Linux Mint KDE Startup Problem Solved
Most of what I cover here is what worked for me, but may not work for you depending on the source of your issue. My problem turned out to be a lack of immediate driver support for my NVidia card. This solution most directly applies to both NVidia and ATI video cards. Most of this information is distilled from Linux Mint's helpful:http://www.linuxmint.com/wiki/index.php/Troubleshooting_your_Live_CD
Boot into Recovery mode from the Linux Mint Live CD by replacing "quiet splash --" with "ro single", which provides a command prompt part way trough the boot, in which to edit xorg.conf using nano, vi, or your preferred text editor, i.e.:
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And under the Section "Device", replace the Driver "intel" with "vesa", and in the same section, comment out the BusID line (type a # at the beginning of the line) then save changes and quit the editor. From the command prompt, type exit to reboot.
This should eventually land you in KDE with the support of the minimalist vesa driver. You may get an error as I did from the KDE Daemon, with the KDE Crash Handler dialog stating:
The application KDE Daemon (kded) crashed and caused the signal 11 (SIGSEGV)
Just close this message. KDE is hopefully now running from the Live CD, with the Install icon displayed. If so, on we go... Double click the Install icon to lauch the installer.
After answering some basic questions regarding your local settings, next comes Prepare Partitions. Again, see the helpful section How_to_partition
from Linux Mint Live CD Troubleshooting article mentioned above. If you have another OS pre-installed, and you're planning to dual boot, then you might want to consider backing up any important data before proceding, as repartitioning, while normally safe, can lead to lost data if something goes wrong.
I resized a modest 80 GB partition /dev/sda1 currently used for XP (25.6 used) to 40 GB. I then divided the remaining space into:
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/dev/hda1 -- / 8 GB root for LinuxMint
/dev/hda3 -- /home 30 GM
/dev/hda4 -- swap 2 GB
I then rebooted into recovery mode from the Grub menu to make the same changes as were needed before in the live CD to /etc/X11/xorg.conf, then exited again to come back to the KDE login. Once logged in, KDE presented the same kded crash message as before, but remained active.
I then launched Firefox to download the latest Envy Legacy package, a very handy NVidia and ATI video driver finder/builder for Linux. It's available from:http://www.albertomilone.com/nvidia_scripts1.html
Double-click on the downloaded package to select envy and install it. When I tried to run Envy from the Mint applications menu, it complained about a missing dependent package: dkms, available from:http://linux.dell.com/projects.shtml
Or even easier, just use KPackage, pick dkms from the list, and choose Install.
Start Envy again, and select Install Nvidia driver (or ATI if that is your type), then wait a few minutes for it to complete its process of downloading and building all dependencies. When done, it offers to automatically configure xorg.conf, which I permitted.
For me, it then rebooted unexpectedly, apparently in Recovery mode. I checked xorg.conf only to find it reverted to the original (at least in terms of the Device section). When I tried to change this, this action was prevented due to its read-only status. I rebooted to see if anything had changed, and it hadn't, so I re-edited xorg.conf as root through: sudo vi /etc/X11/xorg.conf.
This got me back into a KDE session, where I reran Envy. This time it completed successfully, and prompted for a reboot, which I accepted. This time KDE successfully loaded and the NVidia driver was selected in xorg.conf, and running with much better presentation than in the previous vesa mode.
Whew, if you're still with me, congratulations - Linux Mint is up and running at last!