My problem is, that my Debian installation shows a grey screen on start up and boots into a console, instead into gnome.

When I start X manually with startx everything starts fine, so the DE seems to be functioning.


The program where you type your user name and password in a graphical environment, and that logs you into a graphical session, is called a display manager. You need to install a display manager. On Debian, if you install any of the display manager packages then one of them will be started at boot time.

Any of the packages that provide the x-display-manager virtual package will do. As of Debian jessie, that's gdm3 (Gnome), kdm (KDE), lightdm (lightweight but themable), slim (lightweight but themable), wdm (lightweight but themable, oldish), xdm (old-style, bare-bones). You don't have to use a display manager that matches your desktop environment. If in doubt, pick lightdm.

  • i have gdm3 installer, and write in cmd gmd3 start no succes but write in cmd startx load gnome succes, but is in boot the os no running gnome
    – Ymil
    May 19 '15 at 21:33
  • @LautaroLinquiman What happens when you run service gdm3 start? Copy-paste the output. May 19 '15 at 21:36
  • Sorry, then install ligthdm success ok. Thank yo! :)
    – Ymil
    May 20 '15 at 0:14

I was also confused by this problem for a long time. Reading the documentation from Debian wiki, at last, I finally found a way out.

# systemctl status gdm

# systemctl start gdm

and then I can access GUI again. Reference:


First of all GNOME is already there, but by default it is off.

To reset your login manager so that it runs gnome at boot up, do (as superuser)

update-rc.d -f gdm3 defaults

Or you can re-install and select the proper options

You can install the GUI easily:

apt-get install gnome
  • I'm test your solutions but don´t result.
    – Ymil
    May 19 '15 at 21:29
  • Hope you got your solution from @Gilles May 20 '15 at 6:15
  • For some obscure reason, I had deleted the gnome package... Thanks for bringing light upon me (and upon my Linux server) Cheers!
    – ccoutinho
    Feb 19 '20 at 18:47

Sometimes this happens if u run out of HD space if u can free some space using "CD" command to navigate through ur directories nd use the "rm 'file'" command to delete the file that can give u some free space then use the shutdown command to exit nd start the PC agin nd it will boot to the GUI. Pis ay

  • 4
    Please write standard English.
    – thb
    Dec 13 '16 at 19:00

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