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Old 09-23-2004, 07:38 PM   #1
Registered: Sep 2004
Distribution: Debian Sarge RC1 Kernel
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Question How to Start in Command Line (No GUI)

I have a problem in that I tried to install the drivers for my touchpad and I editted the XF86Config-4 file in such a way that when I start up Linux it tries to load the GUI, but all that comes up is a black screen for about 1 minute and then it just reboots. I can see the Command Line asking me to login a couple of seconds before the GUI loads, but not long enough to do anything.

I know what to do to fix this problem if I can just get access to that XF86Config-4 file to change it back to what it was previously. I want to use the Command Line as my sort of 'Safe Mode' to do that from. I'm figuring there must be some button I could hold down to boot up to the Command Line and not load anything else.

Is there such a shortcut key, or some other way to get into a function like that?

Thanks a lot,
Old 09-23-2004, 08:14 PM   #2
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boot into single user mode (by adding a " 1" [_space_ 1] to the end of the kernel parameter... you can do this by hitting 'E' when you see the grub boot splash....

this will give you root command line access to edit the config file.
Old 09-23-2004, 08:24 PM   #3
Registered: Sep 2004
Distribution: Debian Sarge RC1 Kernel
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While i was installing Sarge, Grub suffered a fatal error. So I just left it along and install Lilo (which I quite like) Will this trick work with Lilo as well?

Old 09-23-2004, 08:27 PM   #4
Registered: Sep 2004
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well you can forcably exit x with ctrl-alt-backspace, that should drop you into a shell. or just switch to a seperate tty
Old 09-23-2004, 08:37 PM   #5
Registered: Jul 2004
Location: USA
Distribution: Fedora 9, LFS 6.3, Unbuntu 8.04, Slax 6.0.7
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If you have a linux boot disk handy the easiest way i have found to force Linux to boot text only is to edit the inittab file.

It is located at /etc/inittab

in the file there is a line that should look like:

what you do is comment out this line like so
and chang the line to

This will force linux to start up with the text login and not the GUI login.

Hope this helps.
Old 09-23-2004, 08:40 PM   #6
Registered: Sep 2004
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Unfortunately I'm on a laptop with no Floppy Drive so I have no floppies. : ( I tried a couple of USB drives with my laptop but they just didn't seem to work for some reason.

Is there any way to do this without a floppy?

Old 09-23-2004, 09:37 PM   #7
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Will this trick work with Lilo as well?
Pretty close. When you are in LILO, type the word single after the kernel name entry at the prompt at the bottom of the screen. That should put you into single mode and you can edit files to your heart's content.
Old 09-23-2004, 09:39 PM   #8
Registered: Sep 2004
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Great, thanks I'll be sure to try that on my next reboot : )

Worked like a charm, thank you : )

Last edited by pjpeter; 09-24-2004 at 12:43 AM.


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