Ubuntu hangs prior to GUI login - (after installing zlib-1.2.5 from source)

Asked by Mik Hartwell

I am (er..was) running Ubuntu lucid on two Dell latops (Inspirion 9400, 2gb & 512mb ram respectively), they have now both hang prior to the gdm login.

This happened on the one machine after installing some libs from source, so I tried rebooting after each install on the other machine.I suspect zlib-1.2.5, but I don't know how to resolve this as recovery mode also hangs with a black screen.

Has anyone seen this before - googling this problem has brought me no joy :(
Any advice is welcome!

My setup:
HW: Dell Inspirion 9400 Laptop - 2GB - 80GB - 2x1.8MHz i686
SW: Grub with Ubuntu Desktop 10.4 LTS, PureDyne, WinXPsp3

Thx, Mik
(writing to you from XP, which fortunately still boots...phew)

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Fran├žois Tissandier (baloo) said :

I see one thing you could do maybe:
as you cannot boot on the system, you could boot on a LiveCD (or live USB stick), then chroot to the system on the harddrive. If it's working, you will be running a session on the harddrive system, so you can maybe try to use Synaptic to reinstall zlib.

I don't know the complete process to do this chroot, but I found this online, that could work on Lucid:


Again, I'm not 100% sure how to do that, but that's more or less one of the only solutions you have now that the recovery is broken. if someone else could confirm that my idea should work and maybe add a reliable chroot procedure, that would be great.

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actionparsnip (andrew-woodhead666) said :

What messages do you get at boot.

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Mik Hartwell (mikhartwell) said :

@francois - thx for the livecd idea - I'll try that :)


after selecting Ubuntu from my grub menu i see a flash of something like '...bzImage..' (I assume a compressed kernel image is being loaded?)...then the Ubuntu logo with the 5 little dots is displayed, and then the now-familiar purple screen of death :) with nothing but a mouse pointer.

Update of latest poking around:

Pressing the (soft) power-off button gave me the shutdown/restart/suspend/hibernate menu, so the system is not really hanging - sorry about the title of this thread.

I also 'did something' that allowed me to start in recovery mode. I log in at the prompt and issue 'startx' and select 'resume normally' once the gui has started up.

Now I see my desktop with 8 error boxes:

     The panel encountered a problem while loading

where xxxxxxxxxx includes NotificationArea,FastUserSwitch, WindowList,Clock, Indicator etc..

 and I have the option to delete or not.

(I have a screen dump but don't know how to post it here)

I'll try deleting and see what happens :) and repotr my findings...

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Fran├žois Tissandier (baloo) said :

If you can start in recovery mode, then no need to try my solution.
Once you have access to the terminal, you can do many things from the command line.

The first thing to try could be to reinstall zlib with a version from the official repositories.

Make sure you are connected to the internet (an ethernet cable plugged in the computer will do if you chose the recovery mode with network access)

then a little

"sudo aptitude -f install zlib1g"

could maybe be worth a try ?

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