Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I was upgrading Ubuntu on my server (but Ubuntu is in desktop version) when mouse and keyboard stopped working :( So the screen went black (screensaver), and now I can't do anything. I don't know what stage of upgrade it stopped working, probably now it waits for me to answer some question.

Keyboard and mouse were connected by KVM, connecting them directly doesn't help. Both are on USB.

What I can do, is connecting to the machine by ssh. Can I somehow see and answer questions of update system and somehow finalize process of upgrade?

share|improve this question
On a side note: why do you need a desktop installation on a server? – ℝaphink Feb 16 '11 at 7:43
Well, it's not only a server. It acts also as a machine I can always use for internet when I need to check something fast. Just because it's always on. – amorfis Feb 16 '11 at 9:51
up vote 1 down vote accepted

SSH in, see if who will tell you what tty you were on, and see if you can snoop on it with ttysnoop {tty}.

Updated: It's not watch on Ubunto like I thought it was, it's ttysnoop.

share|improve this answer
Hmm... Thanks, but my watch doesn't seem like it has "-W" option. "watch -W 7" doesn't work, neither "watch -W tty7". Sorry for being such noob :) – amorfis May 19 '10 at 5:38
Sorry for stumbling through this, but I don't use Linux. The command on Ubuntu is ttysnoop but it's not clear from the documentation if you can write to the tty through the snp driver; give it a try, I'm very curious to know now too. – Chris S May 20 '10 at 0:50
up vote 0 down vote @amorfis: Did you have a Ubuntu desktop installation on the server? I once had the ubuntu server version installed, with the ubuntu-desktop on top of it. Upgrading (while booted in the desktop,via the update manager interface) hung my system as there was a package splash, which was essential for the desktop , but was removed during the update... @chris S: Well, i installed ttysnoop on ubuntu and it seems like it has to be setup beforehand to snoop on particular devices before logging in... – Software Mechanic May 4 '11 at 9:57

I too have run into this on update, but it turned out that the grub file (in /boot/grub/menu.lst) was booting the old Ubuntu 9.x kernel with the Ubuntu 10.04 drivers.

I fixed this by ssh-ing into a running system (with a dead/frozen console), manually added the correct kernel (look in /boot for the newest one) and rebooted. Note: the top system is the default one.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.