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The log in box you are talking about is the desktop manager, either gdm, kdm, or xdm. The default is gdm. You can remove it with:
apt-get remove gdm
But I wouldn't recommend that because it is quite handy to have.
If you are having a problem (like you are now), you can still log in from the command line to see what is going on. When the log in box opens up, press ctrl+alt+F1 to get a command prompt. From this command prompt, log in as root and issue the command "killall gdm", then exit. Now log in as a user (emelfm?) and type "startx". See what errors you have to help you figure out why x isn't starting for a regular user.
I should have mentioned that I am running IceWM. I added the user with useradd.
That could be your problem right there useradd just does that only adds a user to the system it copies no setup files to the users /home, try adduser to create the user.
Why is gdm handy to have? What exactly is the function of gdm, kdm, or xdm?
It is handy if you like to boot graphically otherwise it is useless to you if you want command line. They are used to start a Desktop environment from X which is what you are really running if the manager was not there then all you would see is the grey backround with an X for the cursor.
At the login, I was able to ctrl-alt-f1, and go to root, then log in as a user, killall xpm, and do a startx. But, I was able to log in as root though the gui, anyway. In any case, this does not really fix the problem, I don't want to have to do this everytime a regular user logs in. I would rather just log into the CLI, if that will even work.
I can do a userdel, then adduser; if the user is already there. I can not do an adduser for a new user, I get this error:
adduser: `groupdel username' returned error code 6. Aborting.
Doing a "apt-get remove xdm" removed my x-window-system. I was able to do an "apt-get install x-window-system" and get my gui back, but I right back where I started regarding users not being able to log-in.