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Running Ubuntu 10.10. My desktop environment is screwed up and won't let me use the keyboard or mouse at the login screen. How can force a command prompt during boot?

EDIT - ANSWER Here's a method:

Alt-SysRq-e - Requests kernel kill all processes except init.

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Don't put your answer into your question. It goes down where the other answers are. You can even accept it in two days. –  slhck May 15 '11 at 18:28

2 Answers 2

If you boot into a linux liveCD, go to /etc/inittab

Look for something like :

id:3:initdefault:

[...]

x:5:respawn:/usr/bin/xdm -nodaemon

And modify too:

id:5:initdefault:

[...]

x:5:once:/bin/su - -- PREFERRED_USER -l -c '/usr/bin/startx </dev/null >/dev/null 2>&1'

From the Start X at Boot - ArchWiki

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It there a way to force a command prompt at boot without a live CD? e.g. F8 in Windows. –  Marshal May 15 '11 at 16:17
    
To my knowledge, there is not. –  Simon Sheehan May 15 '11 at 16:18

in grub, add the kernel command operation init=/bin/sh

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How do I get to grub? It boots to a graphical login screen and I can't use the keyboard or mouse at this screen. –  Marshal May 15 '11 at 16:23
    
So first grub boots up, and either gives you the option of which OS to boot into (that is the screen you want, and you have this screen if you dual-boot; hit e to edit things there), or doesn't and just shows you an ubuntu splash screen (too late to do anything). There may be a way to override it by holding down something, but I'm not positive. Has the keyboard ever worked before? You may have a change to hit ctrl-alt-f1 (and ctrl-alt-f7 to get back to graphical land) if you spam it during bootup, but I doubt this will work. –  user76871 May 15 '11 at 16:27

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