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Your Pretty Linux GUI Fails and Dumps You to a Console. Now What? - page 2

Staring At A Black Screen and a Command Prompt. Now What?

  • February 3, 2009
  • By A. Lizard

Setting up a bookmark page:

Find something you want to bookmark and bookmark as in the above instruction. Add bookmarks as you please. Also, you can create a basic, minimal html page and use that as a lynx bookmark file, too, or edit the lynx bookmark file as a html document. You should find lynx_bookmarks.html once created in your /home/username directory. A good starting point for a set of useful troubleshooting bookmarks can be found in the Linux troubleshooting links section below.

What doesn't work well with lynx:

If the content of the site depends on Javascript or Java or Flash for delivery, lynx won't display it. But for the majority of webpages or pages on blogs/wikis on which you're likely to find the tech info you need, it'll show enough.

How to use error messages in keyword searches

If your GUI is down, your clipboard goes down with it. No copy and paste of error message text, and your screenshot facility is as inaccessible as the GUI window manager.

You still need to record your error messages. If the message is short, simply write it down by hand. If there's a lot of content, get out your digicam and take a screen shot.

Once you have done this, find a few words likely to be uniquely associated with your problem and enter them in the Google search box.

The best kind of search term for this is a direct quote from the error message enclosed in quotes so Google will look for it as a text string. For instance:

"Error message 34123: buffer overflow"

will get you straight to posts discussing your problem should they exist on the Web. If that gets you too manyhits, add new keywords:

"Error message 34123: buffer overflow" nvidia linux driver

and the irrelevant hits will disappear.

If you have a GUI up, having multiple terminal windows where you can put command summaries on one is easy. With a console login (aka black screen), it's impossible. (being able to open multiple consoles and shift with alt-F-whatever isn't that useful in this context, you need to be able to see the commands andwhat you're trying to work on at the same time. You'll need to be able to at least get around in the directory tree:

$ cd directoryname
$ cd .. (go up to next higher directory level)

and open configuration files with text editors if you're going to have any hope of fixing things without the help of GUI applications.

$ nano application.conf
$ sudo nano application.conf (Ubuntu command to access/edit files owned by root)

However, there are lots of command line applications and functionality that'll help you troubleshoot and not having them within reach is like trying to work under the hood of a car without a tool kit.

Print the Linux command-line command summary: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3.and put these printouts somewhere around your computer where you can find it at need.

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