View Full Version : [ubuntu] 14.04 system breakdown.

October 10th, 2015, 11:14 AM
Hello everyone.
I am in a serious deadend. My computer after login shows only the background, without Unity and nothing else except for 30 "report problem" windows.
Yesterday morning though it did show the Unity and everything but it did not respond. The graphics were obviously not working and it could not even open my Home file.

The problem is that I cannot apply any of the solutions I find on the web. Ctrl+Alt+F1 (or any other fn) is not openning a terminal so that I can execute commands. Except for that one time that (if I remember correctly) Ctrl+Alt+F7 opened a terminal (black, fullscreen). Also failsafe mode in recovery mode does not work.

I suspect it has to do either with my NVIDIA GeForce 840M graphics card or just with the unity.

The computer is a DELL Inspiron 15 3542 laptop with Intel i7 and the above mentioned graphics. The graphics have long had problems with the nouveau drivers, showing up a message like "nouveau failed..." or something like that, everytime before login screen.

To sum up:
- What do you think the problem is?
- How can I open a terminal and execute commands? (I have only tried root shell prompt in recovery mode and a terminal using live cd Try Ubuntu, but I could not do much)
- How can I backup my files, if I am to make a clean install? I have separate partition for root, swap and home. Will a clean install leave my files in home untouched?

October 10th, 2015, 01:32 PM
First, a little information.

Linux loads on tty1 which we see when we use Ctrl+Alt+F1. By the time the loading process gets to the login screen Ubuntu will be running on tty7 (Ctrl+Alt+F7). So, we can switch between the lInux command line and the Ubuntu desktop by using ctrl+Alt+F1 & Ctrl+Alt+F7.

There are a couple of ways of opening a terminal (gnome terminal) apart from loading it from the Dash. Ctrl+Alt+T is one way and on later versions of Ubuntu we can right click the wallpaper and select Open Terminal. We can also load System Settings by right clicking the wallpaper and selecting Change Desktop Background. That will open the Appearance tab and we can then open the System Settings main window and select Software & Updates>Additonal Drivers tab and experiment with video drivers.

As well as this there is the Advance Options for Ubuntu sub-menu of the Grub boot menu. The Advanced options sub-menu will allow us to select an ealier Linux kernel. This is useful if a kernel update breaks the OS. We can also select recovery mode. The Resume option may load to a desktop without using a proprietary video driver. From the desktop we can change video drivers.

From Advance Options we can also select Network which will set up a connection to the internet. This is useful if we need to install software. The Network option will also put the file system (the Ubuntu partition) into read/write mode. This is necessary if we are going to edit system files. Which we do from the Root shell option. When we are finished we type Exit at the root prompt and then Resume when back at the recovery menu.

With a separate /home partition we can use the Something Else option to direct where Ubuntu will be installed without damaging what is in the /home partition. But we are not at the stage yet.