how to solve error could not write bytes broken pipe in 12.04 lts ubuntu

Hello All,

Need urgent help. I have Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. The Day before yesterday I have installed Zoom for my office laptop with 12.04 LTS ubuntu. After successful installation of zoom, when I restarted the laptop each time before showing login screen i get an error message “could not write bytes, broken pipe” and I can not login. Then yesterday I have removed zoom but still error occurs. This is my office laptop - Asus make Notepad with 14" screen. Also I have not taken back-up of my office data.

Does anyone know why is this happening is there any problem with my installation? How can I get login screen again without hurting my office data.? Please help to solve this problem.


Hello Niyati - and welcome to the Forum.

There are several things to note here:

  1. Ubuntu 12.04 has not been supported since April 2017 - so your software is out of date, whereas the Zoom software would be assuming an up-to-date operating system.
  2. Zoom is very popular but very insecure, and I would recommend something like Jami (very secure) or TrueConf. (not that this is relevant here as you have bigger problems!)
  3. That you have not taken a backup of of critical office data is very bad.

The first thing to do is to back up all your data, and then install an up-to-date operating system.

My suggestion is that you:

  1. Obtain a “Linux Live USB” or Live DVD of Ubuntu 18.04
  2. Ensure that the BIOS is set to boot first from the USB, then DVD, then hard drive.
  3. Insert the Live USB/DVD and boot the computer. If all is well it will boot into Ubuntu 18.
  4. Insert a new USB with enough memory to back up all your data. It’s OK to use several USBs but better if all your data is on one device.
  5. Back up everything, then “unmount” the USB/DVD and remove it after checking that all the data is there!
  6. Come back here if you get stuck or for further advice on installing Ubuntu 18.4

Please tell us the exactly which model Asus you have as this will help people to advise you.

Hello Mr. Keith,

Thanks for your reply sir. My Asus model is X200 CA Notebook and it is not compatible for the higher version of Ubuntu. I will take the data back-up.

But in India we are under lockdown condition and so I can take back-up after the offices will get start. But I can not resolve the problem using earlier commands or without formatting the older version?

As the data is also under the older version, can we open the same in newer version?

Please help sir.

Regards, Niyati

Hello Nyati.

If you cannot log in to your computer then I don’t see how you can enter any commands. It is for this reason I suggested extracting your data to a backup medium then installing a new Linux system.
All your data will be readable with a new Linux version unless you have used non-standard office software. If you have used the original office software then you are OK.

It occurs to me that another way to back up your data might be to remove the hard drive and insert it into a “caddy” that you can plug into the USB port of your working computer. It will look just like a USB stick to the computer and you can copy the data to another device such as another USB stick. This method might be a bit quicker and easier.

There are many “small” versions of Linux suitable for your Asus and other Forum Members will offer much advice on that. Am I right that your Asus has 2GB memory and is 32-bit? 32-bit Linux Mint 19 might be a good choice.

Best wishes in your lock-down.


In your first post you say that after installing Zoom you could no longer log in to your computer. You go on to say that you then removed Zoom but still can’t log in.
How did you manage to remove Zoom if you could not log in?


Hello Mr. Keith,

Again thanks for your reply

Mr. Keith when I used to boot my laptop, I press up & down arrow keys, then it will switch to terminal box. To remove zoom, I used command sudo apt-get remove zoom.
So I can switch into terminal box, but not getting regular login screen. Yes, you are right my laptop Asus has 2GB memory and is 32-bit.

But still I have not understood how can I solve error “could not write bytes broken pipe”.

Will you please please explain any solution with commands and without hurting my existing data?



Ah! No problem! I shall reply after lunch.

Hello Nyati.

You don’t need to “fix broken pipe” because you are going to install a new Linux system.
But first we need to back up all your files, for which we need some information.
Please tell me:

  1. In which directories do you have your office files (e.g. Documents, Desktop, Pictures, …)? Please list them (directories, not the files!). If you use proprietary software that saves files somewhere other than in Documents, then don’t forget to name the directory where they are.
  2. Do you use the Firefox web browser for office work?
  3. Do you use an email client such as Thunderbird for emails, or do you use web-mail (for web-mail you have to access the internet through your browser and log in to your email provider.)

I shall assume that if you have private files on the Asus then they are in Documents.
When you have provided all that information I shall list some commands that you can enter into the Terminal. I shall be at home all day and will look out for your answers.


Hello Mr. Keith,

Some confusion happend. Actual I do not want to format the system and I do not want to install new version. I want to solve this problem with existing version only.

My office files are in home/documents on D:/ and my personal files are in download. Also we are using thunderbird and webmail. Firfox we are using.

So please suggest me how to solve this problem without formatting my laptop with the existing version only. Is it possible to do the same?

Please Mr. Keith help me.


I’m a bit confused here.
You say that the computer that has the problem is running Ubuntu 12.04 but that your documents are on drive D:/. This sounds like a different, Microsoft Windows system as a Linux drive would be sda1. Are we talking about the same machine?

The first thing is to back up your files before doing anything to your computer!
Since you mention that the computer boots into the terminal, please enter the following command .

du -sch Documents Downloads .thunderbird .mozilla

The output should look something like this:
keith@T500:~$ du -sch Documents Downloads .thunderbird .mozilla
2.0G Documents
17G Downloads
2.1G .thunderbird
122M .mozilla
21G total
If it doesn’t, then stop here and tell me what it does say. If all is well, this will tell you the size of USB stick you will need for the back-up. [If you have an external disk, that would do instead]
When you have the (empty) USB device, plug it in, wait a short while then enter the following command:

df -h | grep media

It should look something like /dev/sdb1 981M 80K 981M 1% /media/keith/PASS
Please tell me this output, and the total size from the first command.

All this is to be sure that we can back up your files.

You might try the instructions in this link to access your computer, but I would still advise backing up your files first. RecoveryMode - Ubuntu Wiki


Hello Mr. Keith,

Thanks a lot for your valued suggestion.

My knowledge in Ubuntu is not much. My Laptop’s operating system is based on Ubuntu 12.04 Lts.

You have given me commands and suggestion which I will follow. But if I will get stuck, then where I will contact you? Where are you located and which is the good time to contact you on this forum?

Please do let me know. Also please let me know which laptop is good for linux or windows. Dell Vostro 15 3000 Core i3 7th Gen - (4 GB/1 TB HDD/Linux) vos / vostro 3581 Laptop (15.6 inch, Black, 2.2 kg) is this good?
Thanks once again.



You say: You have given me commands and suggestion which I will follow. But if I will get stuck, then where I will contact you? Where are you located and which is the good time to contact you on this forum? You should contact me (and others) via this Forum as you are doing now. I am on-line usually from midday to 22:00 GMT but there are many other Forum members who might respond to your questions. We are all volunteers and have other lives so we can’t guarantee to help you.

The laptop you mention looks very good, but I notice that some of those machines coming out of Pakistan are fake or show poor behaviour, like being very slow (look on-line).
Linux will work on almost any fairly modern machine. 4GB RAM and 64 bit is fine for most users (I have 2GB RAM) and the hard drive size only needs to be good enough for your needs. It’s best if you can buy locally, even a second-hand one as you can see it working (with Windows, probably). As for operating system: As you are familiar with Ubuntu I suggest installing Ubuntu 18.04 LTS on the new laptop

Finally: I urge you to use the terminal to back up your files before messing with your computer. Follow the instructions given earlier, obtain a suitable USB stick and we can do the back up easily - if I have understood your descriptions correctly.


Hello Mr. Keith,

Thanks for your guidelines. Will surely take back-up of my files and let you know.

Regards, Niyati