Ubuntu – Pulseaudio not working, daemon already running and no permission for home folder


I'm using Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS, and the sound "suddenly" stopped working. I have been playing around with the issue for some time, so it's possible that I added another layer of problems on top of the original one. The situation at the moment is the following:

pulseaudio produces

E: [pulseaudio] pid.c: Daemon already running.
E: [pulseaudio] main.c: pa_pid_file_create() failed.

Running it as sudo pulseaudio:

E: [pulseaudio] core-util.c: Home directory not accessible: Permission denied

Then, I tried the solution proposed by this question to fix the accessibility problem of the home directory:

sudo chown -R giovanni:giovanni /home/giovanni

but with no apparent effect. Running pavucontrol works fine.

The output of pulseaudio -vvvvv is as following:

I: [pulseaudio] main.c: setrlimit(RLIMIT_NICE, (31, 31)) failed: Operation not permitted
I: [pulseaudio] main.c: setrlimit(RLIMIT_RTPRIO, (9, 9)) failed: Operation not permitted
D: [pulseaudio] core-rtclock.c: Timer slack is set to 50 us.
D: [pulseaudio] core-util.c: RealtimeKit worked.
I: [pulseaudio] core-util.c: Successfully gained nice level -11.
I: [pulseaudio] main.c: This is PulseAudio 8.0
D: [pulseaudio] main.c: Compilation host: x86_64-pc-linux-gnu
D: [pulseaudio] main.c: Compilation CFLAGS: -g -O2 -fstack-protector-strong -Wformat -Werror=format-security -Wall -W -Wextra -pipe -Wno-long-long -Wno-overlength-strings -Wunsafe-loop-optimizations -Wundef -Wformat=2 -Wlogical-op -Wsign-compare -Wformat-security -Wmissing-include-dirs -Wformat-nonliteral -Wpointer-arith -Winit-self -Wdeclaration-after-statement -Wfloat-equal -Wmissing-prototypes -Wredundant-decls -Wmissing-declarations -Wmissing-noreturn -Wshadow -Wendif-labels -Wcast-align -Wstrict-aliasing -Wwrite-strings -Wno-unused-parameter -ffast-math -fno-common -fdiagnostics-show-option -fdiagnostics-color=auto
D: [pulseaudio] main.c: Running on host: Linux x86_64 4.4.0-130-generic #156-Ubuntu SMP Thu Jun 14 08:53:28 UTC 2018
D: [pulseaudio] main.c: Found 4 CPUs.
I: [pulseaudio] main.c: Page size is 4096 bytes
D: [pulseaudio] main.c: Compiled with Valgrind support: no
D: [pulseaudio] main.c: Running in valgrind mode: no
D: [pulseaudio] main.c: Running in VM: no
D: [pulseaudio] main.c: Optimized build: yes
D: [pulseaudio] main.c: FASTPATH defined, only fast path asserts disabled.
I: [pulseaudio] main.c: Machine ID is 5557250d9a584b4babf69038dc518427.
I: [pulseaudio] main.c: Session ID is c2.
I: [pulseaudio] main.c: Using runtime directory /run/user/1000/pulse.
I: [pulseaudio] main.c: Using state directory /home/giovanni/.config/pulse.
I: [pulseaudio] main.c: Using modules directory /usr/lib/pulse-8.0/modules.
I: [pulseaudio] main.c: Running in system mode: no
E: [pulseaudio] pid.c: Daemon already running.
E: [pulseaudio] main.c: pa_pid_file_create() failed.

I tried to remove and reinstall pulseaudio (several times) but with no success. Also, I verified that there's no pulseaudio file in:


There are no files in:


There is a file in:


I would be grateful for any suggestions on what to check or how to fix this issue. Thanks!

Best Answer

I had the same problem, none of the top Google results helped, and I finally found a solution that worked: make sure your user is in the audio group.

I added mine with the following command:

sudo addgroup $USER audio