How to fix the problem “The system is running in low-graphics mode” error in Linux?

If you are experiencing the “low-graphics mode” error when trying to login, follow the instruction below :


Issues with Nvidia or AMD/ATI graphics

This happens when a driver has a problem installing correctly (Most cases). For this do the following:

  1. Boot PC leaving SHIFT pressed to make the GRUB Menu show.Grub menu
  2. Select Recovery Mode which will continue booting correctly until the Recovery Menu appeares.
  3. Select from the recovery menu failsafeX.recovery menu, yes it's german please replace :( wasn't able to get it in english by changing system language and doing update-grub
  4. In some cases failsafeX will load fine (You lucky dog), for others (Me) it will give an error along the lines of “The system is running in low-graphics mode” and will stay there forever. When this happens, press CTRL+ALT+F1 to go to the terminal. Type in your Username and Password.low graphics mode error message
  5. Reinstall the drivers depending on your case:
  • Nvidia

sudo apt-get install nvidia-current – More stable/tested version

sudo apt-get install nvidia-current-updates – More up-to-date version


The simple way is to sudo apt-get install fglrx. If this does not work keep reading.

Go to AMDs support site and download the driver you need. (If you have a newer card, you may want to download be the latest beta driver instead of the stable one. You would need to compare release dates and read through release notes to find out which driver version supports which chips.) Put the downloaded driver in some folder and rename it to “” to simplify name. Go to the folder where you downloaded the file and type chmod +x to give it Executable Permission. Now just simply run ./sh and follow the onscreen steps.

After rebooting all problems should be solved. If you test ‘Additional Drivers’ with a problem like this it will finish downloading the package but then it will give an error. It also gives the same error if you use ‘Software Center’ and ‘Synaptic’. The only way was to go to the failsafeX option and do the workaround about changing to the tty1terminal and doing it via command line.

Note that if the problem occured after installing an unsupported driver from the amd site then you may have to first delete the driver you had installed. For this, run in the tty session (i.e) in the terminal screen you get after pressing CTRL+ALT+F1 :

sudo aticonfig --uninstall

(If this command didnt work then check this site . Look under the “Uninstalling the AMD Catalyst™ Proprietary Driver” heading.) After doing this, you may reboot with the command :

sudo shutdown -r now

Now you must get back access to the Unity desktop(Of course with the AMD driver uninstalled). Then you can get to this site which clearly helps in choosing the right AMD driver for your System specifications. Also read the release notes for the latest driver for your graphic card(Especially check if your system satisfies all the system requirements). Then after downloading your driver installer(the .zip file) get to this site and follow the instructions to install your driver. Your driver must be installed and it should work successfully.

I also need to add that I do not recommend downloading the Drivers from the Nvidia site since they:

 * Might create additional problems with Ubuntu
 * Are not updated automatically
 * Are not tested thoroughly in Ubuntu

Always use the nvidia-current package or the nvidia-current-updates one. These are tested and approved already for the Ubuntu version you are using and will give less errors and incompatibility bugs.

Issues with Intel graphics

For Intel it is recommended to do the following after doing all the steps mentioned above but before installing anything (When you are in the Terminal). You can choose Xorg-Edgers which is a PPA that brings many improvements, latest video drivers and more:

Warning: This PPA is very unstable for some things. So do it with that in mind.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:xorg-edgers/ppa -y

After that sudo apt-get update and you should receive several updates. X-Swat currently does not have Intel drivers in the latest versions of Ubuntu.