Fix Unity Freezes After Login In Ubuntu 14.04 [Quick Tip]

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If you upgraded Ubuntu 13.10 to Ubuntu 14.04, you might end up with Unity freezing at login time. You boot in to Ubuntu 14.04, enter your credential and the system just hangs up, freezes. If you are lucky, you might see mouse cursor, background wallpaper but nothing else. No Unity launcher, no top panel etc. Basically you will have Ubuntu in an unusable state.

This problem of missing Unity launcher, panel and system freeze can be solved by re-installing Unity. Let’s see how to do that:

Reinstall Unity in Ubuntu 14.04 to fix system freeze issue

Well, since you are stuck with a frozen system, use Ctrl+Alt+F2 key. This will take you to command line interface (instead of the default graphical user interface). You will be asked to enter your credentials. After you enter your username and password, use the following commands one by one to reinstall Unity desktop.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install --reinstall ubuntu-desktop
sudo apt-get install unity
sudo shutdown -r now

The last command will reboot your system. After the reboot, you should have Unity working as normal.

Fixing Unity freeze issue with Nvidia graphics:

I don’t have experience with Nvidia graphics but I found some people mentioning additional steps for system with Nvidia graphics card. While the above trick worked for my system, I cannot verify the one below. People with Nvidia graphics, please confirm that the steps below work for your system:

Press Ctrl+Alt+F2 to use command line. And after entering username and password, use the following commands one by one:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install --reinstall ubuntu-desktop
sudo apt-get install unity
sudo apt-get remove --purge nvidia*
sudo shutdown -r now

Once you have Unity back to normal at next reboot, just reinstall the Nvidia drivers (you had just removed them).

I hope these quick tips help you to recover your Ubuntu 14.04 from a frozen Unity to a working Unity. Any questions or suggestions are always welcomed.

  • Sharkey

    Thanks. :-)

    • Abhishek Prakash


  • damien duncan

    Incorrect command reinstalling ubuntu-desktop. If you got an error It should be “sudo apt-get –reinstall install ubuntu-desktop” .

    • Abhishek Prakash

      Thanks for pointing it out. Editor automatically changed — into a big -. Post updated.

      • Andrei

        I don’t see the post updated. I ran the useless commands in the article and had to see the comment above to get a handle on the issue.

        • Abhishek Prakash

          On Google Chrome, I see the correct commands.

  • Andranik


    I have an Asus notebook with Intel HD 4000 graphics and I have this problem. the suggested above solutions didn’t helped me.

    Then I executed the following command DISPLAY=:0 unity –replace and my Unity icons came in place, but I have nothing in the top panel, where time and e.g. skype icon are located. Also I have to run the mentioned command every time I turn on the computer.

    Are there any other suggestions?

  • Che Carlitos

    I’ve Intel HD3000 in my notebook and this solution not work. Unity is in the last version.

  • Larsen Scott

    Tried your solution; the system hangs on sudo apt-get update. Rebooted, tried again = same problem. It gets to 62% and just sits there.

    • Abhishek Prakash

      This is a unique issue… I hope there were not too many third party software

  • Bert Schenke

    Thanks, this helps me. (Laptop Thinpad T410)
    Only the “–purge nvidia*” don’t work, list with “dpkg -l nvidia*” and remove the resulting list of packages.

    • Abhishek Prakash

      thanks for pointing it out… hope it helps others

  • Labastos

    Worked for my Dell Latitude with nvidia graphics. Thanks !

    • Abhishek Prakash


  • Dan

    New to Ubuntu, tried to install Ubuntu 14.04 32 bit four times and it would freeze up at Who are You? Input personal info and the DVD would freeze up and not let complete the installation.
    Need your help!

    • Abhishek Prakash

      The downloaded ISO might be corrupted. Try to download a new one and run a checksum to make sure that it is fine.

  • Julie

    Thank you so much ! Your first tip helped me a great deal (my graphic card not being a Nvidia), and now my laptop works.

    • Abhishek Prakash

      Welcome Julie.

  • Nataly®

    Thank you for this great help, i was stuck with my computer at work :0)
    I had to do the procedure with the nvidia purge (haven’t install it back yet, don’t know how…).
    You saved me from a full re-install ;0)

    • Abhishek Prakash

      Welcome Nataly

  • Tomas

    If this did not solve the problem, what other ways can I try to do it? (I have already tried Damien Duncan’s correction, and it did not make any difference)

  • Phred_P

    I’m having a similar though perhaps not identical problem. I have a laptop that was running ubuntu 12.04. I recently upgraded it to 14.04 and now it freezes right after entering the password on the login screen – the password entry box goes away and all I can see on the screen is the background image. I’ve waited as much as twenty minutes and the system never gets any farther.

    Booting to a recovery console and resetting Unity doesn’t seem to help. I don’t know whether there might be something trying to load at
    startup and failing, or some part of ubuntu-desktop that is
    misconfigured, but reinstalling it didn’t seem to make any difference.

    Interesting thing is that there is a second user account on the system, and if I log in using that account, the system loads fine and is perfectly usable. So somehow, I think the startup configuration got borked in my primary user account. I’m not a Linux guru and I’m not sure where to look to fix these settings manually. Any suggestions?

    • Abhishek Prakash

      I think I have faced similar situation. I tried to reinstall Unity (like what is mentioned here in the post), it did not work either. I think I installed Gnome and when I was able to login successfully, I reinstalled Unity. Don’t remember the exact steps. You can try something similar.

  • maracheck pchini

    I can’t sign in to the command line

    • Abhishek Prakash

      You don’t see the command line or you are denied access?

  • Clarence Binninger

    I followed the original instructions posted above to deal with missing Unity bars after yesterday’s Nvidia updates for Ubuntu 14.10 (64)on Dell D630. It worked including using the Nouveau driver as default. Thanks for the fix.

    • Abhishek Prakash

      Welcome Clarence

  • jstjini

    Thanks a bunch. Upddate to 14.04 five days ago and today got the unusable state. Your instructions worked like a charm.

    • Abhishek Prakash


  • R

    Thanks for the help in getting 14.04 up and running for me!

    My system was a clean install and I tried all the possible combinations between downloading updates, not downloading updates, installing third party software/drivers and not installing third party software/drivers – all installs ended up with the same freezing after login problem.

    Two points that may help others:
    – Press Ctrl+Alt+F2 before attempting to login.
    – Re-installing desktop and unity did not help me initially, my system was freezing without having any nvidia divers installed. I had to install nvidia-common to finally get the system working properly.

    They really should fix the installation process – not a great introduction for Ubuntu for newbies wanting to try the system out – I almost gave up and was about to go back to 12.04

    • Abhishek Prakash

      Thanks for sharing it.

    • Saraki

      What exactly do you mean before attempting to login? I tried to access terminal but I cannot. I tried from grub before selecting “ubuntu” with no success. And then after selecting ubuntu in the white screen again with no success…

      • Abhishek Prakash

        When you are at login screen where you enter password, press Ctrl+Alt+F2 to go in to terminal interface

    • b rad m

      Tried this. Still nothing! Can you spell out all the steps as your posts seem the closest to what is happening on my computer….

      still better then MS! :/

  • Un_Qualified

    THANX ALOT !!! Fixed my problem with ubuntu not responding after loggin…..

    • Abhishek Prakash


  • Phil

    The “Fixing Unity freeze issue with Nvidia graphics”-solution worked for me. Thank you so much!

    • Abhishek Prakash

      Welcome Phil

  • SimplySnowboard

    Thanks man! I was frustrated! very clear instructions.

    • Abhishek Prakash


  • Chris

    How would I handle this problem if I am running a fresh install of UbuntuGNOME 14.04?

    • Abhishek Prakash

      I am not sure about Ubuntu Gnome mix… but either of reinstalling ubuntu-desktop or gnome-shell should work:
      sudo apt-get install –reinstall gnome-shell

      But I cannot guarantee it, unfortunately.


    Thank you!

    • Abhishek Prakash


  • b rad m

    All this helped get me past the log in page, but I now boot to a blank desk top. What am I missing?? Seems like this should have been fixed by now!!! LTS my butt!

  • Robin Hahn

    My GTX580-based system has been a drama from the get-go. It’s about the only system that actually runs Windows better than Linux. Pretty much any distro install attempts usually end up with a graphics freeze (nothing responds: no mouse, no keybstrokes), except Ubuntu. However, it too decided after the last update to freeze on login. What I am able to login to is the Cinnamon fall-over software-rendering desktop, which leads me to believe it is a graphics-card (potential driver?) issue. I downloaded and tried to install the latest graphics driver [ ] but during the install it said it couldn’t find the kernel files for or something like that (from memory). When I rebooted, there seems to be a difference in the graphics, however: they’re higher resolution.

    Anyway, I did try the suggestions above, followed by first trying to re-install nvidia drivers with:

    sudo apt-get install nvidia-current

    but no joy at login.

    Then, I downloaded that above .run file from the NVidia website, copied it to a memory stick and manually mounted it and copied it to my /home/myname folder, from whence I tried to do the install. I thought that perhaps I should have run this from the root folder because the installer was complaining about not finding those kernel files mentioned above. However, running the installer from the root directory as root ultimately generated the same errors:

    Error: Failed to run `/usr/sbin/dkms build -m nvidia -v 340.32 -k
    3.11.0-14-generic`: Error! Your kernel headers for kernel
    3.11.0-14-generic cannot be found.
    Please install the linux-headers-3.11.0-14-generic package,

    or use the –kernelsourcedir option to tell DKMS where it’s located

    Error: failed to install the kernel module through DKMS. No kernel module was installed: please try installing again without DKMS, or check the DKMS logs for more information.

    I cp’ed the /var/log/nvidia-installer.log to the usb stick but now I can’t read it from any PC at all. This gets better and better.

  • Alichin

    Thanks!!!! This suggestion worked, and saved me from reinstalling ubuntu. Thanks again!

    • Abhishek Prakash


  • Venkit

    Thanks mate… it was the problem with the nvidia drivers as usual.
    Fixing Unity freeze issue with Nvidia graphics worked for me. Now am able to login. will try reinstalling drivers now or else i’ll run system as it is for now.

    • Abhishek Prakash

      Welcome Venkit

  • Stephen Skelhorn

    Cheers! Hopefully that sorted it. here’s me extolling the virtues of Linux v Windows and then I hit problems!

    • Abhishek Prakash

      You are welcome Stephen

  • DrdlokdSp4rtn

    Im running and acer aspire with a nvidia 304.. the second option did fixe the problem.. it brings me back to my original issue where ubuntu crashes every now and then and says “idle failed playlits somthing somthing” iv been told I need to select a proprietary driver but I have more then one.. any sugestions?
    I am new to linux but although this problem is very frustrating its not going to diter me from using ubtunu.. please email me at [email protected] if you have any advice for a ubuntu noobe

  • Robert Upton

    Thankyou Abishek for your post. My problem is that the Ubuntu GUI screen freezes only showing the Ubuntu logo before the login screen appears. I have installed 14.04 from 12.04. Do you have any suggestions? Many Thanks

    • Abhishek Prakash

      Robert, are you able to log in to command line interface? If yes, you may try to reinstall the Unity (though I think that won’t solve the issue). But no harm in trying it.

      By the way, the problem started just after the upgrade to Ubuntu 14.04?

      • Robert Upton

        Hi Abishek. I tried to re-install Unity using your instructions on the command line interface. Ubuntu informed me Unity was up to date. The problem did start just after the 14.04 upgrade. It started as part of the Ubuntu restart process for the upgrade.

        • Abhishek Prakash

          Can you try to install Gnome shell from command line and see if that could work? (i have tried this some times back).

  • mdev

    I couldnt get terminal with Ctrl + Alt + F2. Later i found that my default F2 functionality is with speaker. So pressing Ctrl+Fn+Alt+F2 did the magic and i got my terminal.

  • Artok

    Thank you so much. Second tip for NVidia graphic helps :)

    • Abhishek Prakash

      Welcome Artok.

  • Howard

    Neither of these options worked for me (Compaq CQ60-211DX Notebook). I had the same problem earlier; it works for a while, then fails. I’ll try Lubuntu next — it doesn’t have the Unity desktop.

  • nifker

    Doesnt work :/
    I log in and i could mark something but it but no programs nothing only the bachground and my mouse

  • Brian B

    I’m running Ubuntu Desktop in a VirtualBox VM on my Dell laptop (Windows 7) … and had this problem after the recent round of OS patching. I was able to get up and running after doing the “–purge nvidia version*” of this procedure.


  • Jose Napoli

    Possible fix:

    ctrl + alt + f1

    login with the user problem

    Then run:

    sudo apt-get install gnome-panel

    sudo mv ~/.Xauthority ~/.Xauthority.backup

    Then reboot and select gnome to session start

    • Abhishek Prakash

      thanks for sharing the tip

    • Johnny Demonicus

      This worked!!! Thanks, Jose!!!

  • Veit

    Thank you very much! I almost spent 1,5 days to get ubuntu start panel running again. After looking in several forums and faqs, trying different solutions like re-configuring compiz, re-configuring apps/panel with gconfdtool, restart Xserver, moving ~./config folder… at the end it was the command to remove the nvidia driver.

    Have Ubuntu runnning on laptop with nvidia graphic card in a VirtualBox. Thank you very much, once again :-)

  • jbfvvvifv


    Thanx for the solution! But it didn’t work out for me. But I found a working solution for me :) You just have to enter two codes and restart :) Everything works okay for me now

    • Abhishek Prakash

      Thanks for sharing the solution.

  • Mathias

    Thanks, you saved my evening. Best regards

    • Abhishek Prakash

      Welcome Mathias.

  • Joe in NJ

    Worked perfect. Thank you do much for posting!

    • Abhishek Prakash

      Welcome Joe.

  • Raad

    i’m running ubuntu 14.04 on a dell inspiron N5521. The freeze problem occurs only an attempt to wake up from suspend. so if i shut down and switch on my laptop, no problem. but if i suspend and try to wake it up, the cursor will only work for 1 or 2 seconds, that’s it. nothing will work from then, not even the keyboard. i have to force it power off by pressing the power button and i lose my work :/

    i wanted to know if this fix will work for such an issue. if not, is there any fix?
    i looked it up online and mostly found that it’s a bug related to the kernel… but i haven’t found any real fix…

    • Abhishek Prakash

      That’s a different issue actually. I’ll try to find a fix for this.

      • Raad

        Thank u :)

  • jpme88
    • Abhishek Prakash

      Thanks for the PPA link.