I've unfortunately managed to lock myself out of my own playground (Raspberry Pi 4B, Raspbian Buster) after attempting what was originally going to be a solution to autostarting a network-kvm (synergy) script at bootup for more convenient use.

I had not been able to get the client application of Synergy to connect to my server, so I read that the X11 "Xsession" script may likely be the culprit. Within /etc/X11/Xsession I foolishly placed a one-liner to run my client application once screen control was inherently established:

/usr/bin/killall synergyc sleep 1 /usr/bin/synergyc synergy-server

Unfortunately, I am now prompted with a login screen for my one single user "pi" which would normally automatically boot up. This was my super-user account where I'd just sudo whatever I needed root credentials for. It accepts the password, but boots me right back out to the login screen again, presumably when killall is executed again.

Is there a way to revert back to a particular time from today to boot the system back into? I have Shift keyed into Recovery Mode but Raspbian, as far as I can tell, only allows me to reload the OS. Is there a way to modify this Xsession script otherwise, or am I pretty much S.O.L. here?



Since you affected your X-sessions only, you are quite lucky and can use a command line interface to fix it.

If you access your Pi locally (i.e. with its own keyboard and monitor) use ctrl+alt+F1 to get to a login prompt.

If you do it remotely and have not yet activated ssh, remove the SD-card and place an empty file called ssh in the boot section of your SD. Then start the Pi and use (from linux PC) ssh pi@<ip of pi> to login. (Use Putty when you want to use ssh from a Windows PC).

Once in the CLI environment revert your changes and restart the Pi.

  • You, sir, (sorry if that username-based assumption is incorrect), are a gentleman and a scholar. Probably pretty fundamental stuff for a Linux pro, but your help has expedited me past a lot of anxious research, which may have taken a lot of time. I feel like a fool, but I was very hot to trot on understanding systemd and getting some other startup processes set up. I'll slow this train down.Thanks again! Dec 31 '20 at 4:26
  • @user8585939 You're welcome. Breaking a system is part of the learning game - I remember the cold sweat on my first unbootable system very well.
    – FelixJN
    Dec 31 '20 at 15:54

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