This page contains links to the best fixes for the most common Ubuntu problems.

If you think problem's link could be improved or could have a better link, please propose the change in this Ubuntu Forums thread for further discussion.

Warning! Please note down any errors and warnings you encounter as many issues are actually similar but not identical. Thus, a solution applied might not have any effect or might even worsen the problem.

Useful tools for recording errors and warning messages include a text editor, the Print Screen command, etc.

Log Files

Below are a few locations where you can find logs which might aid you in reproducing or pinpointing the errors:


Some of these logs in /var/log can be accessed via System ======>Administration ====> System logs


Any file with a "." in front of it is a hidden file. To view all hidden files, press Ctrl + H. If you wish to view all hidden files permanently and are using Nautilus, go to Edit =====> Preferences ====> View. Under "Default View", check the box "Show hidden and backup files".

You can use Text Editor to view the .xsession-errors.


This is a hidden file and again, you can use Text Editor view .bash_history. .bash_history can be very useful for pinpointing commands responsible for certain error messages.

If you do not want to open .bash_history, you can launch the terminal and then in the terminal, press Ctrl+R. Then, use your arrow keys to cycle through the commands.

Initial Setup

  • Problem: I can't get the installer on the Ubuntu Livecd to run.

    Solution: This is one of many possible solutions. If you have a laptop, the ACPI might be causing the installer to not run. At the initial boot screen(where one can see options like "Install to the hard disk, Check cd for defects, etc.") press F6 and type the following code into the command prompt and press Enter. The installer should be able to run now.

 linux acpi=off






Software Issues

  • Question: Ubuntu keeps crashing on me and complains about cupsd errors.

    Solution: Go to System ====> Administration ====> Services. From the Services window, disable Cupsd and Bluetooth printing services. This will stop the Cupsd server from being initiated when Ubuntu starts.

Desktop Environments

  • Question: I was installing certain updates or softwares when Gnome or Xserver crashed. Now, when an application or window is open, it doesn't have an icon on the taskbar or the close, maximise and minimise buttons in all my application and windows are gone, or have changed position on the menu bar!

    Solution: This is one of many possible solutions. Try pasting the following command into the terminal

    sudo dpkg --configure -a

    There is a possibility that Gnome might have crashed while updating gnome-panel. After the updates or softwares have finished installing, restart X by logging out and back in, or typing sudo /etc/init.d/gdm restart or simply restart the computer. Gnome should be functioning properly now.

  • Applications disappear when I minimize windows

  • Problem: I get the your session lasted less than 10 seconds error when I try to log into Gnome.

    Possible solution #1: This can happen if you're out of disk space. Press Control-Alt-F1 to get to a command prompt. Log in. Then type

    sudo apt-get clean
    rm /tmp/*
    Then, press Control-Alt-F7 and try logging into Gnome again.

    Possible solution #2: This can also happen if you've somehow changed ownership of the ~/.ICEauthority file. So you can change it back by pressing Control-Alt-F1, logging in, and typing

    sudo chown username:username ~/.ICEauthority

    where username is your username. Then press Control-Alt-F7 and try logging into Gnome again.

  • Problem: I use Xubuntu and my top and/or bottom pannel disappeared or are "messed up".

    Solution: If you use Xubuntu and Xfce, this will happen sooner or later, it seems. Try the procedures at Xubuntu - Xfce Panels. This works in most cases.


Web browser



Troubleshooting apt-get or aptitude or Synaptic package manager errors

Software Management

  • Problem: I get this error message:

    E: Could not get lock /var/lib/apt/lists/lock - open (11 Resource temporarily unavailable)

    Solution: If you have Synaptic Package Manager, Adept Package Manager, Update Manager, or Add/Remove open, close it. Otherwise, issue this command

    sudo killall dpkg

    More details here

  • When I use apt-get, I get a 403 forbidden error message

User Permissions

File Issues

  • Can I recover deleted files on an Ext3 drive?

  • Problem: Help! I get I/O and CRC errors when I'm copying or moving certain files/folders.

    Solution: This depends on where you are trying to copy the file or folder from. If the source is a dvd or cd-rom, then the disc might be damaged.

    If the source is another partition on your computer, then it could be a hard disk issue like bad sectors. To check for hard disk problems, download smartmontools by running sudo apt-get install smartmontools. To run smartmontools, use

    sudo smartctl -d ata -a /dev/sda

    where sda can be substituted with the device label of your hard disk like hdc, hda, etc. The following article explains more about bad sectors while the site itself contains various articles about hard disk backup, recovery and other issues: Article about bad sectors.

Upgrade Problems

Troubleshooting (last edited 2018-10-10 22:36:42 by 159)