Last update wrecked logging in - Unable to determine failsafe session name


I downloaded the last updates today (on a virtualbox guest from Linux host), but there was a problem with Firefox and could not commit the transaction. After rebooting the machine, the whisker menu was showing a default XFCE icon rather than the Endeavour one. There were more updates, so I installed them and rebooted. Now I get an error in a dialogue box after attempting to log in:

Unable to determine failsafe session name. Possible causes: xfconfd isn't running (D-BUS setup problem); environment variable $XDG_CONFIG_DIRS is set incorrectly (must include "/etc"), or xfce4- session is installed incorrectly.

I’m not sure how to sort this out. During boot up there are no options to log in with tty. Just stuck with a log in screen now.

I found an old solution:

rm -rf ~/.config ~/.cache

After rebooting, I reapplied the default theme.

That is pretty nuclear. Removing all user config for the DE and every application.

1 Like

Hello Dalto,
Oh. I had spent almost 6 hours looking for solutions.
It’s just a VM to isolate learning about blockchain development. I didn’t want to terrorise my main system.

What would have been a better approach to removing that?
I did try arch-chroot, and I thought I’d copied those files, but it seems not.

The error has come back again.

Perhaps consider/research if reinstalling the desktop might resolve the issue:

 sudo pacman -S xfce4
:: There are 15 members in group xfce4:
:: Repository extra
   1) exo  2) garcon  3) thunar  4) thunar-volman  5) tumbler  6) xfce4-appfinder  7) xfce4-panel  8) xfce4-power-manager  9) xfce4-session
   10) xfce4-settings  11) xfce4-terminal  12) xfconf  13) xfdesktop  14) xfwm4  15) xfwm4-themes
1 Like

In the link of your solution, it is mentioned that it is a permission problem somewhere in your home folder.

Are you using sudo with a GUI application ?


Hello Pebcak,

Yeah, I thought it might have been specific to xfce4-session, but I reinstalled the whole group anyway.

Perhaps reinstalling the whole system would be cleaner. When I get it to how I need it, I’ll timeshift it.

I’m trying to log in. An update failed part way, then came the problem. Thanks for posting.

1 Like

Those are directories containing every config and data of all the applications of your user. A better alternative to deleting them would be correcting their permissions and ownership according to your user with chown -R.

probably messed up your file permissions again since you modified them with root

1 Like

I think I’ll reinstall. It’ll be clean at least.
Thank you.