after booting no panel or icons on desktop

Asked by Jim Hyde on 2009-04-30

I am using a Dell Mini 9 with Ubuntu 8.04. Everything worked well until I did an automatic update. Now the machine goes through the boot routine and ends with the desktop background picture I installed, a flashing cursor, but nothing else on the desktop. Neither the top or bottom panels that I had defined are visible.

The cursor moves, audio works, I can even suspend, shut down or restart the machine. When rebooted it returns back to the same place--only background picture on the desktop and flashing picture.

I tried to reboot using a USB drive with an image file. In this case the machine begins to boot sequence from the drive but stalls.

The mini 9 does not have a cd or hard drive but relies entirely on internal memory. My guess is that the updates somehow used all of the available memory leaving insufficient resources to load all of the installed software.
Question: 1) is there a way that I can interrupt the boot routine once started and get to the command line so as to remove some files and free up some space? 2) is there a way I can go ahead and upload a newer version of Ubuntu using the USB image file 3) Will I need to purchase an optical usb drive and reload all of the software from scratch? 4) If so, will the new version just replace the old or is it necessary to free up some space first?

Question information

Language:
English Edit question
Status:
Solved
For:
Ubuntu gnome-panel Edit question
Assignee:
No assignee Edit question
Solved by:
Jim Hyde
Solved:
2009-05-02
Last query:
2009-05-02
Last reply:
2009-05-02

Can you log in as a different user? Can you restart the X server with ctlr+alt+backspace OR alt+PrintScreen+K

If you can't log in, boot to recovery root console using ESC at GRUB, select recovery mode and then select root, you can then run:

useradd -G admin testuser
passwd testuser

you can now reboot with

shutdown -r now

you should now be able to log on as the new user as it will have a stock profile, if this works we know your user profile is corrupted. If its bad its a wider issue.

Let us know how you go.

Jim Hyde (james-hyde) said : #2

Thanks so much--with your help I made real progress.

Before I got your tip I was able to revert to the Bash shell. I was able
to see all the files in all of the directories. I can go back to the
GNOME interface using ctrl-alt-F7. Still the same problem when I get
there i.e cursor moves but screen is blank except for the background
picture.

Then when you wrote, I followed your suggestions and created a new
user-testuser and password. I can login at the Bash but when I try to go
back tot the GNOME user interface all sorts of error messages are displayed.

It looks as if I will need to reinstall the Ubuntu 8.04 from scratch.
Unfortunately, I do not have a usb CD drive (I guess I'll have to buy
one). I tried loading a new version of the Ubuntu using an img file and
using a usb drive--but it just hangs up.

The good news is that this seems to be pretty much a case of a corrupted
operating system--i.e. not a hardware problem. Thanks for your help. I'm
new to Ubuntu as you can probably tell--but I love what I see.

Jim H.

************************************************************
James Hyde
Associate Professor Emeritus
Tufts University School of Medicine
Department of Public Health and Family Medicine
136 Harrison Ave.
Boston, Ma 02111
<email address hidden>
************************************************************

actionparsnip wrote:
> Your question #69320 on Ubuntu changed:
> https://answers.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+question/69320
>
> Status: Open => Needs information
>
> actionparsnip requested for more information:
> Can you log in as a different user? Can you restart the X server with
> ctlr+alt+backspace OR alt+PrintScreen+K
>
> If you can't log in, boot to recovery root console using ESC at GRUB,
> select recovery mode and then select root, you can then run:
>
> useradd -G admin testuser
> passwd testuser
>
> you can now reboot with
>
> shutdown -r now
>
> you should now be able to log on as the new user as it will have a
> stock profile, if this works we know your user profile is corrupted. If
> its bad its a wider issue.
>
> Let us know how you go.
>
>

Alexander Jones (alex-weej) said : #3

You needn't reinstall the whole OS.

Please try the following:

From the login screen, hit F10 and choose Select Session. Choose "Failsafe GNOME" and then proceed to log in.

Does that work?

Jim Hyde (james-hyde) said : #4

Thanks for the tip. I finally solved the problem doing a reinstall of
Ubuntu 8.04. I borrowed a USB CD drive and was able to reinstall from
scratch. The lesson I learned was that with a netbook like I have with a
SSD with limited space available one has to be really careful about how
much gets loaded during an automatic upgrade. I think it was that
process that corrupted the installation in the first place

Incidentally, I did try a session change with "failsafe GNOME" but with
the same result as before.

Thanks for your help

************************************************************
James Hyde
Associate Professor Emeritus
Tufts University School of Medicine
Department of Public Health and Family Medicine
136 Harrison Ave.
Boston, Ma 02111
<email address hidden>
************************************************************

Alexander Jones wrote:
> Your question #69320 on Ubuntu changed:
> https://answers.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+question/69320
>
> Status: Open => Needs information
>
> Alexander Jones requested for more information:
> You needn't reinstall the whole OS.
>
> Please try the following:
>
> >From the login screen, hit F10 and choose Select Session. Choose
> "Failsafe GNOME" and then proceed to log in.
>
> Does that work?
>
>

Can you mark as solved if the issue is resolved, if not very gracefully.

Jim Hyde (james-hyde) said : #6

Got great advice from people. However, ultimately there was not way around having to reinstall Ubuntu.