Lost my desktop environment - help!

Kernels & Hardware, configuring network, installing services

Lost my desktop environment - help!

Postby tagal4 » 2018-09-01 19:46

For some reason I don't have a desktop environment (which was Mate) any more; I only have a terminal when I start the computer, and I don't know the first thing about running a computer just from the terminal. I suspect this happened when I was removing some packages that the computer said I didn't need to try to free up some more disk space. I'm thinking some package got deleted that is necessary for the desktop to work as it should. I tried reinstalling Mate but that didn't solve the problem. Right now I'm running the computer from the install disk and the computer works fine that way. I suppose the quick and dirty way to fix this would be to just reinstall the operating system, but there are some files that I didn't get a chance to back up to a flash drive before this happened so I would like to at least get them back. I tried using the terminal to get at these files but couldn't figure out how to navigate my file system from the terminal.

I would greatly appreciate any help solving this problem. I was wondering if one option would be to try installing a different desktop environment. Originally when I upgraded from Debian Jessie to Stretch I had an issue with the computer constantly logging me out without any warning that I solved by switching the desktop to Mate: this is how I got the idea to try to solve this problem be switching to a different desktop. Unless someone knows which package I'm missing to make the Mate desktop work this would be the next thing I would try.
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Re: Lost my desktop environment - help!

Postby Dai_trying » 2018-09-01 20:22

This seems to have occurred a few times recently and is usually the result of using autoremove "blindly".

I think it would be best to perform a re-install to be sure that everything is setup correctly (especially as this was an upgraded OS).

The easiest way to get your required files backed up would be to use a Live-Cd (it sounds like you already have one "the install disk") and mount the partition with the data and simply copy the files onto a spare storage device. after confirming you have everything copied over you can re-install and replace data files with your backup and everything should be as it was before.

Note 1: frequent backups should be considered essential not optional.
Note 2: ALWAYS check what autoremove is going to do before pressing "y"
Note 3: remember Notes 1&2 :D
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Re: Lost my desktop environment - help!

Postby stevepusser » 2018-09-01 20:33

It still might be fixable--exactly how did you try and reinstall the Mate desktop? Maybe you left something off there.
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Re: Lost my desktop environment - help!

Postby kedaha » 2018-09-01 20:35

Is lightdm still installed?
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Re: Lost my desktop environment - help!

Postby tagal4 » 2018-09-01 21:58

stevepusser wrote:It still might be fixable--exactly how did you try and reinstall the Mate desktop? Maybe you left something off there.

I removed it with the the "remove" command then installed it from scratch with the "install" command.
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Re: Lost my desktop environment - help!

Postby tagal4 » 2018-09-01 21:59

kedaha wrote:Is lightdm still installed?

Let me check after I eat supper.
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Re: Lost my desktop environment - help!

Postby tagal4 » 2018-09-01 23:54

I WAS missing lightdm so I went ahead and installed it which got my desktop back. Now my problem is that I don't have an internet connection for some reason (I'm typing this from a different computer). Any ideas how to fix this? Thanks.
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Re: Lost my desktop environment - help!

Postby stevepusser » 2018-09-02 00:50

tagal4 wrote:
stevepusser wrote:It still might be fixable--exactly how did you try and reinstall the Mate desktop? Maybe you left something off there.

I removed it with the the "remove" command then installed it from scratch with the "install" command.


Please, the full and exact command you used...
The MX Linux repositories: Backports galore! If we don't have something, just ask and we'll try--we like challenges. New packages: Kdenlive 18.08.1, Pale Moon 28.1.0, wine-staging 3.17, qBittorrent 4.1.3, Liquorix kernel 4.18-13, Audacity 2.3.0
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Re: Lost my desktop environment - help!

Postby stevepusser » 2018-09-02 00:52

tagal4 wrote:I WAS missing lightdm so I went ahead and installed it which got my desktop back. Now my problem is that I don't have an internet connection for some reason (I'm typing this from a different computer). Any ideas how to fix this? Thanks.


Did you have a little network connection widget on your taskbar before?
The MX Linux repositories: Backports galore! If we don't have something, just ask and we'll try--we like challenges. New packages: Kdenlive 18.08.1, Pale Moon 28.1.0, wine-staging 3.17, qBittorrent 4.1.3, Liquorix kernel 4.18-13, Audacity 2.3.0
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Re: Lost my desktop environment - help!

Postby tagal4 » 2018-09-02 06:01

Yes, now it's missing. I was having trouble with the network connection symbol saying I didn't have a connection any more before this whole mess started and I messed up my desktop. The internet works fine when I run my computer from an install disk so it can't be a problem with my hardware or the network itself.
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Re: Lost my desktop environment - help!

Postby tagal4 » 2018-09-02 06:17

Evidently my network manager got removed somehow, so I installed again it and everything seems to be working again (I hope).
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Re: Lost my desktop environment - help!

Postby debiman » 2018-09-02 06:37

lesson learned:
don't press Enter blindly, esp. not with autoremove.
never use apt with the '-y' option.
look in /var/log/apt/history.log* to find out what actually happened.
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Re: Lost my desktop environment - help!

Postby stevepusser » 2018-09-02 18:22

Happens all the time here:

User installs GNOME with the recommends, which pulls in an enormous number of packages as the metapackage dependencies.
User removes one of those packages they don't want.
The GNOME metapackage then is missing a dependency, and is also removed.
The rest of GNOME then becomes autoremovable orphans since the parent metapackage is gone.
User says "remove 500 packages? Seems legit to me--go ahead!"
User somehow can longer start GNOME, comes here and asks why.
The MX Linux repositories: Backports galore! If we don't have something, just ask and we'll try--we like challenges. New packages: Kdenlive 18.08.1, Pale Moon 28.1.0, wine-staging 3.17, qBittorrent 4.1.3, Liquorix kernel 4.18-13, Audacity 2.3.0
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Re: Lost my desktop environment - help!

Postby tagal4 » 2018-09-02 18:54

stevepusser wrote:Happens all the time here:

User installs GNOME with the recommends, which pulls in an enormous number of packages as the metapackage dependencies.
User removes one of those packages they don't want.
The GNOME metapackage then is missing a dependency, and is also removed.
The rest of GNOME then becomes autoremovable orphans since the parent metapackage is gone.
User says "remove 500 packages? Seems legit to me--go ahead!"
User somehow can longer start GNOME, comes here and asks why.

I find this comment insulting. Not everyone grew up with computers (it wasn't that many years ago when I didn't even have a computer): some of us are older people and we got along just fine without computers until our society suddenly became obsessed with them and made it so it's hard to do without them. Because not all of us are computer whizzes we don't know the things you mentioned intuitively, and there's no way to learn unless you actually experience these issues and have to learn the process of solving them, which is what I understand this forum is for. I wish people would be more considerate of other's before sitting at their computers typing such comments: I suspect cowards that use these forums to disrespect others wouldn't say such things directly to other's faces - they just like to hide behind their computers trying to make others look bad. In my opinion it just makes themselves look like arrogant jerks.
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Re: Lost my desktop environment - help!

Postby bw123 » 2018-09-02 19:14

tagal4 wrote:
...and there's no way to learn unless you actually experience these issues and have to learn the process of solving them, which is what I understand this forum is for.
...


But there is a way to learn without experience, it's another use for the forum, you can learn from previous mistakes made and documented here. You just read the forum.

I understand why you feel insulted, but I doubt that anybody here tried to make you feel that way. Don't be thin skinned, I make mistakes daily and you can jump in and make me feel dumb next time, ok?
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