Upon login, I get the following message:

GNOME 3 Failed to Load

Unfortunately GNOME 3 failed to start properly and started in the fallback mode.

This most likely means your system (graphics hardware or driver) is not capable of delivering the full GNOME 3 experience.

Here's some more information:

$ grep EE /var/log/Xorg.0.log
[     2.866] (EE) FBDEV(0): FBIOPUTCMAP: Invalid argument

(the error message actually shows some tens of times).

$ sudo lspci -vk|grep -A 10 VGA
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Device 041e (rev 06) (prog-if 00 [VGA controller])
        Subsystem: ASUSTeK Computer Inc. Device 8534
        Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 45
        Memory at f7800000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=4M]
        Memory at e0000000 (64-bit, prefetchable) [size=256M]
        I/O ports at f000 [size=64]
        Expansion ROM at <unassigned> [disabled]
        Capabilities: [90] MSI: Enable+ Count=1/1 Maskable- 64bit-
        Capabilities: [d0] Power Management version 2
        Capabilities: [a4] PCI Advanced Features
        Kernel driver in use: i915

$ uname -a
Linux orestis 3.10-0.bpo.3-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 3.10.11-1~bpo70+1 (2013-09-24) x86_64 GNU/Linux

I seem to have all required packages installed (xserver-xorg-video-intel and i965-va-driver).


4 Answers 4


Try as follows:

 sudo apt-get update
 sudo apt-get -d install --reinstall gdm
 sudo apt-get remove --purge gdm
 sudo apt-get install gdm

(now you may be asked to choose your wm, I do not remember exactly, if so choose gdm)

 sudo reboot
  • I did the above, using gdm3 instead of gdm, and also, for the fourth command, I told it sudo apt-get install task-gnome-desktop instead, which installed gdm3 (and gnome and gnome-core, which had been uninstalled together with gdm3). No luck. (This is a fresh clean install of Wheezy, so I didn't think this could work.) Nov 29, 2013 at 14:56
  • @AntonisChristofides Try lightdm? Nov 29, 2013 at 14:57
  • Since I have the same symptoms with startx, isn't it unlikely that the problem is the display manager? Nov 29, 2013 at 14:59
  • @AntonisChristofides yes, but unlikely, not certain, is the key word. It takes 30 seconds to try. The alternative is to re-install, google around and you'll see no other way around this error. Nov 29, 2013 at 15:01
  • Tried it. Same symptoms, same messages in log. Nov 29, 2013 at 15:29

Obviously which Display Manager you use has zero to do with this issue.

Try a 3.12 kernel and if that does not work do the following:

  1. First try a kernel built from intel hd 4400 linux http://cgit.freedesktop.org/~danvet/drm-intel/?h=drm-intel-next

  2. If the solution above fails, bring it up on the developer list intel-gfx at freedesktop


I had the same issue with wheezy and i3-4130 CPU. I switched to testing and gnome 3 started to work out of the box, without any configuration.


I had to install a bunch of packages from backports:

sudo apt-get install -t wheezy-backports linux-image-3.16.0-0.bpo.4-amd64 firmware-linux i965-va-driver xserver-xorg-video-intel
sudo service gdm3 restart

I also rebooted a few times and i'm not sure if all the above are necessary.

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