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an hour ago I had a working gnome-desktop on my debian system (thinkpad x121e).

Then I installed compiz that crashed.

After a reboot the gnome-desktop no longer started.

Then I did some upgrades with aptitude, all gnome-packages seem to be there, but it is still not working.

On startup I get a login-dialog, when I login there is no desktop, only some window-manager running that allows me to start a terminal.

When I run "gnome-session" I get the error message "failed to load session "gnome".

So how do I get back to a working desktop?

I have tried "tasksel install gnome-desktop --new-install" but that just displays a progress window that after half an hour still shows 0%.

Can someone help me please?

I have tried "

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5 Answers 5

Try doing this in terminal

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade #see if the package is held back
sudo apt-get purge gnome-session
sudo apt-get install gnome-session


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first of all sudo apt-get purge gnome-session.

after all purging the gnome session make sure to clear packages by using bellow command sudo apt-get autoremove sudo apt-get autoclean

and than sudo apt-get install gnome-session it will work most the time when tasksel fail to install gnome.

i have tested this code on debian jessie and ubuntu lts 14.04.

i have this kind of crazy issue once i have messed up with gtk or multiple session at a time So also.

this will help you out form the session issue.

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After upgrading from Squeeze to Wheezy a virtual machine running on KVM, I had to install "gnome-session-falback" in order to open successfully a session in gnome:

sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback
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You will need to install aptitude and tasksel before install gnome

Aptitude is an Ncurses based FrontEnd to Apt, the debian package manager.

Tasksel is a tool that installs multiple related packages as a co-ordinated “task” onto your system.

# apt-get install aptitude tasksel

Install gnome on debian

# tasksel install gnome-desktop --new-install


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I discovered that I was missing Xorg. Installed it with this;

sudo apt-get install xorg
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