Well, the command to start the windowy stuff that you normally use (called the "X server") is
There should be an error somewhere that will tell you what's going wrong - it may tell you when you try to start the X server, or maybe it scrolls past as you boot up. If the X server starts without a hitch, then perhaps typing
(which gives you the bootup messages) will have a hint as to the source of the error. 'tail' prints the last 10 lines of a long piece of text - if it's not in those lines, you can try
dmesg | tail -n K | less
, replacing K with the number of lines you want to read. Gradually increase K until you find the error
I have 802 lines total on my dmesg...
Useful commands for using the shell can be found here
- it's a good general summary of background linux knowledge, but you're interested in section 9, "Alphabetical List of Principal Commands". The key ones for you to just move around are:
cd - move to a different folder
ls - list all the files in a folder
pwd - tell you the current folder you're in
man - Everyone's best friend, it tells you how to use a command (ie. "man ls" tells you what ls does, and its options)
apropos - searches all the man pages for keywords
less - "Pages" text: when a command provides too much info for one screen (*cough* apropos) then you can "pipe" it through less, like we did earlier, to scroll through it at your own speed. For example: "apropos mail | less"
Hopefully these will help you get around on the shell, and to fix your problem