If your boot process is halting in a black screen after briefly showing the Ubuntu splash, here is something you can try. Note that because this involves repairing broken packages, this tip will probably be useless to most of you, quite simply because Ubuntu rarely suffers from such mishaps.
Many of you would be used to Windows boot problems due to corrupted files, or incorrectly installed drivers and programs, but this is hardly ever an issue in Ubuntu. However, it can occasionally happen, possibly more related to corrupted files than incompletely-installed packages. Whatever the cause, it’s worth trying to see if you can repair any faulty packages that may be preventing you from getting to your desktop.
It might not work, but it shouldn’t do any harm, so when you get to the GRUB boot loader, choose the Recovery Mode option below the default entry. When you get to a command-line login prompt, simply type your username, hit Enter, then enter your password, and hit Enter.
You will get to the Recovery Menu, on which you choose the dpkg option “Repair broken packages“. Note that you will need to be connected to the internet for it to retrieve the packages it needs.
You’ll see a lot of text fly by as it fetches packages and installs them. When prompted to reboot your computer, do so, and hopefully you end up at your login screen or desktop!
Reoccurring? Read This:
If you find this worked, but then find you have to do it again shortly thereafter, I would seriously recommend you test your hardware for errors. I’ve seen many a Windows installation die from faulty RAM corrupting important files, and while Ubuntu generally just refuses to boot when the memory chips start dying (which is a good thing because it means your system should still be intact after replacing the faulty modules), it’s worth running memtest from the boot menu to be sure. I recommend running the memory check for at least 2 “passes” (series of tests) just to be certain, as chips can pass all tests once, even twice, but in the third pass should show errors (it might help if the computer has been on for a while, as the errors might only occur once the chips are warm).
Also, check out your hard-drive’s health via software you can download at the manufacturers site. If the drive is starting to write data incorrectly, and even corrupting system files when they’re accessed, you’re not doing yourself any favours hanging onto it. Best to get a new hard-drive and see if you can successfully image your old system over to it, or just start again.
Lastly, it could be the CPU that’s having intermittent errors and causing such mishaps, or the motherboard it’s attached to is slowly on it’s way out, so it may be time to upgrade both. At least these days that is relatively cheap, and means you end up with a faster system.
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