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How can I not use the graphical desktop when starting up Debian on my server? I cannot use the graphical desktop because my VGA does not support the set resolution.

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Press Ctrl-Alt-F1, and then you might find this helpful... debianadmin.com/… –  elimirks Nov 18 '12 at 23:17
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migrated from stackoverflow.com Nov 19 '12 at 8:38

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2 Answers

Append single to the kernel line in grub / lilo, it should drop you to shell then you can edit Xorg config.

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The normal setup is that X login managers (like xdm, gdm, etc) only start in runlevel 3.

Therefore I think the most reasonable way to your goal is to edit /etc/inittab so that you boot to runlevel 2. Look for the line with "default" in it, and set default runlevel to two this way:

id:2:initdefault:

If you would like to boot to runlevel 2 and then start X at a later time, you could ensure the "xinit" package is installed, and run "startx" once you would like to start X. If you decide you're tired of booting to console, I suggest booting to runlevel 3 by editing /etc/inittab. On the fly, you could also run "telinit 3" to change to runlevel 3.

Note that runlevels can also be set via boot parameters. Although that's more sensible for one-off rescue scenarios (e.g., boot to single-user mode to perform some recovery tasks).

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