Monday, August 19, 2013

Black screen (no xserver/xorg) after updating Ubuntu to 12.10 or 13.04

For a while I had been trying to upgrade my Ubuntu from version 12.04 to 13.04 with disastrous results.
For list of commands used: Commands

First of all, in order to upgrade to 13.04 from 12.04 you must upgrade to 12.10 first. I tried upgrading to 12.10 and immediately after reboot I come to a screen that says something to the effect of can't access /tmp, Press S to skip or M to manually recover. I pressed S and nothing happens and after a while I hard rebooted and came to a black screen and stalled. I kept doing a web search for solutions and posted at a couple of forums and a lot of people had similar issues with the upgrade, but none of the solutions I found helped me. Most dealt with graphics drivers issues.

I gave up trying to fix it and just copied my user files to my Windows partition and did a fresh re-install of 12.04 and then updated the system and cleaned then tried upgrading again with the same results. This time I tried pressing M to manually recover and came to a black screen again. I didn't want to re-install again so this time I rebooted into Recovery Mode and tried to clean and fix packages etc.. with no luck. I then tried to go into root prompt and tried starting the xserver manually and I found out it wasn't installed!

So my guess is that when it tried to do the upgrade it was meant to install xserver on reboot and the the files were in the tmp folder which had been inaccessible. I connected to the internet and installed xserver-xorg-core and then xserver-xorg and rebooted and VIOLA!!! Success!!! I now had a working version of 12.10!!!

Now to upgrade to 13.04... Same issue. Hmm so I tried the same solution and it worked. This made me wonder about the /tmp directory. Was it read only? I am not satisfied unless I know exactly why something doesn't work so I started from scratch to test something out.

This time I did a fresh install of 12.04 and attempted to update 12.10 and same issue so I fixed it with my first solution. Now to test a different method when upgrading to 13.04. Before upgrading I had a thought about the /tmp folder... maybe it was read only at the time of upgrade locked somehow. I am somewhat familiar with how permissions work and so I thought maybe to take ownership and to set the /tmp folder to writeable. I did take ownership and set /tmp to writeable and then tried upgrading... no problems!!! Perfect!!!

Commands used in article:

For installing xserver:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-core && sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg

For taking ownership of /tmp folder:
sudo chown username /tmp Replace username with your login name.

For making /tmp folder writeable:
sudo chmod +x /tmp