sudo apt update

.. brought in an update to nvidia 384.111

Next reboot made no login and password prompt appear, just the background image. Attempts to access text mode console, by pressing CTRL+ALT+F1 appeared dead (nothing happened). So in the end I had to hold the power button for 5 seconds - to get the computer turn off.

How do I remedy this?


First of all make sure to get access to a root shell;

Pressing ESC as the computer BIOS screen closes, some say that holding a SHIFT key also works, to get access to the grub boot menus. In there you can navigate to an option that reads "recovery console" - and press RETURN to run it.
(at the recovery console, select to run fsck and then activate networking, before dropping to root shell - press enter one extra time to actually get the shell prompt! - this is the easy way, you don't have to remember any commands to get through)

Alternatively you might have luck and get a text mode login prompt if you press CTRL+ALT+F1 during the text mode boot (press esc to reveal it)... before the login gui appears. You will probably have to be quick to succeed with this though.

After login from text mode prompt; type these commands and keep an eye open for error messages. If something fails here, I suggest using a text mode browser (links, lynx, ...) to google the error(s).

Here is what I did to get back to a GPU-driven GUI:

When checking with dpkg --list | grep nvidia it did show:

ii  nvidia-361                                                 
367.57-0ubuntu0.16.04.1                      amd64        Transitional package for nvidia-367 ii  nvidia-367                                 
375.66-0ubuntu0.16.04.1                      amd64        Transitional package for nvidia-375 ii  nvidia-375                                 
384.111-0ubuntu0.16.04.1                     amd64        Transitional package for nvidia-384 ii  nvidia-384                                 
384.111-0ubuntu0.16.04.1                     amd64        NVIDIA binary driver - version 384.111 rc  nvidia-opencl-icd-361             
367.57-0ubuntu0.16.04.1                      amd64        Transitional package for nvidia-opencl-icd-367 rc  nvidia-opencl-icd-367           
375.39-0ubuntu0.16.04.1                      amd64        Transitional package for nvidia-opencl-icd-375 rc  nvidia-opencl-icd-375           
384.90-0ubuntu0.16.04.1                      amd64        Transitional package for nvidia-opencl-icd-384 ii  nvidia-opencl-icd-384           
384.111-0ubuntu0.16.04.1                     amd64        NVIDIA OpenCL ICD ii  nvidia-prime                                           
0.8.2                                        amd64        Tools to enable NVIDIA's Prime ii  nvidia-settings                             
361.42-0ubuntu1                              amd64        Tool for configuring the NVIDIA graphics driver

Which shows a hive of different nvidia drivers all installed at the same time... I went on with uninstalling all of them, and then attempt to reinstall the previous version:

sudo apt purge nvidia*
sudo apt autoremove
sudo apt autoclean
sudo apt install nvidia-375 # makes 384.111 emerge *sigh*

... but as you see in the comment; that still brought in the "latest and greatest" version.

Instead of giving up at this point, I gave it a try...

sudo reboot

... and the login prompt came up!

Now, leaving it like this might have disable auto-updates, (as the nvidia-375 package was specified explicitly). That remains to be seen though.

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