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Old 01-09-2019, 01:59 AM   #1
Eman Resu
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Broke Linux Mint 18.x Cinnamon desktop, OS seemingly inaccessible


(Truth be told, I should have sought help months ago.)

So back in August or so, I had attempted to install an animated desktop application for Linux Mint, and it broke the desktop. I most likely installed it into the wrong directory, or used incorrect terminal commands. I didn't know what I was doing, and was blindly following an online how-to guide. Now when I try to run Linux Mint (18.1 if memory serves correct), I only get a message box with the error--

Code:
: unable to launch "cinnamon-session-cinnamon" X session ---
"cinnamon-session-cinnamon" not found; falling back to default session.
The only option available is an "okay" button. When I click this (with an "X" pointer no less), I get dropped to a pure black screen with only a mouse pointer. All I can do from here is reset my computer. While I am able to get into some sort of terminal-only/text-only mode, I do not know how to diagnose this issue and post logs.

I switched back to my other OS, Windows 8.1, which is on a separate hard drive (no partitions, separate physical disks). Perhaps it is possible to recover my files? I have important files saved on my Linux Mint drive, as it was my primary OS from February 2018 to August 2018, and shared about equal usage with Windows 8.1 for another year before that. If there is any way possible to recover my files, if not my entire installation, I would be most appreciative!

(PS: I would appreciate advice on this forum post so they can be more useful in the future.)
 
Old 01-09-2019, 07:10 AM   #2
wpeckham
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It sounds as if you not only have your OS running properly, X-windows is also running properly but the Desktop Environment running on X is a minimal one. You might try right-click and see if it gives you a menu.

If you can get to a shell prompt, there are things you can do about this. It may be a bit difficult to give specific advice, without knowing exactly what you did. Did you attempt to install something from outside of the REPO systems, compiling from source or from a tar.gz file?

I THINK that re-installing and re-configuring your desktop environment as the default should resolve this. I am not currently running Mint, so I want someone who HAS mint running to weigh in on exactly what commands to run.

Worry not, there are very few things that cannot be recovered as long as you have a running system and have not scrubbed your data.
 
Old 01-09-2019, 08:32 AM   #3
snowday
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Do you have a link to the how-to you followed? That might help us figure out where things went wrong.

On the login screen, there should be an option to choose your "session." (I am a Fedora user, and this option looks like a small gear-shaped icon, near where I type my password. Not sure what the Mint interface looks like.) If there are different options here, then experiment if any of them bring back your desktop environment. For example, maybe you have accidentally selected Openbox instead of Cinnamon?

I'm also curious if you try logging in as a different user, do you get the same problem, or does it work okay for the other user?

In any case, I don't see any evidence that your data is gone. I bet you can recover everything. If your data is precious and you don't have backups, then you should probably make data recovery your first priority, before you worry about the "cinnamon X session" error. The easiest way to do this is boot from a Linux Mint Live DVD or Live USB, mount your computer's hard drive, and then copy all the documents to an external hard drive and/or cloud storage.
 
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Old 01-09-2019, 06:43 PM   #4
pholland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wpeckham View Post
....

I THINK that re-installing and re-configuring your desktop environment as the default should resolve this. I am not currently running Mint, so I want someone who HAS mint running to weigh in on exactly what commands to run.

Worry not, there are very few things that cannot be recovered as long as you have a running system and have not scrubbed your data.
Quote:
Originally Posted by snowpine View Post
....

In any case, I don't see any evidence that your data is gone. I bet you can recover everything. If your data is precious and you don't have backups, then you should probably make data recovery your first priority, before you worry about the "cinnamon X session" error. The easiest way to do this is boot from a Linux Mint Live DVD or Live USB, mount your computer's hard drive, and then copy all the documents to an external hard drive and/or cloud storage.
Welcome to the forums here, Eman Resu!

Wpeckham wants a Mint user to weigh in, and I have a dual boot system, Windows 7 and Mint 18.2 (Cinnamon). Each OS is on its own hard drive. This computer is a Dell, about 8 years old so pre-UEFI. I am no expert, but a while back I did need to copy some files without using the installed windows or linux OSes.

I did what snowpine suggested. I started the computer, booted from the Mint Live DVD, mounted the appropriate hard disk, and copied the needed files to an external drive. No problems there.

For what it's worth, I have three partitions on my linux HD, swap, mint, and data. I like a separate data partition because files there are likely to be safe from a reinstall. No guarantees, of course.

I do not have the expertise to repair the original poster's existing linux installation. In his shoes, I would use gparted to reformat the mint partition and then reinstall the mint operating system. I've done this several times without affecting the windows installation. Might be nice to upgrade to the latest version of Mint 18, too.

Good luck!
 
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Old 01-09-2019, 07:51 PM   #5
Ztcoracat
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You could install another DE if the Cinnamon DE is inoperable/broken.
Maybe try the Mate desktop:-

You should be able to mount your Windows file system from your Linux Mint file manager and backup all of your files to an external hard disk drive or a reasonably sized USB pen drive.

If that fails boot to a Live Linux DVD and backup that way.

Quote:
I THINK that re-installing and re-configuring your desktop environment as the default should resolve this.
I agree.
 
Old 01-09-2019, 09:00 PM   #6
Brains
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eman Resu View Post
All I can do from here is reset my computer. While I am able to get into some sort of terminal-only/text-only mode, I do not know how to diagnose this issue and post logs.
Since you can get to terminal, try adding a new user, it may just be your current user's desktop settings that are affected. Run command: sudo adduser jim to create a new user named jim. Then follow the prompts to enter a password etc, then when finished, reboot and log in with the new user. Not sure if command: sudo reboot works on Mint but it does work on Debian.

EDIT: After entering new user's password twice, you can leave all other prompts as default and just hit enter.

Last edited by Brains; 01-09-2019 at 09:02 PM.
 
Old 01-13-2019, 05:46 PM   #7
Eman Resu
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First of all, I rediscovered a backup on my Windows HDD I made around the time my system broke. I believe it has all my personal files, so I am a lot more free to fix my install however possible. I must have done this like Ztcoracat suggested before my desktop completely deteriorated, and forgotten last August.

In the x interface, as soon as I click “okay” the cursor returns to a normal one, but I cannot even right click. I can press any button on any key or mouse input and nothing happens.

I cannot access a typical log in screen, but recovery mode works. When I selected “root (Drop to root shell prompt)”, I could get to a terminal interface. I entered Brains’ command, but the console gave me the following:
Code:
Groupadd: cannot lock /etc/group; try again later. 
Adduser: `/usr/sbin/groupadd -g 1001 jim’ returned error code 10. Exiting.
In the recovery menu (which by default states “filesystem state: read-only"), I can access resume (resume normal boot), clean (try to make free space), dpkg (repair broken packages), fsck (check all file systems), grub (update grub bootloader), enable networking, root (see above), and system-summary. I tried using dpkg to see if that would help matters, and it just came up with a bunch of errors and couldn’t do its job.

How would I go about re installing the desktop? Or should I just reinstall the OS since I have my backed-up files?
 
Old 01-14-2019, 04:33 PM   #8
Ztcoracat
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You could re-install the os if you'd like to keep Cinnamon <or> you could install and try the "Mate" Desktop and see how you like it.

To install Mate look in your Software Center.

https://www.maketecheasier.com/install-mate-linux-mint/
 
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Old 01-14-2019, 06:53 PM   #9
Numbnuts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eman Resu View Post
(Truth be told, I should have sought help months ago.)

So back in August or so, I had attempted to install an animated desktop application for Linux Mint..........

Code:
: unable to launch "cinnamon-se........
The only option available is an "okay" button. When I click this (with an "X" pointer no less), ............

I switched back to my other OS, Windows 8.1,.........

(PS: I would appreciate advice on this forum post so they can be more useful in the future.)
My solution to avoid all these problems?
I buy a regular 1.8 GHz 4GB RAM laptop at a pawn shop for $150.00
remove the HDD
Put in an SSD
Install Linux
No dual booting.
I have 4 laptops that run only Linux - occasionally I do run a program in wine though.
My Windows laptop is in the case in the closet.
I don't even need it.
If I run into a problem?
I just re-install
all my written data is save on seven external HDDs. LOL - Seven.
 
Old 01-14-2019, 10:20 PM   #10
wpeckham
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Numbnuts View Post
My solution to avoid all these problems?
I buy a regular 1.8 GHz 4GB RAM laptop at a pawn shop for $150.00
remove the HDD
Put in an SSD
Install Linux
No dual booting.
I have 4 laptops that run only Linux - occasionally I do run a program in wine though.
My Windows laptop is in the case in the closet.
I don't even need it.
If I run into a problem?
I just re-install
all my written data is save on seven external HDDs. LOL - Seven.
I do something very similar, but also clone certain critical data to google drive and dropbox.
Reload does not even have to be the same distribution, add my accounts and software for cloning google drive and dropbox, and I am back in business.
Man, I do love Linux! We have the BEST toys!
 
Old 01-14-2019, 11:04 PM   #11
Eman Resu
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I ended up just re-installing, but I want to thank everyone for the help!
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 01-14-2019, 11:47 PM   #12
Ztcoracat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eman Resu View Post
I ended up just re-installing, but I want to thank everyone for the help!
You're Welcome:-
 
Old 01-15-2019, 12:03 AM   #13
hydrurga
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eman Resu View Post
I ended up just re-installing, but I want to thank everyone for the help!
In the future, I recommend that you run TimeShift in order to make regular system snapshots of your system (https://linuxmint-installation-guide...timeshift.html). That way, you should be able to roll back your system if issues like this occur.
 
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