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I just got my hands on a Dell XPS13 developer edition machine with Ubuntu 16.04 pre-installed.

Once I turned it on the first time, setup started. I reached the wireless step, entered my WIFI key, and it crashed abruptly. It then started a temporary guest session to "allow me to fix the problem(s)".

But now I am stuck in this temporary guest session and I am no able to do anything:

  • I have no root privileges
  • cannot create users
  • if I reboot, I get back here

Any idea how to get back to the setup or to fix this? Thanks! :D


UPDATE: I have been chatting for one hour with the Dell support and, after trying a number of procedures, they directed me towards a clean install with the latest Ubuntu image (after installing with their factory image failed...). I am now trying to re-install the system without erasing it first. If that does not work I will erase and install a clean Ubuntu 16.04 copy. I have been assured by the support that doing this does not infringe any warranty terms. :)

  • Just saw your edit. Good that reinstalling does not void your warranty. Install without erasing may give you issues in case settings or other files were broken but could not be overwritten. I'd prefer a fresh install after erasing all - you have no data anyway. Were you able to boot a live system (from USB)? – Takkat Jul 20 '17 at 17:16
  • Hi! Yes, I was able to boot a live system from USB (not Dell copy though...). In the end I erased and installed from scratch, and it's working nicely now! :D – Qerubin Jul 21 '17 at 17:55
  • Glad to hear - Ubuntu usually performs quite well if we had it installed ourselves ;) – Takkat Jul 21 '17 at 18:35
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  • Even though we do not know for sure it may be that Dell installed a customized version of Ubuntu.
  • It is also to be expected that it did not come with recent security updates.
  • Thirdly Ubuntu does not run as expected.

These three facts together with

  • Ubuntu is incredibly easy to install

make me believe that your best option here would be to just re-install it. This involves getting an USB key with a recent Ubuntu 16.04.2. for installation. You can download the image for free directly from Ubuntu. Then you would need to create a bootable USB stick (instructions for previous Ubuntu versions, for Windows, and for MAc OS are further down on the the same page).

Boot with this USB key (press F12 while booting) rather than from the hard drive (you may have to choose legacy BIOS) to then choose "Try out Ubuntu" for a live session. It is there where you should be able to connect to your WiFi. The credentials you give here are kept and will also be used after installation.

Only after the live session including WiFi works as ecpected your can proceed with "install Ubuntu". It should not take you much longer than 20 minutes (which will be far less than any repair attempt of an unbootable broken system)

  • Hi, thanks! Do you suggest to (1) re-install, (2) erase and re-install or (3) erase and install? – Qerubin Jul 20 '17 at 13:41
  • Only If the live session works as expected I would just erase all of the hard drive to reinstall. You can have your own partition layout ("Do something else"), or go the fast and easy way to let the installer choose a default partitioning (i.e. / and /swap). If the live session does not work you may still be able to use it to search your drive for any custom drivers they may have put somewhere. It may then also be that you have a hardware issue, which means you may want to leave device unchanged for warranty RMA. – Takkat Jul 20 '17 at 13:49
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Lets first check your file system for errors.

To check the file system on your Ubuntu partition...

  • boot to the GRUB menu
  • choose Advanced Options
  • choose Recovery mode
  • choose Root access
  • at the # prompt, type sudo fsck -f /
  • repeat the fsck command if there were errors
  • type reboot

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