long story short, I upgraded from 16.04 to 17.10, and when I try to login I get a black screen for a second then I'm back to the login screen again. After inspecting .xsession-errors I found this line

/etc/X11/Xsession.d/99x11-common_start: line 5: /sbin/upstart: No such file or directory

The referenced file has only one line - except for the comments


but there's another file in the same directory named 99upstart that has this line

STARTUP="/sbin/upstart --user

I tried searching how to fix this, but all I could find is that systemd is replacing upstart, with no way mentioned of how to fix this

  • How exactly did you 'upgrade' from 16.04 to 17.10? That is not a supported path. We usually recommend a clean install to prevent precisely this kind of problem.
    – user535733
    Jan 24, 2018 at 0:34
  • 1
    as mentioned in this link * Open the "Software & Updates" Setting in System Settings. * Select the 3rd Tab called "Updates". * Set the "Notify me of a new Ubuntu version" dropdown menu to "For any new version". * Press Alt+F2 and type in "update-manager -c" (without the quotes) into the command box * Update Manager should open up and tell you: New distribution release '17.04' is available * If not you can also use "/usr/lib/ubuntu-release-upgrader/check-new-release-gtk" * Click Upgrade and follow the on-screen instructions
    – Ahmad Mayo
    Jan 24, 2018 at 8:43
  • 2
    I have the same issue, and it is very hard for a basic linux user to understand what must be fixed. Everyone is saying 16.04 to 17.10 ugrade is not supported... The worst part is I've just followed the popup telling me a new version is available and clicked on upgrade now !
    – ced
    Feb 19, 2018 at 22:06
  • Same here after upgrading when suggested by the Software Updater dialog!
    – gatopeich
    May 6, 2018 at 8:25

3 Answers 3


Just move or remove upstart files from Xsession.d to get it running. In my case, 00upstart, 99upstart, 99x11-common_start needed to be moved.

  • This may work but the apt purge upstart solution is the proper one.
    – gatopeich
    May 6, 2018 at 8:28
sudo apt purge upstart

fixed that problem for me.

Upstart is replaced by systemd in 17.10.


This can be achieved with

sudo apt remove --purge upstart

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