So I only created a root account during the installation process (which comes down to me only providing a root password, no name or ID or anything).

During my first boot it sends me to a black screen (tty1) where it asks me for a login:

(computer name) login:

which I clearly never specified. Using 'root' and my corresponding password doesn't work. Neither does leaving "login" blank. Is this possible? Or is it some stupid mistake like an actual wrong password or a keyboard layout differing? (please consider the latter as a final explanation, I'm pretty sure that my password is correct, as I tried both possible regional layouts (azerty & qwerty, caps and non-caps)).

Thanks in advance

2 Answers 2


You should be able to login as root with the password you set up. However, it is quite common not to allow root to log in graphically so this might be what is stopping you.

Use CtrlAltF2 at the login screen to drop to a tty and log in there. Does that work?

If that allows you to log in, create a normal user with adduser and then hit CtrlF8 (it might be F7) to go back to the login screen and try to log in with that user.

If this still does not work, you can boot into a live session and create a user from there using chroot. The basic procedure is:

  1. Boot into a Debian (or whatever) live session.

  2. Mount the / partition of your installed system in a temporary location (I am using dev/sda here, change that with the right device):

    sudo mkdir foo
    sudo mount /dev/sda1 foo/
  3. chroot into the mounted system, this will create a 'fake' environment that thinks it is your installed system.

    sudo chroot foo
  4. At this point, you should be able to create a new user

    sudo adduser username
  5. Reboot into the installed system and try logging in with the user you just created.

  • It immediately sends me to a tty after grub, no graphical interface whatsoever. As I said, I tried root with the only password I had to give up during the installation procedure, it just says incorrect login. What if I actually might have had a typo in my password? Is there a way to fix this or do I need to reinstall? I'm still fairly convinced that I know my password and that I didn't type it wrongly twice...
    – Jan M.
    Oct 10, 2013 at 16:44
  • @PatronBernard sorry, I missed the mention of "black screen". root should work there. However, your keyboard will probably be in qwerty mode, make sure you type the right password by first typing it into the login field so you can see it (I know you said you tested all combinations, its just easier if you can see what you're typing). If that still does not work, you can fix this from the live session, see updated answer.
    – terdon
    Oct 10, 2013 at 16:50
  • I think it came down to a typo during the installation process. I used init=/bin/bash in kernel mode to reset it. Got logged in as root, now to actually add a user I guess. But eh, why is there no GUI?
    – Jan M.
    Oct 10, 2013 at 16:56
  • 1
    @PatronBernard no X11 installed, wrong default runlevel, missing video driver... reasons can be plentiful.
    – peterph
    Oct 10, 2013 at 17:27

@PatronBernard at the stage where you are, I would say you have two choices:

  1. you re-install your debian from scratch, and you choose to install Xorg, so that you will have the graphical interface installed, and the installer will fetch all necessary drivers for your machine; be sure to make a user, type a simple password to start with: you will modify it later. On my keyboard (French model), I try to avoid the letters azqwm, as these change on a US keyboard layout
  2. you keep going with your current installation and you try to enhance it: logged in as root, in your console (Ctl-Alt-F1 or 2), type: aptitude => this launches a text interface to install/remove packages. Shortcut keys may not be obvious, but the tool is reasonably user-friendly. Choose to install Xorg package, that should install the X graphical interface, with all needed dependencies.

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