I have tried several ideas such as:

chown pi:pi .Xauthority choxn -R pi /home/pi

and I have deleted .Xauthority

But my pi keeps returning to the Shut-Down / Log-In screen no matter what I do.

I can get to terminal (ctrl-alt-F1) and do what ever I want, but the desktop won't finish loading.

Password is correct and working, just returns to the same screen.

  • Check free disk space and check the X log files
    – Dirk
    Oct 8, 2019 at 20:02
  • What kind of Pi are you running and what operating system?
    – Fred
    Oct 8, 2019 at 20:07
  • What have you done that this happen?
    – Ingo
    Oct 9, 2019 at 9:01
  • Rc.local - tried to add a link to a python program, using graphics gui, to run on boot. Problem started after I removed the link. PI 3b Raspbian
    – smclaugh5
    Oct 10, 2019 at 23:22

3 Answers 3


I faced a similar problem about 10 days ago. And I had to reinstall the OS. Anything you change or delete related with boot can affect the OS badly. My suggestion is you should re install the OS

  • Rc.local - tried to add a link to a python program, using graphics gui, to run on boot. Problem started after I removed the link. PI 3b Raspbian
    – smclaugh5
    Oct 9, 2019 at 21:45
  • disk 16 gb about half full
    – smclaugh5
    Oct 9, 2019 at 21:46

There are numerous ways to solve this. Noted that you tried to chown .Xauthority with the -R switch and probably you tried it with a sudo, but again - try this version;

$ sudo chown pi:pi .Xauthority
$ sudo apt-get update & sudo apt-get upgrade
$ sudo reboot

In case that doesn't work, since you have access to the CLI space at [ALT]+[F1], you can always as a resort try to save necessary files by starting desktop with superuser with

$ sudo startx 

Also have a look at for any quirkiness

$ sudo nano /etc/rc.local

at the bottom just above "exit 0" and have a consideration with commenting out a potential line familiar from a recent install with a #

Reinstalling the OS as a solution is seldom necessary, anything can be fixed but in case there isn't any crucial work lost in the process it can be a good time saving option on some occasions.


What the OP describes here is an X11 Session Error. A more complete description comes from https://forums.raspberrypi.com/viewtopic.php?p=1219348&sid=a8a57224a0ccc492e7882ba151d5e4b9#p1219348

This is the second time I've had this problem. Last time I gave up and rebuilt from a new download of Raspbian.

Expected functionality: Pi3 (Raspbian, Stretch, up to date) is set to "Boot to desktop". When I turn on I get to the desktop and can do stuff. No password required. I have been using the pi this way since 23rd August with no problems whatsoever.

Symptoms after a reboot today - different to every other reboot I've done:

  1. Through SSH I can log in using default word "raspberry".

  2. When connected to HDMI/keyboard/mouse instead getting to the desktop I get to a login prompt for pi on desktop screen3)

  3. If I enter the correct password "raspberry" I get a black screen and then the login prompt comes back

  4. If I enter an incorrect password deliberately it tells me, correctly, that I got it wrong.

  5. Over SSH I added a new user with useradd, and using that user I can login successfully to the desktop at the login prompt .

  6. Over SSH I changed the password for user pi, however when I try to use that to get to the desktop I get the symptoms in 3 above.

To summarize a few great answers including https://askubuntu.com/a/246858/146273 and https://askubuntu.com/a/223634/146273 ...

  1. Check for .xsession-errors.old and/or .xsession-errors.old in your $HOME folder.
  2. Read them and see if they tell you why your Display Manager has failed to hand off control to an X11 Session.
  3. Be aware that because /etc/X11/Xsession is a shell script that sources many other shell scripts, the error message might not tell you the true file/location of the error, but it will help you discern the true nature of it.

Happy hunting. May the odds be ever in your favor.

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