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So I have a Debian distro at home (considering getting ubuntu), and I can't login. When I use the correct password is does this thing where it makes it look like it's going to login, and then it redirects to the login screen, but when I use an incorrect password it says "authentication failure". Does anyone know what could be causing this?

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Check for errors in ~/.xsession_errors and /var/log/Xorg.0.log. You should be able to still login in via the console (Ctrl+Alt+F1). – jordanm Jan 26 '13 at 2:02
What desktop are you using? You could try switching to a console (Ctrl+Alt+F1 through Ctrl+Alt+F6), login, and type startkde (If you are using KDE, if not, leave a comment telling what desktop you are using), then post the errors if there are any. – BenjiWiebe Jan 26 '13 at 19:52
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Perhaps your .profile, .bash_profile, /etc/profile, or .bashrc contains an error, and makes the shell exit?

If thats the case, use ctr-alt-F1 to enter the shell. use the command su - root to enter a root session, and then use nano or vi to edit the file that is broken.

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Very possible, I was just editing it, but how can I fix that from the login? Is there a way to access the CLI? – OneChillDude Feb 1 '13 at 16:44
I can't find my bash profile. I even tried to use the locate command. What directories would they be in? – OneChillDude Feb 2 '13 at 17:18

Had exactly the issue as described. After switching to a console (Ctrl+Alt+F1 through Ctrl+Alt+F6), it appeared that the root folder was completely full (use df ). A simple sudo apt-get clean did the trick. After confirmation that the drive has space available, go back to login screen using Ctrl+Alt+F7).

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