Cannot boot system due to start job running for hold

I've installed ubuntu-desktop on Ubuntu 16.04 Gnome and I picked lightdm and now once I restart, I get this error message when I press CTRL + ALT + F2:

A start job is running for Hold until boot process finishes up (Xmin Xs/no limit)

This goes on for 20 minutes+. What do I do to fix this problem or even troubleshoot?

Answers 7

  • You can fix this in following way, it worked for me. FYI : I had upgraded from 14.04 to 16.04.

    Go in your safe mode by hitting SHIFT key or ESC. select networking , then drop to root prompt. Then run following commands.

    sudo apt-get remove plymouth
    sudo apt-get remove xserver-xorg-video-intel

    Now, reboot,

    When you reboot, still you may get black or purple screen,

    Press Ctrl+Alt+F1 and login with your username and password.

    Then run following commands.

    GDM ie Gnome display manager was also causing problems for me, so following step was essential for me

    I switched to lightdm from gdm3 as display manager.

    sudo apt-get install lightdm
    sudo dpkg-reconfigure lightdm

    When you are prompted, select default display manager as lightdm

    Now I was back with desktop , without dash or unity but only icons and wallpaper. now run this.

    sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop

    Now, reboot after this.

    The desktop is back!

    now, you can install intel graphic drivers again,

    sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-video-intel

    Reboot now. Its done!

  • Had the same problem earlier today.

    Found out here ( that could be a plymouth related problem, and after removing it (I'm really not into looping logins animations anyway...), I got into trouble with nvidia drivers.

    I just removed all nvidia related software and, voilà, I'm here typing this answer.

    sudo apt-get remove plymouth
    sudo apt-get purge nvidia
    sudo reboot

  • For those who messed up with Linux booting after the update (Which happened to many users including me) Here's the complete solution (Which I used, and I was able to get back everything).

    1. Don't panic!
    2. If your computer is hanged at the login screen, press Ctrl+Alt+f2
    3. It will ask for your login username and password.
    4. Connect ethernet cable (LAN cable) from your wifi router or modem to your computer
    5. Type dhclient eth0 and press enter
    6. For testing networking, try ping if there's any failure then please check your LAN connection, router or modem (Connecting to WiFi is a tedious process so try LAN connection first)
    7. Type reboot and press enter.
    8. Now keep pressing Esc or Shift key.
    9. Enter into latest kernel recovery mode.
    10. Use keyboard arrow keys to navigate.
    11. Press Enter on Networking
    12. Now it will display the previous screen.
    13. Click on root (You need root access to modify system).
    14. Run

      sudo apt-get install -f --reinstall lightdm

      (It will download 200mb of data)

    15. Run

      sudo apt-get install unity
    16. Run

      sudo apt-get install ubuntu-session
    17. Run

      sudo dpkg-reconfigure lightdm
    18. It will ask you to select one out of two options: gdm & lightdm. Select lightdm
    19. Run

      sudo apt-get install gnome

      ( It will download 700mb of data)

    20. Run reboot and you should be able to get your work back (Although your desktop will look ugly because of conflicting themes. Don't worry, steps 23 & 24 will fix this issue).
    21. Open terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and run

      sudo apt-get autoremove

      (to purge all unnecessary dependencies which can cause problems while installing new packages)

    22. Run

      sudo apt install unity-tweak-tool
    23. Run

      sudo apt-get autoremove --purge light-themes
    24. Run

      sudo apt-get install light-themes
    25. Finally download ubuntu-tweak from (version that works with Xenial Xerus and isn't available anywhere else!)
    26. Reboot your system and done!

  • I just had the same issue on a fresh Ubuntu 19.04 on a ThinkPad X201. The system would hang forever with a black screen and not react to any keyboard input. At next reboot (into recovery mode) when examining /var/log/boot.log I would see the error told in the question:

    A start job is running for Hold until boot process finishes up (Xmin Xs/no limit)

    Funny enough, I was able to start in recovery mode until I see the recovery mode menu and, from there, when choosing "resume" I would get to the normal graphical environment. The difference to a normal mode was only that the boot process was done in text mode. This indicates that there is a conflict between the display manager and plymouth, the software responsible for showing the graphical screen with the Ubuntu logo etc. while the computer boots up.

    And indeed, the only step required to fix this was removing plymouth, by executing in recovery mode:

    sudo apt remove plymouth

    And rebooting.

  • Ran into the same problem after installing the Nvidia driver (361). I removed it and its all working okay now. I have a GeForce 920 (Optimus). Nouveau works fine with it, so I shall stick with it for a few more months and try installing the Nvidia driver again (hoping the bug will have beebln fixed by then).

Related Questions