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Fixing “There was an error creating a child process for this terminal”

By admin | May 12, 2009

Update (2009-08-27): If you are missing, you can download it here.

After a recent upgrade to Ubuntu 9.04 on a computer, GNOME Terminal and xterm stopped working suddenly by displaying an error message that read “There was an error creating a child process for this terminal.” This is caused by a bug resulting from the unauthorized changes to To fix it, take the following steps:Error creating the child process for this terminal

  1. Switch to a terminal that works by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F1 twice. (press Ctrl+Alt+F7 to restore desktop)
  2. Login to Ubuntu (type in your username followed by your password).
  3. Enter “sudo mv /etc/init.d/ /etc/init.d/“to move the old out. (Type in your password, again).
  4. Enter “sudo cp /etc/init.d/ /etc/init.d/” to restore the dpkg backup.
  5. Shutdown and restart the computer by typing “sudo shutdown now -r“.
  6. (OR) Press Ctrl+Alt+F7 and shutdown through the GUI.

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If you found this article helpful or interesting, please help Compdigitec spread the word. Don’t forget to subscribe to Compdigitec Labs for more useful and interesting articles!

Topics: Linux | 23 Comments »

23 Responses to “Fixing “There was an error creating a child process for this terminal””

  1. Tim Says:
    June 15th, 2009 at 14:55

    Thank you very much! That’s problem number 1 solved… How did they release an upgrade where the terminal doesn’t work?!

  2. Chainsaw Says:
    June 18th, 2009 at 14:39

    Really, they must be following windows’ marketing strategies. We break, you buy!

  3. imperiomoe Says:
    June 19th, 2009 at 23:27

    Thanks your solution work for me perfectly well.

  4. Jvonne Rampoldi Says:
    July 21st, 2009 at 05:50

    Thanks a lot for your help!

  5. Don Green Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 16:44

    This file is not on my computer… .
    Any suggestions where I might find it?
    …on the internet?
    …can you send it?
    Don Green

  6. admin Says:
    August 27th, 2009 at 08:53

    @Don Green:

    The post has been updated with the file. Thanks for the suggestion!

  7. Marco Hernandez Says:
    October 29th, 2009 at 20:31

    I tried to make the change you’ve suggested but I got another error: “” which is not found on my PC (Ubuntu 9.04) Does anybody knows where I can find that file? It is downloadable?

    Any suggestions are welcome !!!

  8. Nathan Says:
    December 9th, 2009 at 12:05

    I was also missing the file. Thanks to you, I can use Gnome terminal once again.

  9. Leo Says:
    October 28th, 2010 at 12:18

    Thanks !!!!!! for all !!!

  10. Tony Says:
    June 25th, 2011 at 11:37

    I was trying to solve this issue as you propose here but the problem still isn’t solved.
    So it doesn’t seam to help in any case 🙁

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