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This is the second time this has happened to me this week. The first time was on my netbook, the second on a VM on my desktop. Whenever I try to log in to my account through the GUI the screen flashes black, then I arrive back at the log in prompt. I can log in to my account through the terminal (Ctrl-Alt-F1), and I can log in to a guest account. However, I can't log in via "normal" means.

Has anyone else had this issue? If so, care to shed some light on this problem?

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Probably, your X server or session manager crashes. Run after a failed login dmesg | tail to see for any segfault messages and have a look into the log files in /var/log/ –  jofel Mar 5 '12 at 8:59
    
Did you install "Compiz" and its plug-ins ??! if so, then you should remove them then try again –  wisdom Apr 14 '12 at 22:06

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