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9a3eedi 10-01-2006 07:31 AM

SuSe 10.1 doesn't start X and gives an error on boot time
While I was leaving, I left my sister on SuSE to work on something (she hates linux, sadly..), and when I came back, I get an unresponsive black screen. I restarted the computer, chose to boot linux on the GRUB menu bootloader on verbose mode, and I get a whole load of errors, which I can't seem to read since it was going too fast. Then I get a blue screen telling me that X windows doesn't start because of an error.. then I get into text mode, prompting me to login, and repetitively giving me the same error. And I tried logging in several times, but I can't seem to do that.

Now I am stuck on windows, and I hate it.

I would like to fix this, but I only have a couple of months of experience with linux and I don't know much. I think that in order to know the full solution to the problem I need to somehow dump all of the error messages into a text file which I could read in windows (I have an ext3 mounting utility in windows, so it's all good).

Can anybody help me out?

My linux distrobution is SuSe 10.1, on an Intel Pentium D, and I suppose it's an x86_64

budword 10-01-2006 07:45 AM

Good place to start....
Try the dmesg command. First log in text mode only via cnt+alt+F2 , enter your user name and password, but don't start X. Then type "dmesg | less" or "dmesg > error.txt" and save error.txt somewhere you can get at it with another OS. More on dmesg is here at

That might give you an idea about what went wrong.

You might want to use knoppix to read error.txt, and it's handy to have around anyway.

You might want to use suse's x config tool. I googled for it, as I use kubuntu myself, just type "sax2" on the command line, that should launch suse's x config tool. Not sure if you need root for that or not.

And if all else fails, install kubuntu :) (That's a joke folks, so don't flame me.)

Best of luck...


9a3eedi 10-01-2006 12:13 PM

I have attempted into doing this

I tried logging in, both as root and my own user

however, I get a strange error:


Error in service module

Is there any way where I can trigger grub to let Linux automatically log all the error messages into a text file, before logging in?

mrkirkland 10-01-2006 01:47 PM

Resuce disk
Try using the resuce disk, if you installed of CD then use the first CD - somewhere it gives the option for 'rescue disk'. Otherwise I think the net install disk is a small download with the resuce system:

Once logged in with the rescue system, mount your linux partition:

mount /mnt /dev/hda3

where /mnt is a mount point (/mnt should work) and hda3 is the correct device for the root linux file system. If you don't know which it is do

cat /proc/partitions

and it'll be one of those (probably the one with the largest number)

once you've done this, you'll find the boot messages in these files

/mnt/var/log/boot.msg and

Also Googling on "Error in service module" seems to indicate a configuration error in PAM (password authentication module) /etc/pam.d/login, or /etc/pam.conf . Your sister shouldn't have been able to mess this up if she didn't have root access.

9a3eedi 10-02-2006 02:04 PM

I tried doing exactly as you said.

boot.msg turned out to be a directory to me, which is empty (no files)
boot.omsg however is a text file. I didn't see any error in it.

There was a file named boot.log, which was empty as well.

Now what? ._.

OT: Is there anything wrong with Kubuntu? I was actually interested in the distribution, since I felt that SuSE wasn't my type, and something Ubuntu-ish would be more of my type...

fozner 10-02-2006 03:14 PM

Seems like she, uh, deleted some critical files or moved them about... That's the best I can do with the lack of information you've given.

Well I'm not sure about other distros, but in Fedora you can insert the install disk and just install again over the top of what's there. Of course this will roll back all the packages to an early time unless you've got one of the newer test CDs...

The other option is to go in and back up any documents you might want to keep, using knoppix or slax, and k3b... Then do a complete install, format and all. This is actually better because I think you could have a corrupt or failing hard drive, and this would point that out, if that was the case...

mrkirkland 10-02-2006 06:10 PM

Can you check the contents of the pam files?
in particular:


auth    required
auth    include        common-auth
auth    required
account  include        common-account
password include        common-password
session  include        common-session
session  required nowtmp
session  required
session  optional standard

If they are the same as mine (default install) then I don't know anything of the top of my head to suggest.

With regards to re-installing, with Suse you can also redo the install process and it'll notice an existing installation, you just select Update installation.

I've not used ubuntu myself, but it's debian based which is a good thing in my opinion.

budword 10-02-2006 06:39 PM

It's all a matter of opinion, but I've used debian, mandriva, fedora, and tried gentoo, but Kubuntu has given me the fewest problems. Everything really does just work. The steps to take to use restricted formats are clearly spelled out, no kung-fu needed. Lots of friendly people to help you out. What really got me to switch was I was able to install java and eclypse with zero problems. Mandriva had been my favorite until then, even fedora had given me a few problems. Kubuntu just handled it. It might not be much fun on an older machine, you need the horses to run it well, but I think it'll be a while before I switch to anything else. If you like to futz with your distro, gentoo or debian are great, if you would rather get stuff done, then kubuntu can't be beat, imo.

As for your suse problems, it sounds like you let your sister mess around as root. Don't do that. Don't do it yourself either. :)

Best of luck....


P.S. If you would rather stay with suse it sounds the previous posters suggestion of just upgrading is your best bet to get things fixed. If you reinstall rather than upgrade, be sure to back up your data, or hopefully you have your /home on a different partition. With /home on a different partition, you won't lose your data if you are forced to reintall. Good luck

9a3eedi 10-03-2006 07:18 AM

Funny.. I didn't give my sister root access.. I just gave her my user account which is just your ordinary user account.

Thank you everyone for your help. I knew this would happen: either reinstall/update or format and install.

I can access my home partition, thank God. I guesss I'll go and backup my data now.

The only thing I should consider is whether I should switch to Kubuntu or stick to SuSE. But If I switch to Kubuntu, then I'll definately miss my SuSE days .__.


With regards to re-installing, with Suse you can also redo the install process and it'll notice an existing installation, you just select Update installation.
That's nice. Does it affect my other packages that I already installed? (e.g. mplayer and other stuff). What I mean is that will I get a completely new Linux after I Update install, or will all my custom programs be there?

budword 10-03-2006 07:44 AM

I don't know about suse, but when I've had to do the same thing with mandriva I've had to reinstall all my custom stuff, for dvd play back....etc....I've never had to do the same with kubuntu, and I honestly have no idea with suse, but I suspect you will have to reinstall those goodies. Maybe someone who uses suse everyday here will know ?

If you didn't give your sister access to your root account, and you are sure about that, then something else is going on. You said you have a tool to read linux filesystems from within windows. It's possible that this program might be what is screwing up your linux install. I used to use partition magic 7, and used it on my linux partitions, which it was supposed to be able to do, but it ended up screwing things up, and I reinstalled several times before I figured it out. I'd be careful using that tool from within windows on linux partitions. I haven't had good luck with them.

Have you thought about using vmware-server ? You can run a version of windows from within linux, and simply take a snapshot and roll it back to a perfect state anytime things get screwed up. Kubuntu made it very easy to install, for me at least. I had tried it on fedora and mandriva, and had trouble, but it just worked for me with kubuntu. Sorry to sound like a rabid fan boy, but I was excited to have everything work just like it was supposed to. I also liked that I only had to download 1 iso, just shy of 700mb. Not 3 cd's or a whole dvd iso. If you do use kubuntu and your /home is on a different partition, you can still browes your old suse data on /home/old_suse_user_name from /home_new_kubuntu_user_name. Anyway, that's enough sales for today, I think. Best of luck with which ever way you go. I would google that potential problem with your tool you use to check out linux partitions from within windows and see if anyone else has been having that sort of trouble. I'd download knoppix or damn small linux for that task I think. Best of luck

p.s. One last thing you might want to try. If you have a copy of knoppix laying around you might be able to use it to add a new user to your suse install. I have directions here in a book if you want them. Maybe as a new user you would be able to log in and fix your other problems. Best of luck Let me know if you want/need to try that.


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