Kubuntu 13.04 Black Screen After Login Fix
Recently I upgraded my Kubuntu 12.10 install to Kubuntu 13.04. I had been told this was a fairly smooth upgrade and since I waited a couple of months after the release to do the upgrade, I figured I was in pretty good shape. I was wrong. The upgrade went smoothly enough, but after rebooting I ran into issues. I reached the LightDM login screen with no issues and logged in as normal. I got the pretty Kubuntu splash screen with all the pretty icons. Then I got nothing but a black screen and a cursor. Obviously the graphical components were working, but the desktop was not loading correctly. After some searching online I found that this had become a common problem. It wasn’t necessarily due to the upgrade either. It seems like many other people are having this issue after a more recent update.
After spending a few hours trying various fixes all the way from reinstalling the kubuntu-desktop package to reconfiguring which desktop manager was in use to reinstalling various packages and drivers, I finally tried something quite a bit simpler and met with success.
While looking for answers I stumbled upon a relatively unrelated topic about restoring the default KDE desktop in an older version of Kubuntu. I figured I might as well try that and see what happened even though none of the information I’d come across concerning the particular problem I was having mentioned this as a possible fix. It turned out to be the fix for me though. The problem was a corrupted, or at least an incompatible, desktop configuration. The solution was to simply delete my desktop configuration and let Kubuntu restore the default desktop. This is relatively simple to do and only takes a few minutes. I’ll walk you through the process in the following mini-guide.
1) Once you log in and get to the black screen with a mouse pointer you’ll be at a stand still. You need to get to a text shell instead of the GUI. To do this press Ctrl+Alt+F2. Login with your username and password. You’ll then be at a command line.
2) Lets try the least invasive approach first, removing just the configuration files that concern the KDE appearance settings. Type the following:
sudo rm -rf .kde/share/config/plasma-*
You’ll need to enter your password again for this first command using the sudo prefix. This command should have deleted the configuration files involving the KDE appearance settings.
3) To see if this resolved your problem type the following at the command line:
4) Once you are back to the login screen, login as normal and see if you have a functional desktop. If so then your problem is fixed. You will have to redo any customizations you had on your desktop as you are now using a fresh default desktop.
5) If the above did not work then you can try removing the entire set of KDE configuration files. Return to the command line with Ctrl+Alt+F2 again and type the following command:
sudo mv ~/.kde ~/.kde.old
This command will rename the directory containing your configuration files. This will allow KDE to recreate fresh files but also provide a backup of the configuration in case you need to restore them. To restore the files you would type the following commands:
sudo rm ~/.kde
sudo mv ~/.kde.old ~/.kde
6) Once again reboot the machine with the following command and login to see if it worked.
Hopefully one of these methods will work for you. If not, then your problem lies with something other than the desktop configuration files.
Thanks for reading.