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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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Elisha Chirchir

Elisha Chirchir is a software developer at Essential Elements LLC and founder of Simple Developer Blog. 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

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

  1. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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!

    1. 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.

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

  2. 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?

  3. 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

    1. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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: $

    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.

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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?

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

    1. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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!


  16. 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

  17. 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 ?

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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 :)

  21. 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).

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