A very frustrating thing happened today. To give you a little background, I had been running Dropbox and a few other programs prior on my CrunchBang box (Debian based).

It seems that some of the processes were taking more than the amount of memory I prefer. So, I performed a system reboot. Once the box came back to the login screen I entered my necessary credentials. After that, to my horror the screen went blank/dark grey!!!

I did a hard reboot as the box didn't seem to respond to commands. Once it came back I noted that it would let me switch to command line terminal view (virtual console). It appeared all my files where intact. But, I really need my GUI back.

Any ideas on what may have happened? Or what I might try to do to fix this? This CrunchBang install is only a few days old, it doesn't matter since it's not working. I've also tried launching the X server by running:


Still nothing happens, just the blank screen. If I Control+C it terminates the X server and returns back to the command prompt.

Solution UPDATE (11/22/13):

Come to find out, my problem was simply that my default x-session-manager got switched to "lxsession" (which was configured to display a blank screen by default apparently). I'm not sure why but that's what happened. I'm thinking maybe one of the system updates changed the default x-session manager configuration. The following command allows you to change the defualt x-session manager(atleast in debian):

sudo update-alternatives --config x-session-manager

Something like this will be the ouput:

There are 2 choices for the alternative x-session-manager (providing /usr/bin/x-session-manager).

  Selection    Path                      Priority   Status
  0            /usr/bin/lxsession         49        auto mode
  1            /usr/bin/lxsession         49        manual mode
* 2            /usr/bin/openbox-session   40        manual mode

Press enter to keep the current choice[*], or type selection number: 

The output of that command will allow you to switch between all installed x-session managers. Thanks all!

closed as off-topic by terdon, slm, Anthon, jasonwryan, Thomas Nyman Nov 13 '13 at 5:40

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  • 1
    Could you post your $HOME/.xsession-errors file please? – terdon Nov 12 '13 at 17:47
  • 2
    when stuff like this used to happen to me, that first thing I always checked was my $HOME/.xinitrc. Oh, and what window manager/desktop environment are you using? – Alexej Magura Nov 12 '13 at 17:50
  • @AlexejMagura Im running OpenBox. What is that file used for? – AllenD Nov 13 '13 at 3:25
  • Sorry guys, those comments all seem like helpful suggestions, but since I last checked for responses I've re-installed CrunchBang Linux. It's working now. I will keep these suggestions in mind. Thanks a million. @AlexejMagura – AllenD Nov 13 '13 at 3:36
  • 6
    This question should be closed because the OP reinstalled their system and the problem went away. This means there will never be a satisfactory answer and no follow up. – terdon Nov 13 '13 at 3:52