How To Fix ‘The System Running In Low Graphics Mode’ Error (Linux)

“Your System running in low graphics mode.” Yeah, you have been served son! Today was one of those dark days for me. I was feeling tired after a few hours on the computer configuring some stuff – particularly LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and Perl) tools. I did this because I am planning to create some APIs for a project! So, I just let my laptop go to sleep and when I came back it was OFF. What the heck? I asked myself and tried turning it ON to the shock of my eyes. This is what surprised me;

system running in low graphics mode
system running in low graphics mode

Whenever I clicked the OK button to see what was next, the mouse disappeared and even using the tab key didn’t help because the choices given didn’t work at all. You can imagine how many unspeakable words I said here.

Instead of hitting my head on the wall 12 times, I fired up my other laptop and searched on Google for similar instances. I knew I was not alone here – Google the hell out of it. By the way, I needed another computer to do that because I couldn’t get anything done with this one. If you run into this issue, do not panic. Follow these steps:

Before you even do this, you should know that you have a Graphics problem and these guidelines will help you fix that. You can find more information by doing a simple search. That is, if this post does not help you solve your problem. Sometimes, you might have to do a fresh install of your Ubuntu!

In order to arrive at the Terminal from the above screen, Start your computer while  pressing these buttons: CTRL + ALT + F1 and then enter your username and password before moving on.

The System Running In Low Graphics Mode – Solution

Then run this on your terminal when that is done:

Follow that with the following line on your terminal:

Before you restart the machine, run this next line:

When prompted here, select GDM (This by the way is a Graphics Manager)

Finally, reboot this bad boy and you will be on your way to happy dancing;

You can find more information by visiting the Ubuntu forums.

That should do it for you. If you found this post helpful, do not hesitate to share it with others online.

You know, if life gives you a bug, you can either eat it for lunch or let it bite you in the face. I would rather you ate it.

Good luck and have a great week!

See you soon because that is a wrap!

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Written By Elisha Chirchir

Elisha Chirchir is a software developer. He is also the founder of Simple Developer and co-founder of Instinctive Software Solutions. On any given day, he works on both Android and Web Development. During his 'free time', he offers training to those interested in learning how to code in php, java, python, javaScript etc. You can easily find him on StackOverflow Android chatroom or on Twitter @Eenvincible

86 Comments on “How To Fix ‘The System Running In Low Graphics Mode’ Error (Linux)

  1. John Njagarah Reply

    April 9, 2014 at 6:25

    After struggling to fix the graphics problem for nearly 12 hours, at the time I nearly decided to take a rest from it i decided to carefully implement the above steps and the problem was solved straight away.

    • ClearlyAWindowsGuy Reply

      August 14, 2015 at 4:16

      This did not work for me. I still receive the same message ‘The System Is Running In Low Graphics Mode’. I have no experience with Ubuntu. This OS is running our Fog imaging software and has now given us zero production with imaging PCs with Windows 7.

      I have been Googling for the answer for a few days with no real clear solution. It was working fine until the unit had to be rebooted. No we receive this error even after following the instructions from this posting.

    • tony kwok Reply

      December 30, 2015 at 1:31

      I was so frustrated for this problem after installing apache, mysql and php on my Dell Optiplex 9020. Tried instructions on other blogs but none of them worked. This one worked like a charm!

  2. Bijaya Maharjan Reply

    April 21, 2014 at 10:56

    which username and password does it mean?

    • Elisha Chirchir Reply

      April 21, 2014 at 2:24

      Your computer username and password; if you have used the terminal before, your name is always there and looks something like this :username@computerName – so you want the first part and the password that you set when you first set up your computer or the password you use when you use sudo to install stuff. Let me know how it goes.

      • Bijaya Maharjan Reply

        April 22, 2014 at 5:01

        i completed every single step stated above and it went pretty well but screen remained black after all this process.

        • yinan Reply

          November 29, 2015 at 8:18

          The screen is black, and I cannot access to the terminate after I do the steps above, how to fix it? thank you vey much!

  3. Sam Reply

    May 21, 2014 at 11:39

    Gracias! tenia rato buscando y no encontre nada, pero con esto se soluciono, tranks

  4. Koushik Reply

    May 22, 2014 at 6:50

    I have a HP laptop with AMD RADEON graphics card. I’m trying to install ubuntu 13.10 x64 on it. But when I choose ‘try ubuntu’ option at beginning of installation, it says ‘your system is running in low graphics mode’.
    So, I don’t have any option of installation at al. Please suggest what can I do?

    • Elisha Chirchir Reply

      May 22, 2014 at 7:04

      Have you followed the instructions on this tutorial and it did not work still? If not, I would suggest you do that first and then let me know how it goes.

  5. Koushik Reply

    May 23, 2014 at 6:16

    Hello…I can’t even try ubuntu in my laptop. After pressing try ubuntu button, it shows that message. I think your steps are only applicable when it is installed in hard drive, not from live cd. Please say something for the case of live cd

    • Elisha Chirchir Reply

      May 24, 2014 at 12:41

      You should be able to boot your Ubuntu from your cd then go to the terminal; this is however contingent on whether the OS is installed or not – regardless of where. Beyond that, I have not tried that scenario myself so I am not familiar with it.

  6. Bryan Lee Reply

    July 8, 2014 at 7:11

    Thanks, you rock! I started trying the various solutions in an askubuntu thread (try recovery mode, too many files on the computer, etc.) and finally tried these steps and it worked like a charm.

    I’m on an HP Pavilion laptop dv6000 series, Ubuntu 12.04.

  7. Shridhar Reply

    July 15, 2014 at 5:14

    Thanx , It works…!!!!!

  8. Brando Reply

    July 19, 2014 at 12:16

    I thought it’d done it, but after reboot, and putting in user name and password, it comes up with a *username*system product name: $
    prompt.

    so not sure what to do now!
    Sorry, total noob with Ubuntu, I’m trying to fix my husbands puter after it had this graphics issue.

    • Elisha Chirchir Reply

      July 19, 2014 at 6:14

      I am not sure what happened there. What happens when you enter your username and password again? Any errors?

      • Brando Reply

        July 19, 2014 at 10:08

        hi Elisha
        It just keeps going back to the system product name prompt.

        • Elisha Chirchir Reply

          July 23, 2014 at 1:14

          I really wish I could figure it out for you. If all else fails, I would re-install Ubuntu since it is free of charge.

  9. William Reply

    July 22, 2014 at 12:59

    The command didn’t work in my desktop. Does the computer need to be connected to the Internet during the process?

    • Elisha Chirchir Reply

      July 23, 2014 at 1:13

      I believe you need an internet connection so that you can install some packages through the terminal. Try that.

  10. satish Reply

    July 29, 2014 at 5:52

    after completing the steps. my system standing at “UBUNTU” logo not going forward plz help me……

  11. kamal Reply

    August 1, 2014 at 9:22

    not working for me. sudo apt-get update does something and then tries to download archives from internet. Since try ubuntu option goes to “low graphics error mode”, cant connect to internet.
    Also for other commands, it says “package gdm is not available, but is referred to by another package. However the following packages replace it: gnome-control-center-data”.
    Please suggest.

    • Elisha Chirchir Reply

      August 4, 2014 at 12:43

      You cannot update without an internet connection. So, I would check that to make sure you are connected.

  12. Marc Reply

    August 9, 2014 at 4:51

    Thanks for your help.

    I followed all of your instructions, but now when I start the machine it doesn’t go to the desktop it just goes to that screen where you type everything in.

    How do I get it to go to the desktop?

    • Elisha Chirchir Reply

      August 10, 2014 at 6:47

      Which screen is it? The terminal?

      • Mike Reply

        August 19, 2014 at 2:36

        Yes, the terminal. It seems to be working OK, except that it goes straight into the terminal and not to the screen

        • Elisha Chirchir Reply

          August 19, 2014 at 3:58

          I have no idea what could be causing that. I would trying looking around the web to see if anyone has encountered a similar issue.

  13. Mike Reply

    August 19, 2014 at 6:42

    I have tried a few things, for example on running startx I get this
    modprobe: ERROR: could not insert nvidia_173 : Unknown symbol in module, or unknown parameter (see dmesg)
    Fatal server error:
    If I find a solution I will let you know.
    Thanks,
    Mike

  14. nkcoder Reply

    August 20, 2014 at 5:24

    Hi, Elisha, I have the same problem(ubuntu 14.04), but when I press Ctrl+Alt+F1 and login, the terminal cannot connect to the network, so I cannot update or install using apt-get.
    Do you have any idea? Thanks.

    • Elisha Chirchir Reply

      August 20, 2014 at 1:48

      You might have to use a wired connection if you have no other way to connect to a wireless connection. I have no other ideas that could be of help. If you get to fix it, please let me know how you did it.

  15. Mike Reply

    August 20, 2014 at 9:53

    I am back up. I downloaded Ubuntu again, but this time I ran it on the memory stick first and not on the PC and the screen worked OK. Then I installed from the system running on the memory stick and had no problems. Previously I had tried to install it directly onto the PC from the stick.
    Might work for someone else.

  16. mallikarjun Reply

    August 31, 2014 at 8:03

    In mycase ubuntu 12lts i replaced gdb in command s with gnome-control-center

  17. nishant Reply

    September 10, 2014 at 8:17

    i am using proxy network then how to set the settings of ethernet to download the update

  18. Faye Reply

    September 15, 2014 at 2:05

    I tried ctrl+alt+F1, but my terminal is not showing properly, I cannot read the letters on screen. What should I do? Thanks. BTW I am using Ubuntu 14.

  19. Reddish Reply

    October 6, 2014 at 9:33

    Tanks!!! It worked for me (ASUS Zenbook UX32VD)

  20. Caroline Reply

    October 21, 2014 at 12:29

    A huge “Merci” for your help !
    It works like a charm for me… 😉

  21. nguyen kien Reply

    October 23, 2014 at 10:06

    Thank you so much, it worked for me

  22. android Reply

    November 5, 2014 at 6:47

    Thank you. it’s working.

  23. Steve Reply

    November 21, 2014 at 2:30

    I tried the above steps and now upon reboot all I get is blank screen with small blinking curser on top left screen

    • arun Reply

      February 26, 2015 at 6:41

      The same issue for me too.

  24. gbenga Reply

    November 22, 2014 at 2:49

    Thank u very much…. It work

  25. Nidhal Reply

    November 29, 2014 at 4:54

    Hello,
    I have followed these steps but after rebooting the screen remained black for over 30 minutes.
    Does anyone have a solution?

  26. mica Reply

    January 9, 2015 at 2:04

    Thank you. it’s working. 🙂

  27. troy Reply

    February 9, 2015 at 10:59

    Hey Elisha, I followed all the steps and after I entered my password, it says

    “The disk drive for /dev/mapper/ubuntu-swap_1 is not ready yet or not present.

    Continue to wait, or Press S to skip mounting or M for manual recovery”

    My cursor is an X and if I press s or m, nothing happens.

    Thanks for your help.

  28. Nitiflor Reply

    March 3, 2015 at 1:38

    Thank you a lot. Worked perfectly.

  29. Martin Reply

    March 5, 2015 at 7:07

    Dude! You just saved my bottom! I was about to pack and ship Ubuntu box to a client when after last checkup and reboot … BOOM ERROR. I have 30 min to figure out what the hell and fix it.

    Muchos kudos 4 U!

    Thanks!!!

    • Elisha Chirchir Reply

      March 5, 2015 at 7:17

      I am glad I could help you Martin. It is always a great feeling to hear back from great people like you. Now, let us keep this going.

  30. Saurav Reply

    March 9, 2015 at 2:35

    Sir what to do if i am encountering this problem when I can’t access internet. I mean my internet requires to login from portal which i cant do without running browser. Please help if there is any way possible without internet

  31. deanj Reply

    April 22, 2015 at 8:07

    Thank you soo much, chrome stopped working and i rebooted and got this poxy error message.

    i followed everystep as i could but after completing each step i had to type clear, so i was able to see what was going on, it seems 3/4 down the screen it all gets squashed. IM not 100% sure, what i selected on the pop up dialog as i couldnt see haha..

    But anyways it is working, although my login page has changed but i can live with that..

    Would you happen to have a link where i can find: changing the resoultion ayfor the login page and the tty Shell ?

    • Elisha Chirchir Reply

      April 27, 2015 at 7:48

      I would probably Google around for that; I have no clear solution to that.

  32. David Reply

    May 3, 2015 at 6:58

    Wonderful, it worked. Surprisingly, this showed up after messing with MySQL too.

  33. Brendan Reply

    May 29, 2015 at 4:10

    Great working again. had to do the instructions 2 times, 2nd time it worked.

    thanks for the help

  34. Adam Reply

    June 9, 2015 at 5:37

    Worked like a charm. Thanks !

  35. Joseph Myalla Reply

    July 14, 2015 at 12:19

    My laptop ran into Lower graphics mode just after installing team viewer 10 in ubuntu 12.04, I followed these instructions my graphics is back, i can login but the computer seems busy, no icons are shown, can not start a program

  36. Dilakson Siva Reply

    July 17, 2015 at 12:23

    Thanks guys…..

    It’s working fine…

  37. prafull rawal Reply

    August 1, 2015 at 9:13

    thanks its working !!!!

  38. dominik Reply

    August 12, 2015 at 11:33

    Wow dude you really helped me THX 😀

  39. Sam Reply

    August 17, 2015 at 5:19

    Thanks a lot…!!!

  40. SkyDiver Reply

    August 18, 2015 at 2:55

    Bumped into this problem after upgrading from Ubuntu Desktop to GNOME Desktop on 14.04 as described in this LAS cast: http://www.jupiterbroadcasting.com/66657/switching-ubuntu-to-gnome-las-330/ (instructions from this PDF file on the same LAS page: http://jupiter.ninja/owncloud/public.php?service=files&t=a782d24212751716f75f7cf43f60ca1c).
    Your tip was the missing link to enjoying the GNOME Desktop.
    Thank buddy!

  41. Vinay Reply

    September 9, 2015 at 4:24

    Thanks | its working

  42. Khoa Reply

    September 11, 2015 at 9:58

    Worked for the. Thanks a lot
    Ubuntu 14.04

  43. tt3 Reply

    October 10, 2015 at 3:33

    after completing the steps. my system standing at “UBUNTU” logo not going forward plz help me……

  44. TT3 Reply

    October 11, 2015 at 8:11

    yes it was still there. But I tried it many time. the problem is solve now by using the same command
    I first go to recovery mode enable connexion and I repair broken packages then
    I substituted gdm by lightdm
    Many thank CHIRCHIR for this kind reaction.

  45. TT3 Reply

    October 11, 2015 at 8:56

    Thanks ..you too

  46. Felipe Reply

    November 4, 2015 at 1:55

    Hello!

    I can’t even login.

    When I type my username and password, it says it is incorrect, but it is not.
    I just started using Ubuntu and was really enjoying it 🙁

    I really appreciate any help 🙂

    • Elisha Chirchir Reply

      November 5, 2015 at 7:59

      Are you still struggling with this? Just make sure the credentials are correct and try again; reboot the machine and try again.

  47. Abok Isaac Reply

    December 9, 2015 at 12:22

    Thanks for the fix. It hit me the same way as described in your post!
    Just in case someone cannot access Internet, can connect to any WiFi hot spot using the folksinging command.

    nmcli d wifi connect SSID password PASSWORD iface wlan0 (replace capitalized words with actual SSID and password).

    • Elisha Chirchir Reply

      December 14, 2015 at 9:10

      Thanks for the tip to connect to the wifi through commandline

  48. mamarezax Reply

    January 5, 2016 at 6:38

    person X= “Elisha Chirchir”;
    you made my day X;
    return (thanx);

  49. Michal Reply

    January 10, 2016 at 6:23

    Cool! Wokred for me. Tx!

  50. Waqas ur Rahman Reply

    February 5, 2016 at 9:38

    Thanks a lot man it helped !!! God bless you

  51. aldy Reply

    March 20, 2016 at 6:18

    Terimakasih ,, ini sangat membantu

  52. Nathan Ho Reply

    June 26, 2016 at 1:53

    Hey I am trying to download Ubuntu 14.04 on Virtualbox, and I am installing it right now. After the installation completed and I restarted the Virtualbox the “The system is running in low graphics mode” came up and I did the command, but it said i had no disk space left, and i have tried everything from
    sudo apt-get autoclean
    and
    sudo apt-get clean
    but nothing is working!!!!

    • Elisha Chirchir Reply

      June 27, 2016 at 12:09

      It means you have no disk space left. You should free up some space in your machine then allocate more space for your Ubuntu installation then reinstall it!

  53. Sean Reply

    August 3, 2016 at 3:17

    awesome and clear post!

  54. J Hector Garcia Reply

    August 12, 2016 at 9:34

    ayuda tengo el siguiente problema
    w: Not using locking for read only lock file /var/lib/dpkg/lock
    E: Unable to write to /var/cache/apt/
    E The package lists or status file could not be parsed or opened

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