Pop OS Fix Endless Login Loop

05/12/20191 Min Read — In Resources, Ops, Development

Pop!OS recently updated to 19.04, after upgrading I found that I was unable to login to my desktop. This is what I did to get out of the issue. After much research I found that there are many possible causes here but this is what worked for me. Reposting here in case it helps someone future Internet searcher who encounters this same issue.

TL:DR; user able to log in after moving the .local folder out of the way

Updating Pop! from 18.10 to 19.04

  • Do the needful and backup that data
  • Verify that the backup you just made actually works
  • By happenstance I had multiple desktop environments installed, I recommend exploring your options, eg: install alternate DE like Cinammon
  • Update your basic pre-big update versions of things sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade
  • follow the official instructions from Pop blog
  • after a failed upgrade, the recommendation was simply to start over and that did not later encounter an error
  • try to login and UH OH, this is where the trouble really started and I felt like an idiot for ignoring the first install error
  • attempt to fix with permissions by resetting your home dir with chown
  • attemp to modify authority files, this seemed to be the fix for most folks
  • after those two failed, I tried to log into an alternate DE, and Cinnamon worked!
  • This made me think the Pop install itself was borked but I couldn't be sure
  • So I created a new user and log in, that new user worked!
  • this is when I moved my .local folder out of the way
  • logging in worked!
  • some of my prefs were gone and some weren't missing at all, not sure what .local is supposed to hold but it sure didn't hold everything beyond some UI quibbles and favorites needing re-tagged, everything was back to normal.
  • I never found out which exact thing was to blame but I have the local.bak to inspect later for funsies
  • After I sanity checked the good state persists on multiple logins and restarts, called it won

phyew! all better. not my best debugging work or the most harrowing of issues but it's common enough that someone may benefit.

Either way, I love Linux and Pop!OS rules.