View Full Version : Pooched My Login Screen - can't get in now

Post Modern
13th August 2007, 07:45 AM
Hi boys and girls - I'm the new kid on the block....

Some of you might know me from BBR or LinuxQuestions.... :p

I've got a K6 Mobo w/AMD 1800 CPU, and a half a gig of RAM - running Fedora Core

I usually can figure stuff out (been a Nix Nut since Red Hat 2 point something, but I don't code)....

BUT - I really did it this time....

I went into my /home/usr/share/ files to drop in a new folder w/new pictures for my desktop (in Root), and changed permissions to get it to eat the folder

Being the person I am, when I finished, I removed the permissions I had changed, and also took out permissions for "other" to use the file (got a kid... etc.)

That did it -

Rebooted, to make sure the changes took place (ya - I know - it wasn't necessary - but I did it anyway)

When the system re-booted it got as far as bringing up the log-in screen, and stopped -

I got a message telling me that it can't access the /usr/share file to access the next screen....

And, as I haven't logged in, it just hangs....

If someone with a brain (no offense, just that mines shriveling up like a prune) can tell me how to address the problem, I'd be eternally greatful:

I can't get in with the Emergency disk
I can't get to the start-up screen
I don't know how to talk to it in a command line

Can I tell the system to un-do the mistake ??

Can I back-door into the system, and log-in ?

Can I tar a file and save the (six months worth of) work on my system to a CD ??

Do I REALLY have to do a re-install ??

Where are Larry Moe and Curly when you need them ???

Can anyone help me out here ??

--- P L E A S E ?? ---

pleasepleasepleaseplease ??

I'll wash your car -
I'll wash your CAT -
I'll wash your Mother-in-Law -

I'll even go over to your neighbors and tell them to turn the music down....


I'm at a loss here - and I don't want to lose a half a years work...

(quote from: The Fly w/Vincent Price - c.1958)


13th August 2007, 09:22 AM
AAA ... form what I understand you just need to set some permissions back and optionally save some work.

Switch to a TTY: CTRL+ALT+F1 (or any other F key from 1 to 4), log in and you are in the system.
Change the permissions and it should work.

Is it possible that I understood wrong your problem :D ?

13th August 2007, 01:40 PM
Do as the previous user said (hit ctrl+alt+F1 to get to a terminal), and login in (as root). Then use the command chown to change the ownership of your home directory to your user:

chown -R username /home/username
chown is change owner, -R is recursive so you own all files and folders in the directory and username would obviously be your username.

From there you may need to use chmod to change the permissions as well. This would look like:

chmod -R 644 /home/username
chmod changes the permissions, -R again is recursive, 644 means that your user (the first digit), can read and write (4(read)+2(write)=6). The next 4 means that others in your group can read (4) and the final 4 is all other users can read (4). And again, username is your username.

Note: do not do this second command unless you have to, as any executable files in your home directory would need to be changed back to executable status via this command:
chmod +x /home/username/pathto/file
The +x means you are adding executable priveleges to the file. If you wanted to make it so only your user could execute the file, substituting 744 (4(read)+2(write)+1(execute)=7) for +x would work as well.

Post Modern
15th August 2007, 06:06 AM
ionutv and igknighted:

Couple of great ideas there, but I must be doing something wrong, or else I pooched the system trying....

Went in on tty, ran the commands, got:

Xauth: creating new authority file /home/username/Xauthority
Xlib: connection to ":0.0 refused by server
Invalid MIT-MAGIC-COOKIE - 1 key
Xinit; No such process (errno 3): Server error
Xlib: No such connection to: 0:0 refused by server

Fatal Server Error:
Server is already active for display 0
If this server is no longer running remove /tmp/.X0 - lock and start again

So, I figured it was giving me a root log-in from the live Knoppix I had been running on while I was starting to try and fix this mess

Yup - logged in w/the Knoppix root word, and I got in

Went back in, and I changed the system back to start-up on the HD,

That got me back in on my own system HD....

So - I executed the chown and chmod commands, and everything seemed OK

Logged out, and re-logged back in, sans the Knoppix live CD, and it did the same thing

Locked up at the log-in page

SO - I went back into a tty, logged in w/Knoppix, and tried to CD to the root on my HD -

The system told me there was no such file or folder....

Am I REALLY that Ignorant ??

Did I really lose my /home/ folder ?

Should I just stop all the heartburn, and re-install Fedora (and give up 6 months work ?) ?


16th August 2007, 03:49 PM
Hi Post Modern,

Try this. Don't use the emergency disk, use your installation disks. Reboot the machine and hit the F2 key to enter into BIOS/CMOS. Check the boot presedence to make sure that it will boot off CD before anything else. Put in your #1 install CD (note not emergency disk), and let it come up to boot off that. At the boot prompt, you should get about 5 seconds to type something in. Type "linux rescue" and hit return. The machine should boot off the CD into rescue mode. You can pretty much just hit return to go throgh all the prompts. It should mount the old hard disk to /sys or something like that. Once it's booted up, login (no root password) and type "df -k". It should show you your disk mounts. At that point you can "cd" to them and start to look around to find what's wrong.

When your done, remove the CD from the disk tray and reboot the system and see if you can login.

Hope that helps,