: 11 April 2013  01:05:39PM
xorg-server 2:1.11.4-0ubuntu10.13 (For technical support please see http://www.ubuntu.com/support) 
Current version of pixman: 0.24.4
    Before reporting problems, check http://wiki.x.org
    to make sure that you have the latest version.
Markers: (--) probed, (**) from config file, (==) default setting,
    (++) from command line, (!!) notice, (II) informational,
    (WW) warning, (EE) error, (NI) not implemented, (??) unknown.
(==) Log file: "/var/log/Xorg.0.log", Time: Tue Jul 16 17:37:57 2013
(==) Using system config directory "/usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d"

Fatal server error:
no screens found

Please consult the The X.Org Foundation support 
     at http://wiki.x.org
 for help. 
Please also check the log file at "/var/log/Xorg.0.log" for additional information.

 ddxSigGiveUp: Closing log
Server terminated with error (1). Closing log file.


It seems like solving this problem is like rocket science, its unfixed. Instead of wasting time debugging it, i finally re-install the ubuntu.

  • 2
    Try sudo startx what happens?
    – Mitch
    Commented Jul 16, 2013 at 15:37
  • 1
    @Mitch: FAILS (no luck)
    – user25165
    Commented Jul 16, 2013 at 15:38
  • 1
    Please post the contents of /var/log/Xorg.0.log to pastebin and link it. Without having any clue what could be wrong, you could try to move /etc/X11/xorg.conf and all files in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d to a backup directory.
    – soulsource
    Commented Jul 16, 2013 at 15:44
  • 1
    @soulsource: here plz find: paste.ubuntu.com/5881280
    – user25165
    Commented Jul 16, 2013 at 15:52
  • 1
    This is strange. It seems that the Intel graphics card driver does not find, or more probable, cannot use your graphics chip. What happened before your system stopped working? Is the hardware detection at least correct, meaning, is it an Intel graphics chip?
    – soulsource
    Commented Jul 16, 2013 at 17:18

9 Answers 9


Try this. Just press Ctrl+Alt+T on your keyboard to open Terminal. When it opens, run the command(s) below:

sudo apt-get install --reinstall ubuntu-desktop
  • 2
    I have SSH access and CTRL+ALT+F1 terminal access only. There i have done also reinstall of ubuntu-desktop. After reboot still same.
    – user25165
    Commented Jul 16, 2013 at 15:48
  • 1
    @YumYumYum - what display manager did you have before ?! go to protected mode as root then do try reinstall of different packages: Commented Jul 16, 2013 at 15:57
  • 1
    @YumYumYum how do I go back to UI after CTRL+ALT+F1 ?
    – bits
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 19:23
  • 2
    I've opened terminal with Alt+F2 when my ubuntu stops during the boot. Hope this helps someone.
    – hal
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 19:20
  • 1
    works also with lubuntu-desktop :)
    – oscar1919
    Commented Mar 16, 2019 at 14:55

Follow below instructions:

  1. sudo dpkg --configure -a
  2. sudo apt-get install --reinstall ubuntu-desktop
  3. restart your computer and go to desktop

when I encounter this on my machine I simply delete the /etc/X11/xorg.conf and restart the system. BUT - I always make backups! :)

  • 2
    Dont had any xorg.conf file even.
    – user25165
    Commented Jul 16, 2013 at 15:48
  • hm.. you can try this :: sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg but please be carefull, or try to see what youtube is showing on this topic. Commented Jul 16, 2013 at 16:00
  • Tried did not solved, wired
    – user25165
    Commented Jul 17, 2013 at 7:17
  • 2
    I just built a new computer, took the hard disk from my laptop, put it in my new desktop, but couldn't get X working with the new hardware. Deleted the xorg.conf and immediately everything worked perfectly! Thanks!
    – Brian
    Commented Nov 30, 2013 at 18:29

What display manager did you have before? Go to protected mode as root with Ctrl + Alt + F1 Then try reinstalling the following packages:

apt-get install --reinstall xorg-xserver*
apt-get install --reinstall gdm
apt-get install --reinstall unity

In case you have a different display manager than gdm, type kdm or lightdm.

I once had that too - regarding nvidia-drivers ...

  • 2
    FAILED - not working, still boots in the terminal screen, no desktop.
    – user25165
    Commented Jul 16, 2013 at 16:35
  • @YumYumYum - you still did not tell, what window-manager you used ? It was unity ? What happens if you install gnome ? or KDE ? Commented Jul 16, 2013 at 16:37
  • 1
    Unity, default Ubuntu desktop.
    – user25165
    Commented Jul 16, 2013 at 16:38
  • @YumYumYum - have you seen my 2nd answer ?! getting closer to solution ? Commented Jul 16, 2013 at 19:18
  • this worked for me between running the command on xorg and gdm3 (ubuntu 18)
    – mredig
    Commented Jun 6, 2018 at 6:45

What worked for me were the following two commands and then rebooting

sudo apt install xorg
sudo apt-get install --reinstall ubuntu-desktop

There was posted in Ubuntu-forum this here to solve the problem after

"Stopping userspace bootsplash" appears like in your boot-log:

With the proprietary drivers installed they did the following:

Ctrl + Alt + F1 (To open up a terminal) and after login:

sudo apt-get clean

sudo apt-get autoclean

sudo apt-get autoremove

sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh -a


Entered Grub recovery mode and selected "repair damaged packages"


Hold Shift to get to grub menu hit E to enter temporary changes into grub place 'vmalloc=192MB' next to quiet splash


And problem now solved ?!

They then made the change permanent by editing the /etc/default/grub to include:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash vmalloc=192MB"

Maybe this solves your problem ? Let me know !

  • @YumYumYum - you have settled the rest after reboot ? Commented Jul 16, 2013 at 21:48
  • no - it is the grub repair modus - when pressing shift - not reaching this ? "recovery mode" ? - well, but thats already much ! now supergrub-CD would help ?! Commented Jul 16, 2013 at 21:55
  • Step 1: clean/autoclean/all done Step 2: changed the grub settings Step 3: update-grub / update-grub2 is applied. but still i have same problem booting in to terminal no GUI.
    – user25165
    Commented Jul 16, 2013 at 21:56
  • have you read that after 2nd reboot ? read the lines slowly. press 'shift' to get to grub menu and hit 'e' (for edit) - read above. Commented Jul 16, 2013 at 21:58
  • YES - those are done, basically if you do it after login permanently its same. /etc/default/grub is same by hitting shift/e.
    – user25165
    Commented Jul 16, 2013 at 21:59

I had the same problem, and none of the solutions posted here worked.
What worked for me is the following:

     sudo apt-get upgrade
     sudo reboot

Commands such as apt-get update where not working before reboot. After rebooting I opened a terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and updated everything

    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

and everything seems to work fine.


If you have a gui installed and it boots to command line, then you can use the following command:

sudo service lightdm start

I recently got this problem. So the problem is, changing the default display manager or deleting the daemon associated with it. My default display manager was gdm3, but mistakenly I installed xdm and hence while installation I choose xdm. But when I understood the problem, I removed xdm hoping the default would go back to gdm3, but it didn't go. Instead I got a terminal screen popping uo each time I login. It was frustrating at first, but just a singlr line will make it work...

sudo apt install xdm

When the window to choose the default display manager pop up, choose gdm3 ( yes it was still present) and press ok. Now reboot the system to put a smile on your face.

You must log in to answer this question.