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I had this problem and I asked some friends of mine and their advice was to upgrade from my messed-up Debian Squeeze system to the testing version. So I did it. First I changed the /etc/apt/sources.list file to use testing repositories. Then I used sudo apt-get update and after that sudo apt-get dist-upgrade. After a long hour everything was upgraded (I suppose). Then I saw that system warning for restarting the system. Done.

First thing after the restart that surprised me was the GRUB loader. There were not just the 2 choices for Debian 2.6.x.x and Debian 2.6.x.x (recovery) but also the new versions Debian 3.0.xx (first in the grub list) and Debian 3.0.xx. I selected the Debian 3.0.xx and then the whole screen messed-up. Just some colorful pixels and nothing clear to see. Does anyone have any idea how can I cope with it?

P.S. If I select the Debian 2.6.xx it is working (lets say properly) but the design is changed and I have no System menu top-left any more + I don't have right mouse click on the desktop.

As Gilles suggested I am posting the output from /boot/grub/grub.cfg

maistora@maistora:~$ vi /boot/grub/grub.cfg 


#
# DO NOT EDIT THIS FILE
#
# It is automatically generated by grub-mkconfig using templates
# from /etc/grub.d and settings from /etc/default/grub
#

### BEGIN /etc/grub.d/00_header ###
if [ -s $prefix/grubenv ]; then
  load_env
fi
set default="0"
if [ "${prev_saved_entry}" ]; then
  set saved_entry="${prev_saved_entry}"
  save_env saved_entry
  set prev_saved_entry=
  save_env prev_saved_entry
  set boot_once=true
fi

function savedefault {
  if [ -z "${boot_once}" ]; then
    saved_entry="${chosen}"
    save_env saved_entry
  fi
}

function load_video {
  insmod vbe
  insmod vga
  insmod video_bochs
  insmod video_cirrus
}

insmod part_msdos
insmod ext2
set root='(hd0,msdos1)'
search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root 94dc5612-177b-4222-b426-f9fa5bad2664
if loadfont /usr/share/grub/unicode.pf2 ; then
  set gfxmode=640x480
  load_video
  insmod gfxterm
  insmod part_msdos
  insmod ext2
  set root='(hd0,msdos1)'
  search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root 94dc5612-177b-4222-b426-f9fa5bad2664
  set locale_dir=($root)/boot/grub/locale
  set lang=en_US
  insmod gettext
fi
terminal_output gfxterm
set timeout=5
### END /etc/grub.d/00_header ###

### BEGIN /etc/grub.d/05_debian_theme ###
insmod part_msdos
insmod ext2
set root='(hd0,msdos1)'
search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root 94dc5612-177b-4222-b426-f9fa5bad2664
insmod png
if background_image /usr/share/images/desktop-base/spacefun-grub.png; then
  set color_normal=light-gray/black
  set color_highlight=white/black
else
  set menu_color_normal=cyan/blue
  set menu_color_highlight=white/blue
fi
### END /etc/grub.d/05_debian_theme ###

### BEGIN /etc/grub.d/10_linux ###
menuentry 'Debian GNU/Linux, with Linux 3.0.0-1-686-pae' --class debian --class gnu-linux --class gnu --class os {
        insmod gzio
        insmod part_msdos
        insmod ext2
        set root='(hd0,msdos1)'
        search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root 94dc5612-177b-4222-b426-f9fa5bad2664
        echo    'Loading Linux 3.0.0-1-686-pae ...'
        linux   /boot/vmlinuz-3.0.0-1-686-pae root=UUID=94dc5612-177b-4222-b426-f9fa5bad2664 ro  quiet
        echo    'Loading initial ramdisk ...'
        initrd  /boot/initrd.img-3.0.0-1-686-pae
}
menuentry 'Debian GNU/Linux, with Linux 3.0.0-1-686-pae (recovery mode)' --class debian --class gnu-linux --class gnu --class os {
        insmod gzio
        insmod part_msdos
        insmod ext2
        set root='(hd0,msdos1)'
        search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root 94dc5612-177b-4222-b426-f9fa5bad2664
        echo    'Loading Linux 3.0.0-1-686-pae ...'
        linux   /boot/vmlinuz-3.0.0-1-686-pae root=UUID=94dc5612-177b-4222-b426-f9fa5bad2664 ro single
        echo    'Loading initial ramdisk ...'
        initrd  /boot/initrd.img-3.0.0-1-686-pae
menuentry 'Debian GNU/Linux, with Linux 2.6.32-5-686' --class debian --class gnu-linux --class gnu --class os {
        insmod gzio
        insmod part_msdos
        insmod ext2
        set root='(hd0,msdos1)'
        search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root 94dc5612-177b-4222-b426-f9fa5bad2664
        echo    'Loading Linux 2.6.32-5-686 ...'
        linux   /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.32-5-686 root=UUID=94dc5612-177b-4222-b426-f9fa5bad2664 ro  quiet
        echo    'Loading initial ramdisk ...'
        initrd  /boot/initrd.img-2.6.32-5-686
}
menuentry 'Debian GNU/Linux, with Linux 2.6.32-5-686 (recovery mode)' --class debian --class gnu-linux --class gnu --class os {
        insmod gzio
        insmod part_msdos
        insmod ext2
        set root='(hd0,msdos1)'
        search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root 94dc5612-177b-4222-b426-f9fa5bad2664
        echo    'Loading Linux 2.6.32-5-686 ...'
        linux   /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.32-5-686 root=UUID=94dc5612-177b-4222-b426-f9fa5bad2664 ro single
        echo    'Loading initial ramdisk ...'
        initrd  /boot/initrd.img-2.6.32-5-686
}
### END /etc/grub.d/10_linux ###

### BEGIN /etc/grub.d/20_linux_xen ###
### END /etc/grub.d/20_linux_xen ###

### BEGIN /etc/grub.d/30_os-prober ###
### END /etc/grub.d/30_os-prober ###

### BEGIN /etc/grub.d/40_custom ###
# This file provides an easy way to add custom menu entries.  Simply type the
# menu entries you want to add after this comment.  Be careful not to change
# the 'exec tail' line above.
### END /etc/grub.d/40_custom ###

### BEGIN /etc/grub.d/41_custom ###
if [ -f  $prefix/custom.cfg ]; then
  source $prefix/custom.cfg;
fi
### END /etc/grub.d/41_custom ###

lspci

maistora@maistora:~$ lspci
00:00.0 Host bridge: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] 671MX
00:01.0 PCI bridge: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] PCI-to-PCI bridge
00:02.0 ISA bridge: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] SiS968 [MuTIOL Media IO] (rev 01)
00:02.5 IDE interface: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] 5513 [IDE] (rev 01)
00:03.0 USB Controller: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] USB 1.1 Controller (rev 0f)
00:03.1 USB Controller: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] USB 1.1 Controller (rev 0f)
00:03.3 USB Controller: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] USB 2.0 Controller
00:04.0 Ethernet controller: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] 191 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter (rev 02)
00:05.0 IDE interface: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] SATA Controller / IDE mode (rev 03)
00:06.0 PCI bridge: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] PCI-to-PCI bridge
00:07.0 PCI bridge: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] PCI-to-PCI bridge
00:0f.0 Audio device: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] Azalia Audio Controller
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc Mobility Radeon HD 3400 Series
02:00.0 Network controller: Atheros Communications Inc. AR928X Wireless Network Adapter (PCI-Express) (rev 01)

dpkg -l linux-image-*

maistora@maistora:~$ dpkg -l linux-image-\*
Desired=Unknown/Install/Remove/Purge/Hold
| Status=Not/Inst/Conf-files/Unpacked/halF-conf/Half-inst/trig-aWait/Trig-pend
|/ Err?=(none)/Reinst-required (Status,Err: uppercase=bad)
||/ Name                                   Version                                Description
+++-======================================-======================================-============================================================================================
un  linux-image-2.6                        <none>                                 (no description available)
un  linux-image-2.6-486                    <none>                                 (no description available)
ii  linux-image-2.6-686                    3.0.0+39                               Linux for modern PCs (dummy package)
un  linux-image-2.6-686-bigmem             <none>                                 (no description available)
un  linux-image-2.6-amd64                  <none>                                 (no description available)
un  linux-image-2.6-k7                     <none>                                 (no description available)
un  linux-image-2.6-openvz-686             <none>                                 (no description available)
un  linux-image-2.6-vserver-686            <none>                                 (no description available)
un  linux-image-2.6-vserver-686-bigmem     <none>                                 (no description available)
un  linux-image-2.6-xen-686                <none>                                 (no description available)
ii  linux-image-2.6.32-5-686               2.6.32-38                              Linux 2.6.32 for modern PCs
ii  linux-image-3.0.0-1-686-pae            3.0.0-3                                Linux 3.0.0 for modern PCs
ii  linux-image-686-pae                    3.0.0+39                               Linux for modern PCs (meta-package)

Hope I got everything right.

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2  
I suspect that you have stumbled upon gnome 3 –  Abhinav Sarkar Nov 12 '11 at 23:21
    
I suspect that you are right :) Do you have any suggestions to solve this ? –  Maistora Nov 12 '11 at 23:28
    
You have two separate issues, and it would be better to ask separate questions for them. To resolve the kernel issue, we need to know more: what is the exact kernel version and a description of your hardware; post the contents of /boot/grub/grub.cfg and the output of lspci and dpkg -l linux-image-\* and we'll take it from there. To resolve the desktop issue, as Abhinav says, you're seeing Gnome 3; you need to know more: do you want to get used to Gnome 3, or find a familiar interface, or look for alternatives? –  Gilles Nov 12 '11 at 23:31
1  
I do not recommend new-to-Linux users run Testing unless you have easy access to knowledgeable friends and have a lot of spare time. If you really want to rescue your current system, Debian-specific resources are a better option than playing 20-questions in comments on StackExchange for this sort of tech-support. Take your pick from mailing lists, forums, or IRC (newbie beware). Otherwise my blanket suggestion, knowing nothing about your situation, is to back up your data and reinstall a clean, working copy of Stable. –  jw013 Nov 12 '11 at 23:37
    
@Gilles I posted everything you asked for. About the Gnome 3 I suppose I can live with it. –  Maistora Nov 12 '11 at 23:57
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1 Answer 1

I had same problem with updating from stable to testing, and I think that good way is to reinstall testing from clean. Because when you update, you can get a lot of broken dependencies and your installed software, which worked with old libraries, can make problems. Besides, if you installed closed drivers fglrx, it was built for your previous version of kernel and can be broken with new. Also, pae-kernels can be a problem too. So, I recommend you to make a clean install if you don't want to fight with broken dependencies and drivers.

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