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Backtrack 4 Installation StartX Error: AddScreen/ScreenInit Failed For Driver 0

When installing Backtrack 4 on a Windows Virtual PC VM this afternoon I got an error when attempting to start the X server. After initially booting the DVD inside the virtual machine I set up for the Backtrack 4 installation I got the error starting X with the startx command. Resolving it was easy for me though I don’t know that it would always be as easy for others. Below I describe the error received when starting X and what I did to resolve the problem.

Fatal Server Error: AddScreen/ScreenInit failed for driver 0

Backtrack 4: AddScreen/ScreenInit Failed For Driver 0

First I thought maybe it was just an error on my end so I restarted the BT4 virtual machine and attempted to begin the install process again but I ended up having the exact same results. After a little research I found the fixvesa command which will rewrite the xorg.conf file with the xorg.conf-vesa file. The vesa X configuration file is really just a scaled down configuration file which makes things more simple in attempt to get X started. Below is a quote from the Xorg wiki page that describes in more detail what the vesa configuration file means.

Vesa Description From Xorg Wiki:

The default ‘vesa’ driver, though widely compatible with nearly all available chip sets, is merely a fall-back (not accelerated and does not support many resolutions). Therefore, a proper video driver should be installed if possible.

So if this does work for you then you should work on getting the proper video drivers installed after Backtrack 4 is installed.

Resolve Fatal Server Error Caused By startx Command:

To resolve the error simply type “fixvesa” from the command prompt and then click the enter key. You will see the below line after clicking enter that will let you know that the vesa xorg.conf file is now the active X configuration.

Backtrack 4 fixvesa Command Output:


  1. [*] Copying /etc/X11/xorg.conf-vesa to /etc/X11/xorg.conf

After running the fixvesa command type startx again followed by the enter key. If this has resolved your problem the Backtrack 4 X server will launch as displayed in the below example image.

Backtrack 4 X Server Starting During Installation:

Backtrack 4 X Server Starting

After the loading screen you will be taken to the Backtrack 4 desktop where you can begin the GUI installation.

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