[SOLVED] Updated to Ubuntu 11.10 on VirtualBox and now you get a blank screen when you reboot?

So you used the update manager to upgrade to the new Ubuntu 11.10 that came out a couple days ago and when you’re finished with the process, next time it boots you get a blank screen.

Do this:

1. Switch to a terminal.
Press “Ctrl+Alt+F1” if you’re on Windows.
Press “Cmd + F1” or “Ctrl + Alt_option + F1” if you on MacOSX.

You will now be on a text based terminal (TTY1), and you will see that your VM has booted fine, you just didn’t have a graphical environment, therefore the blank screen.

2. Login in with your account on this text based terminal by entering your credentials.

3. Install virtualbox-ose-guest-utils.
(Yes, I also had my virtual guest additions installed before so that I could have full screen resolution, but the problem seems to be related to this and now ubuntu has a package on their repos that you need.)

sudo apt-get install virtualbox-ose-guest-utils [enter]

4. Reboot
sudo reboot

You’re done.


  1. Hi, I came across your article via Google, and I thought I should post instructions for a related problem, but a slightly different solution. Running Virtualbox on a mac, after updating Ubuntu to 11.10, I was stuck on the purple loading screen with 5 red dots.

    1) Start up Ubuntu holding shift to access the Grub menu.
    2) Select recovery mode. Previously, I had tried failsafe-x mode, but this appears to have disappeared!
    3) Start fsck (to exit read-only mode).
    4) To connect to the network, type in “dhclient eth0” [enter] (without the quote marks).
    5) Type in “sudo apt-get install virtualbox-ose-guest-utils” [enter]
    6) Type in “sudo reboot” [enter], then select the first option.

  2. Excellent – thanks. Been trying to figure this out for the last week or so but couldn’t find anyone reporting the same problem.

    Worked like a charm.

  3. Worked for me after upgrading and being hung at the purple ubuntu startup screen. Thanks for the solution!

  4. Legend, wow that fixed it. Thanks so much for publishing this fix!

    Good job.

  5. Yeehah!
    Thanks Pete! I’ve searched for a solution since the Ubuntu 11.10 version was released and your way worked.

    Thanks again and all the best to you!

  6. Thanks! After trying out different solutions on the internet for days, this is the only one which worked. 🙂

  7. THANKS to OP and Pete, awesome tip! In my case I had to run “dhclient eth1” and then re-install the guest addition but other than that it was spot on!

  8. I have same problem with ubuntu 12 LTS.

    I had try ctr + alt +f1, but noting happens.

    just status is running………..

    How can I resolve this. ???

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