Ubuntu log-in mystery ...HELP REQUIRED URGENTLY

Yesterday I successfully downloaded Ubuntu 9.10 on a dual boot basis. Therefater I simply chose Ubuntu at the dual boot command and I went straight into Ubuntu. I went in and a few times yesterday with no problems whatsoever. However this morning after the dual boot page I now get a totally black screen with a request for log-on details??? Why did this suddenly appear? I have tried every conceivable variation of log-in I can think but it rejects everyone. What do can I do to get back into Ubuntu, and then how do I avoid this log-in page in the future?
I am really, really impressed with Ubuntu and am desperate to start using it so any help will be much appreciated. PLEASE!

At the grub (bootloader) screen have any new options appeared… ie. has a new kernel version been installed… if so select the older kernel and see if it will load.

You aren’t selecting the safe boot option are you?.. the login details shouldn’t have changed so can you login to a prompt?.. will it accept your username and password?

Unfortunately Ubuntu have done another “windows” thing by allowing the system to set you up in such a way that it logs you in as a particular user when you start the system, without having to enter a password. This is all well and good, Windows has this option and it’s nice for lazy users.

Note to Ubuntu; just because Windows has this option, doesn't mean it's not STUPID - please remove it! (I know it's there in 'X' but there's no requirement to highlight the shortcoming!)

Unfortunately, it’s subsequently fairly easy to change the configuration such that the default (i.e. a login/password are required after booting the system) is re-instated, indeed you might find that simply updating a package via the auto-update function could have done this. Of course people installing with this option never remember their login credentials and always end up being stuffed in this way.

Essentially you’re down to password recovery, relatively easy so here goes;

  • Boot the machine
  • Press ESC as Linux starts to load and it should present a menu
  • Select one of the “Recovery Mode” options and hit return
  • You’ll then hit the recovery menu, and at this point my memory gets a little fuzzy … someone fill in the detail here?
    (select the option that leaves you in a ‘shell’ in your root filesystem)
  • type; cat /etc/passwd | grep home | cut -d":" -f1
  • This should let you see the user id’s on the system, hopefully you can spot yours
  • type; passwd
  • And enter your new password … then type exit and go for a reboot …

Hi Mark and Mad Penquin - now back in to Ubuntu, but still problematic - read on:

Mark, Boot screen gives three options: Ubuntu, XP and XP Recovery. Clicking on Ubuntu originally took me straight in, now it takes me to GNU Grub which did show 3 options (now 5 but see reply to Mad Penquin below): Ubuntu, Ubuntu Recovery and XP - clicking on Ubuntu (not recovery) takes me to this blasted Log-in page. Whatever log-in I type it never lets me type in a password!

Mad Penquin, your solution didn’t work as such but it did lead me to a Recovery Menu that offered the following choices: Resume/Clean/dpkg/failsafex/grub/reroot. I opted for pdkg (repair broken packages). After that I now get the same initial Boot screen but now in the Grub screen I now have additional Ubuntu and Ubuntu Recovery options. I ignore the recovery options, and of the two standard Ubuntu options: 2.6.32-22 and 2.6.32-21 I opt for the latter and I now get into Ubuntu. BUT, it’s not always clean or certain as it was originally, and I am not confident of it’s continued success.

Guys, is there any thing else I can do to improve this, other than removing and downloading Ubuntu all over again? Of all I read about Ubuntu previously I didn’t think it was going to be all this hassle. Is this normal?
Thanks guys for all your help.

When you say it doesn’t let you type in a password, do you mean nothing shows AS YOU TYPE… this is normal, just type your password and hit enter (ignore the fact that nothing shows on your screen as you type).

Ubuntu like other distros is normally VERY stable, but ocaisionally a major update, such as a kernel update can break things… never had a Windows servicepack break anything ;)… if not you’ve been lucky… the good news is that Linux will leave the old kernel on your system so you CAN fix things… Windows… Hmm, memories of SP3, intelppm.sys and AMD CPU’s with an endless reboot/BSOD cycle springs to mind :slight_smile:

Unfortunately if you lose your password on any system it’s a pain (Linux,Windows,OSX etc…) and this is intentional.

What you describe doesn’t make any sense to me, I’ve run up the ‘recover’ menu on 10.04 within the last 3-4 days and it gave me the menu pretty much as it has done for the last 4 years … however …

If you boot off your install CD, there is an option to ‘try’ Ubuntu before installing it … do this.

When it loads, start a terminal session. (Applications → Accessories → Terminal)

type su to make sure you are root.

type fdisk -l to see what disks you have, it’ll list something like this;

Disk /dev/sda: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes 255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 60801 cylinders Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes Disk identifier: 0x000a2ef9

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 1 31 248976 83 Linux
/dev/sda2 32 60801 488135025 5 Extended
/dev/sda5 32 60801 488134993+ 8e Linux LVM

You (probably) need to pick the largest “Linux” partition, using this example it will be “/dev/sda1”.

Now type;

[b]mount /dev/sda1 /mnt mount -t proc none /mnt/proc chroot /mnt grep home /etc/passwd|cut -d ":" -f1[/b] (pick your user id) [b]passwd [/b] (enter your new password) [b]exit umount /mnt/proc umount /mnt exit[/b] (reboot)

Will this work?.. if he is getting his Widows bootloader as his first sceen, I’m guessing he’s installed Ubuntu from WUBI within windows, so he will have NO linux drives (partitions).

I could be wrong… never used WUBI… but doesn’t WUBI install Ubuntu to a directory INSIDE windows?

I’m guessing WUBI is something to do with Windows, in which case I don’t have a clue.

All MP answers assume you are using a ‘real’ Linux system and have an Ubuntu install disk to hand … (!)

The only version of Linux that this solution won’t work for (that I’m aware of) is “co-linux”, but you will need a ‘real’ install CD and not Ruby with a lisp. :-X

Wuby on Wails… very funny :slight_smile:

WUBI is a little app that comes with the Ubuntu LiveCD… if you stick the CD in a running Windoze system It autostarts and asks if you want it to install Ubuntu for you… the manual uninstall instructions state “from Windows either uninstall from ‘Add/Remove Programs’ in the Windows ‘Control Panel’, or manually delete the C:\Ubuntu directory, then remove the Ubuntu line from the Windows bootloader boot.ini”… so I presume it does no drive formatting/partitioning and loads it as a kinda virtual drive on the Windoze NTFS/FAT drive.

And as a lot of people are going to burn their LiveCD ISO on a running windoze system, having WUBI autoload seems a bit stupid to me… and could explain a lot of peoples problems

Installing the “proper” way is always a better idea… Boot FROM the LiveCD and allow it to create REAL Linux partitions.


This could be the cause of your problems… Running Ubuntu from a directory INSIDE windoze is never going to be as stable or as quick as running it natively on its own partition, and I suppose it will allow any windoze malware to mess with it.

If you installed it this way, my suggestion would be to go to Add/Remove Programs in the windoze control panel and remove Ubuntu and the WUBI program, then boot off the LiveCD… when you get to the Ubuntu desktop, there will be an ‘Install Ubuntu’ Icon… Double-click it and follow the instructions, it should find your Windows installation and resize its partition leaving room for REAL Linux partitions.

BE AWARE… There is always a small risk of data/partition corruption when resizing partition, so backup first, and if I were you I would run a defrag in windoze first to move the data closer to the beginning of the drive.