[SOLVED]Debian 9 XFCE install, Nothing but a wallpaper

Help with issues regarding installation of Debian

[SOLVED]Debian 9 XFCE install, Nothing but a wallpaper

Postby lyndhurst » 2017-09-07 13:55

I am not completely new to debian, I played around with it for almost a year on VMs, and started using it a lot for the last three months.
It is my first install on real hardware though.

I successfully installed debian 9 as a dual boot with windows 10.
I chose automatic partitioning of a free space of 37 gb next to the windows partition.
A swap and ext4 partition were created, efi recognized, everything was ok.
I know it is a small partition, but I checked on debian sites, and it should be more than enough to start customizing the system, and installing/setting basic applications I think.
The only thing that surprised me was the swap created was quite big; almost half the space, but I should trust that the installer knows better )

Everything went fine, grub was installed correctly.
The computer is an asus laptop, one year old, intel i7, 16gb ram, 500gb ssd.
The PC boots as expected, I get to the login where I can login with the user account as well as the root account.

The problem is that after logging in, there is nothing but the wallpaper and the cursor..

Absolutely nothing else.. No default shortcut / hotkey works, all I could notice is that ctrl + alt + f2 makes the cursor disappear.
Nothing else seems to happen whatever I try; I have to press the shutdown key to get out..

In recovery mode, at the end of what looks like a slow booting process, I am prompted for a root password for maintenance, and, given the alternative of pressing ctrl+shift+D to "continue".

At that point, entering root password logs me in a full screen terminal as root, and, only pressing 'enter' gets me to a full screen terminal like login.
There everything looks fine, all the folders I am used to see are there, I can run commands, update apt repository..

But, once in a while (I cannot reproduce every time), Ctrl+Shift+D brings me to the graphical usual login page, and logging from there starts a normal xfce session.
Within this session, everything works as expected, I can even log out and back into the session, but a restart brings me back to the options described above.

For information, windows boot is offered by Grub, and works perfectly.

Things I have tried:

I tried of course going through the install process again, I did it 4 times for the same results exactly every time. I used two different ISO images (1 downloaded today from the official site), on a cd, and, a usb once created with rufus, another time with windisk imager. The only thing I did not try yet is using a different repo source during installation..

I tried a solution I saw on various xfce threads to remove ~/.config/xfce4 , and/or, ~/.cache to no effect.
I also tried installing ldm package as it was suggested on an ubuntu forum, but no luck.
I ran

Code: Select all
apt install --reinstall xfce4
apt install --reinstall xfce4-goodies

I tried with boot secure enabled, disabled, with fast boot enabled, disabled as well.

I am sorry for such a lengthy question, especially for my first post, but I am desperate, I love debian and xfce, I practiced a bunch on VMs before taking the leap and finally giving up windows, so I am disappointed ...)
I would really appreciate any help as there is very little I could find by myself related to this issue.
Thanks a lot..
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Joined: 2017-09-07 12:37

Re: Debian 9 XFCE install, Nothing but a wallpaper after log

Postby bryanmc » 2017-09-07 14:57

Just off the top of my head, do you have the right click menu available? Also, are you sure the xfce session is the one you're booting in to and not openbox?
Posts: 77
Joined: 2016-11-18 12:21

Re: Debian 9 XFCE install, Nothing but a wallpaper after log

Postby lyndhurst » 2017-09-08 07:27

Thank you for your reply, and interest )
When I log in normally to a mere wallpaper, no I do not have right click, I have nothing that I could think of trying.
I do not exactly know what is OpenBox, I have just browsed the wikipedia page, but I am not sure how I could make sure if the session I am in is an OpenBox one...
I am right now researching what is the recovery mode to try and single out the diferences that freakishly allow me to log in to a "normal" session xfce; meaning the kind of session I am used to )
Thanks again, and please, let me know if there is something I can do to find out if I actually am in an xfce or openbox session ..
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Re: Debian 9 XFCE install, Nothing but a wallpaper after log

Postby bryanmc » 2017-09-08 11:46

When you are at the log in screen, on the right side of the top panel, you will see an icon that looks like a wrench and a piece of paper (usually the farthest left icon of the group on the right side of the panel). If you click on that you will be presented a menu to select what desktop environment or window manager to use for that login. The last one used will be selected by default.
Posts: 77
Joined: 2016-11-18 12:21

Re: Debian 9 XFCE install, Nothing but a wallpaper after log

Postby lyndhurst » 2017-09-08 16:16

Thanks a lot for the help,
I did try before changing this wrench icon, but to no effect again unfortunately; I tried a few other tips that I have been given today about nvidia drivers and such, but nothing..
But, finally the problem is solved (if I have to mark it solved somewhere, please let me know I am new here...)

Anyway I increase the size to 50 gb, and tried the install from a nonfree cd image instead of the installer, and finally it worked perfectly, boots between windows and debian like a charm.
I do not know which did the trick, but Thanks again for your help...
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Joined: 2017-09-07 12:37

Re: Debian 9 XFCE install, Nothing but a wallpaper after log

Postby duffy » 2017-09-11 16:13

Only the author of the post can edit it and add "Solved" to the title. [Maybe moderators have the authority also.]

Open the original post. You should have an "Edit" button on the right-hand side. Click it. Edit the title of the post to add "(Solved)".

Welcome to the forum.
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Joined: 2016-09-14 19:28

Re: [SOLVED]Debian 9 XFCE install, Nothing but a wallpaper

Postby happydog500 » 2017-09-13 01:22

I know this is "solved" but wanted to give my experience with the same "problem." I booted up to just the wallpaper. I watched TV and ate some chocloet cookies and when I came back, I had the panels and icons. It could be you didn't wait long enough. They may of appeared later.

This is for anyone else who searches this forum with the same "problem."

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Joined: 2016-11-12 03:16

Re: [SOLVED]Debian 9 XFCE install, Nothing but a wallpaper

Postby lyndhurst » 2017-09-15 15:11

Thanks for sharing your past experience.

I actually did not look well enough before going forward with my install;
The problem is well known already on my specific hardware, I have an Asus Zenbook UX501, and as I found out, only netinst-cd can be used with efi boot, so my so called "solution" was just the normal way to go; now I know )

Unfortunately, this problem occurred over and over again, and I found out it is actually because of a hardware / driver issue like mentioned here:

The solution exposed in this link to modify the GRUB partition by changing the acpi settings actually works well to ensure consistent and reliable boots into the XFCE session.
There is still a lot of issues like screen tears, and very rare crash when I do operations like theme changes..
The main problem comes down to the Nvidia card, and the nouveau drivers as far as I ve been able to learn; I am currently trying to get bumblebee, or nvidia proprietary drivers to work, but I had no success so far; I am thinking of opening another topic to ask for help on specific issues I encounter during the process.
I will do so Sunday unless instructed otherwise by somebody reading my post.
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