let me give an intro to the mess I made, I wanted to uninstall the older version of Wine using synaptic manager and when I marked for removal there was an option for complete removal. I didn’t think about it and clicked okay and didn’t check back. So long story short, the elementary desktop, and a few other key packages were removed and now I can’t log back in as it says “unable to login” Starting the session has failed

I downloaded the 5.1 ISO thought I can do the upgrade but there’s no option for that either.

edit: I installed and reinstalled the elementary-desktop from the terminal and I’m still getting the same error, I carried out an apt-update as well

  • how do you isntall it using terminal - via tty console screen or using advanced options for elementary os > Root shell ?
    – Bo rislav
    Commented Jan 7, 2020 at 21:40
  • In My case it is opening with a Debian 8 wallpaper.. dont know.. why.. i did sudo apt install lightdm pantheon-greeter. Then run sudo dpkg --configure -a , then reboot but still the same problem exists.. all this happened when i tried to install real VNC server..
    – TAZER
    Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 6:54
  • I had the same problem after I just run OS updates. I executed chown, but it didn't work. I still have a black screen. Any other suggestion? Commented Aug 13, 2020 at 1:21

2 Answers 2


what I suggest you is to install via terminal lightdm and pantheon-greeter also. sudo apt install lightdm pantheon-greeter. Then run sudo dpkg --configure -a.


Unable to login after 5.1 update

Unable to login after 5.1 update

terminal : ctrl+alt+F1 login sudo -i cd /home/username chown username:username .Xauthority

because it is owned by root after the upgrade ctr+alt+F7 login

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