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I need to somehow boot from Grub w/o even starting or trying to start X and display manager. I tried

linux (hd1,msdos3)/boot/vmlinuz-*** root=/dev/sdb3 ro text

but this started kdm regardless. I can't boot into graphic shell because the last update screwed graphic card drivers, and when the boot sequence hits the point where it launches the display manager it hangs forever.

I'm using Fedora Core 17 if that matters.

I don't think I can edit files from Grub, certainly not delete them, but I think there was some other option, something to tell it to boot into run-level 3, perhaps -3, or some such?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Add single to the kernel options in Grub. This will boot you into single-user mode: Load the kernel, mount the root filesystem, then drop you at a root shell and nothing more. This is the linux equivalent of "Safe Mode", and is perfect for fixing issues when something gets misconfigured.

Don't expect any services to be running, but it should be more than enough to edit a text file and reboot the machine when you're done.

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Alternatively add "init=/bin/bash" to the kernel line on Linux to drop you to a bash shell. (Also, a quick and nasty hack I use is to temporarily rename /usr/bin/X to something else, causing X to fail to load - its messy but expedient. –  davidgo Feb 9 '13 at 8:59
    
Thanks! In my case it also disabled networking (I'm guessing, that's expected, but was a roadblock for me), but I've figured that I was close with -3 option. Just the 3 (w/o the minus), would boot me into runlevel 3, and that means that networking enabled too. –  wvxvw Feb 9 '13 at 12:57
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