How to work with an unbootable Manjaro (black screen, login failed, cant boot, etc)

When we have problems gaining access to our systems it is difficult to gather information, let alone fix any problems. Here we will cover common causes and solutions to ‘manjaro wont boot’.

TTY

If your desktop does not load properly then you might still be able to use most, if not all, functionality by dropping to a non-graphical TTY.

By default your system will have multiple TTYs, with each corresponding to an Fx key. Your desktop is assigned to one as well - most often F1.

You can change TTYs through a combination of Ctrl+Alt+Fx (F1-F6).

Meaning often our first steps would be CTL+ALT+F2.

If greeted with a login prompt then login with your user name and password.

Grub options and Boot Parameters

If you are never prompted for sign-in you can still take action by changing your boot options.

At the Grub menu, make your selection and and hit E to edit the kernel boot line.

Note: Many Manjaro systems have Grub hidden by default.
If this is the case tap Shift to make it appear.


  • Runlevel 3

Linux systems have defined 'run-level’s denoting which services are loaded at boot.
They are defined as follows:

0 = halt, 1 = single-user-mode, 2 = multi-user-mode, 3 = multi-user-mode+networking, 4 = undefined, 5 = multi-user-mode+networking+displaymanager, 6 = reboot

As shown above, we normally boot into runlevel 5. But it can be useful, such as in the case of broken gfx drivers, to use runlevel 3.

In the grub editor look for the line beginning with linux , it should look like this:
linux /boot/vmlinuz-4.11-x86_64 root=UUID=0a01099a-1e33-489a-a2de-10104e8492f5 rw quiet

Simply add a 3 to the options at the end of the line (and optionally remove ‘quiet’) so it appears like this:
linux /boot/vmlinuz-4.11-x86_64 root=UUID=0a01099a-1e33-489a-a2de-10104e8492f5 rw 3

To continue booting use the F10 key.

If greeted with a login prompt then login with your user name and password.


  • Other options

A handful of other options that may be helpful are:
acpi=off, nolapic, nomodeset, and %driver%.modeset=0 ex: radeon.modeset=0

Chroot

If you are unable to recover using the installed system you can use another medium such as a CD or USB

Create or just reuse an already existing Manjaro Live USB (such as the one you used to install your system).

Once booted in the live system issue the following command in the terminal:

manjaro-chroot -a

Follow the prompts and you should have access to your installed system.

“OK, I have a terminal prompt. What now?”

Now that you have control of your system its time to gather information and fix any problems.

These links could help:


Note

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