The system is running in low-graphics mode

Linux and “The system is running in low-graphics mode” error

So, after moving from Mac to Windows to Linux, I went on a crusade to find the perfect Linux Desktop Environment. I originally installed Ubuntu 15.04 and quickly wondered off to Cinnamon, tried, Gnome 2 and 3, then XFCE and tried Tiling Managers like AwesomeWM and i3.

Without starting a desktop environment flame-war, I just say that I decided on one. Since I’m a bit OCD on having a clean system, I started to remove the other desktop environments. However, somehow during the whole removal process, something happened because the next time I started my machine, the beautiful Dell XPS13, I was meet with the error:

The system is running in low-graphics mode

Obviously, my graphic driver got uninstalled, right? Naturally, I started to re-install all Dell graphic drivers (Intel) and rebooted. Unfortunately, I was meet with the same error message again. I then looked further into the error message which tells me that the Xorg.conf file has an issue.

Now, not being an expert on this matter, I started searching for anyone with the same issue. This is when I found this thread on askubuntu. “Solutions” in this thread range from a complete re-install, to booting up in rescue mode and doing something to login manager issues. In my case, the issue was the Lighdm login manager, however, none of the solutions posted worked. Even after re-installing Lightdm, configuring it and countless reboots.

In the end, it was an issue that the Lightdm manager did not re-create (or link) to a proper configuration file. In short, I created the file /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf with the content:


After yet-another-reboot, I was greeted with the familiar Ubuntu Unity login screen.

Voila, back in business (after 5 hours of sweat and anxiety).