I upgraded from Debian Wheezy to Debian Jessie by changing sources from /etc/apt/source.list and running:

apt-get update
apt-get --download-only dist-upgrade
apt-get dist-upgrade

This operation went fine and didn't seemingly break anything. However after shutting down computer and starting it again the login screen is not appearing after Grub menu. The screen is black after grub and it doesn't seem to respond to any key combinations. I have tried choosing recovery mode from Grub, but it doesn't help with the problem. Any ideas how I should start investigating this problem? I'm fairly new to Debian and I'm not sure how to fix this problem. Is there some way I could open the terminal and find logs about booting?

Edit: Pressing CTRL + ALT + F2 does not open shell. No key combination works in the black screen. My graphic card is AMD Radeon HD 7970.

  • That sounds like the X server is not starting properly. Do you have an X config file? This is usually at /etc/X11/xorg.conf. Check if /var/log/Xorg.0.log exists. If either or both of these files exist, what are their contents? Also, what is your video card? Oct 2, 2014 at 8:33
  • Try all the F Keys between 2 and 6, as in CTRL + ALT + F3
    – eyoung100
    Oct 2, 2014 at 13:47

3 Answers 3



Login, type service gdm stop or systemctl stop gdm

Type startx

Post the results in your question

  • This is really a comment, not an answer.
    – Joseph R.
    Oct 2, 2014 at 6:45
  • @JosephR. I'll edit the answer, as he updates his question. Thank you for the suggestion.
    – eyoung100
    Oct 2, 2014 at 13:29

Try adding radeon.modeset=0 to your linux line in grub. If that does not work, try with nouveau.modeset=0.

To add this permanently do a sudo dpkg-reconfigure grub-pc.


I had similar problem both after simple update and with fresh Jessie install.

I followed the @eyoung100 instruction. Here's my Xorg.0.log


sgfxi tool fixed the problem for me.

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