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My system SSD crashed and burned (literally) and I've replaced it. I've been able to make a new install of 14.04 server and then installed the stripped down ubuntu-desktop. Before the crash I had a stripped down version of Gnome. I restored my home directory and (as expected) have problems: after I enter startx I have a background and a few desktop folders but nothing else. No launcher, control-alt-t, nor anything else works.

There are some hidden gnome folders and files in my home folder.

How can I recover from this?

Some ~/.xsession-errors none of which give me any hints as I'm not knowledgeable about X Windows.

libGL error: failed to open DRM device: Permission denied.
No module named gconf
bluez.vala:104 GDBus.Error:org.bluez.Error.NoSuchAdaptor
inictl: UStART_SESSION isn't set in the environment: Unable to locate the Upstart instance.
... and many more ...
  • If "stripped down" is not essential, I suggest that you run sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop, reboot, and try again. – Gunnar Hjalmarsson Jun 5 '15 at 0:19
  • I've tried that with the --no-install-recommends flag, no joy! – Nate Lockwood Jun 5 '15 at 0:24
  • Any hints in ~/.xsession-errors? – Gunnar Hjalmarsson Jun 5 '15 at 0:48
  • It's critical that I get some window system working today. Should I remove ubuntu-desktop and attempt to reinstall a minimal Gnome? or ?? – Nate Lockwood Jun 5 '15 at 16:16
  • Those messages in ~/.xsession-errors are certainly not normal. Unfortunately I'm not knowledgable enough to interpret them. – Gunnar Hjalmarsson Jun 5 '15 at 16:25
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I had to edit grub:

GRUB_CMD_LINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="nomodeset"

Apparently the video drivers for my video won't work if added to the kernel by default. Many thanks to a NASA colleague from the past who manages some Ubuntu systems for a living.

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