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I was playing around with the XF86 config files, and set something wrong that wouldnt let my x server start. So I deleted /etc/X11 and started up the slackware install CD, said to install all programs from the 'X window system' group. After I boot, I can run startx, but it says it cannot locate /etc/X11/XF86Config, and I cant find the X11 directory in /etc/ either. How can I get it back other than doing a full re-install?
That's a lot of files that are usually stored there, but reinstalling them should replace the missing files. You may have to recreate the /etc/X11 directory first.
Among the programs that store configuration files there are XFree86 (what a surprise ), font servers (xfs, fs-xtt), some display managers (xdm) and their Session files, and so on. First off you need to recreate the XF86Config-4 file that takes care of XFree86 configuration. xf86cfg is one of the apps that can help you with that.
To cut it short - I don't think a system reinstall is necessary, but it may take some time to get working again. But, to look at it from the bright side - you will probably learn a lot!
Afaik, /etc generally contains configuration files, not programs. This is one reason that reinstalling X wouldn't restore /etc/X11/XF86Config (or /etc/X!!/XF86Config-4)-- X does not come with a "base" configuration file to use as a default no matter what your system (or every distribution wouldn't have an X configuration tool at the end of its install process).
So having deleted the configuration file for X (amazing!), you won't be able to start it until you create a new one.
As noted, /usr/X11R6/bin/xf86config is a program that will help you do that, or -- since this is, after all, Slackware, which is one of the few distros that does not assume you want or will be using X-- you can use the various console based tools to do so manually. I would suggest lynx for Internet searches via Google, man for information on the file itself, and pico to create the text file (pico is installed with pine, a console based mail program, if you don't have it, try vim instead).
I have been running xf86config, but I dont know any of the specifics of my laptop LCD, it was just automatically configured before. I have run it a couple of times with different options, but each time when I try to start X I get something about how the virtual height (0) is too small for the hardware. it needs to be at least 1.
I guess I will just reinstall, I only did the first install 2 days ago, so I wont be losing much.