[GLLUG] booting problem

Jan Henkins jan at henkins.za.net
Tue Dec 1 16:27:52 UTC 2015

Hello Steve,

On 2015-12-01 14:19, steve taylor wrote:
> SENT: Tuesday, December 01, 2015 at 1:35 PM
> FROM: "Jan Henkins" <jan at henkins.za.net>
> TO: "The mailing list for the Greater London Linux User Group"
> <gllug at mailman.lug.org.uk>
> SUBJECT: Re: [GLLUG] booting problem
> Hello Steve,
> On 2015-12-01 09:45, steve taylor wrote:
>> hi all,
>> i have a problem with my system. Yesterday i spent all day messing
>> around with vmware and virtualbox and now my system won't boot
>> properly. It just hangs. Either it is a coincidence, or it is
>> something to do with them.
> Which version/variant of VMWare did you install?
> the latest VMware player

That should not create any desktop issues. Having said that, both VMWare 
and Virtualbox tries to compile and install kernel drivers during 
installation. If anything went wrong with that process, you might end up 
with a broken initrd.img file, which contains all the drivers needed for 
networking, graphics, et al. It is not inconceivable that something went 
wrong here. On machines with a seperate /boot partition that filled up, 
this would be a common happening. Looking at your fstab, your /boot is 
part of your "/", so ruling out a full hard-disk when you tried to 
install VMWare and/or Virtualbox (which will both trigger a rebuild of 
your initrd.img), something else went wrong. Things to check would be 
the ability to build kernel headers and drivers (needs compilers and 
quite a number of dev packages). Just as a really rough and ready test, 
please check out the size of the "initrd.img-*" file in your /boot 
folder. Mine is about 29Mb in size. If yours seems a lot smaller than 
that, chances are that this is a good indication that the "initrd 
hypothesis" holds at least something damp... :-)

> It seems that your desktop system got blatted in some way. Could you
> please fo the following command, and send us the output? This assumes
> that you are using Cinnamon as your default desktop. If not,
> substitute
> "gnome" for "cinnamon".
> dpkg -l | grep cinnamon
> I am running xfce so used that instead
> Attached

Good desktop choice, I like XFCE. All packages seems to be there, so 
it's most probably not that.

>> I don't really want to reinstall the system.
> You still might have to, which is not really such a hassle provided
> you
> have a seperate /home partition. To advise on this, send us the output
> of:
> cat /etc/fstab
> Attached

OK, you do not have a seperate /home folder, so without any backups to 
an external drive (or other computer, or even to your Windows 
partition), re-installing will whack all your home folder. I would 
suggest that you try and make a backup of your home folder anyway, if at 
all possible.

OK, one more file to check. After you have run "startx" (which should 
not work according to your report), please harvest the contents of your 
/var/log/Xorg.0.log file. If there is anything missing or wrong with 
your graphics-subsystem, this would be the first place to start looking.

Jan Henkins

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