After logging in to my Debian machine, I just get a black screen. When going to tty1 I see "xset unable to open display". When I next reboot, I get into initramfs because of some bad blocks om /dev/sde1. I fix them (fsck /dev/sde1 -y). After doing this, I can get back to the login screen, and repeat.

Why would this happen? When I install Ubuntu on the same drive I have no such issues. Neither do I have issues with Windows or openSUSE. I am quite confused as to why this happens on debian.


I doubt that you have bad blocks on debian, as fsck would not normally fix them. It is possible I am wrong, that your /dev/sde drive is just about to fail and that the activity that fsck creates on the drive is enough to fix it.

What I suspect is that you have an unclean filesystem and you have different file system types when you set up debian vs ubuntu and openSUSE. Do you "reboot" in some manner (such as holding in the power button for long enough to power off and then power on) that does not allow the machine to close down gracefully. You should type reboot on tty1

So we need a LOT more information from you. What type of file systems you have for each of the OS you have installed for /, do you have a separate /boot partition, and if so what file system does it have and is it normally mounted read-only? How are you rebooting? Which versions of the OS are you using?

If you boot in single user mode with debian does everything work (apart obviously the graphics)?

  • lsblk -f and cat /etc/fstab – user192526 Nov 11 '16 at 8:45
  • Normally I do not do cold reboots with the power button. But it has happened on my ubuntu system considering the nvidia drivers and ubuntu did not like to play together and completely hung my system some times. I'm using ext4 filesystems for the root and home partitions, and have a swap of about 10gb as well. When this occured on debian, the only system I was running was debian. I did have a seperate partition just for backup data (ext4) connected as well. – Dylan Meeus Nov 11 '16 at 18:03
  • So how are you rebooting when you are using debian? In general ext4 should be reasonably safe against unexpected reboots. Have you decided if you are getting bad blocks or not? – icarus Nov 11 '16 at 23:03

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