[Solved] Black screen of death? LOL

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[Solved] Black screen of death? LOL

Postby Cherrymint on Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:04 pm

Okay... I cannot boot into LMDE. I don't know what the problem is; everything was fine (well, almost) before I restarted my machine. The software manager kept freezing up, so that is why I did a reboot. I get past grub, and then a lot of scrolling text, and then it's all black except for the blinking cursor in the upper left corner of the screen. I CAN boot into grub rescue, but I'm not sure how to use it. I'm fairly new to anything Linux, so that feature is pretty much useless for me. Even if I DID know all of the commands, I wouldn't know where to begin because I have no idea what is messed up. I've installed & uninstalled lots of stuff, so it could be anything.

Relevant(?) specs:

PC brand: None. Home-built.
Processor: AMD Athlon x3 445
Motherboard: Biostar A87OU3
RAM: 4GB G-SKILL Ripjaws
Video card: XFX ATI Radeon HD 5670
HDD: 750GB Western Digital Caviar Black
OS: WinXP/LMDE64 dual-boot system
Last edited by Cherrymint on Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Black screen of death? LOL

Postby Cherrymint on Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:42 pm

*bump*

So, where is the actual "support" forum located? One week & 90 d@mn views later, and not one person has bothered to reply.
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Re: Black screen of death? LOL

Postby mbaker514 on Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:34 pm

Hi I'm no linux guru, but I'm a decent troubleshooter and researcher and have been using various distros for over 10 years, so let's try to figure out what happened.

Is this the first linux distro you have tried to install? I'm going to try to explain things very basically until I see your level of expertise.

Are you trying to dual boot with windows on a dedicated machine?

What are your systems specs - 32 or 64 bit processor - amount of ram - hard drive size - video card ?

I'm going to assume that the live disk worked OK since you were able to install and started having problems when you started using the software manager. By software manager do you mean Update Manager (this should be run before you do anything to the system), Synaptic Package Manager ( can be used to install or update packages) or the actual Software Manager (used only to add or remove packages)?

The fact that you are seeing grub rescue means that your MBR (Master Boot Record) is probably toast.

The blinking cursor may indicate a video problem. Anyway, a re-install will be the best way to go and then take things one step at a time.

If this is your first try at linux, why LMDE? A more user friendly distro might be better for you to start off with. Not that LMDE is not great distro, it's just that rolling release distros, especially new ones, tend to have growing pains and there's been a few, but they're being sorted out nicely. However, you do need to realize that updating is important and bugs will occur.

So, give me some info and lets see where it goes.

Mike
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Re: Black screen of death? LOL

Postby mbaker514 on Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:37 pm

ooops I meant are you trying to dual boot with windows or are you installing linux by itself on a dedicated machine?
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Re: Black screen of death? LOL

Postby Cherrymint on Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:12 pm

All of my system specs are listed in the OP.

This is not my first *nix distro, but I am not comfortable with the command line due to the fact that I'm a slow typist (two finger), cannot memorize commands & am prone to typos.

I am able to boot into the Grub menu (which includes the option for recovery), but cannot get X going. I can get to the prompt (via recovery option) and threw out a few commands (startx didn't work).

After reading some errors that flew by on my screen, it seems the problem is with the ati driver. You see, I installed several of the propitiatory drivers because I wasn't sure which one was the 'right' one.

Basically, I need to purge all of the crap and set it back to the default freebie radeon driver. So, the commands for such a task would be...?
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Re: Black screen of death? LOL

Postby Cherrymint on Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:23 pm

Oh, and I chose LMDE because I don't want Ubuntu trash on my computer.
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Re: Black screen of death? LOL

Postby mbaker514 on Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:25 pm

Hi Sorry, missed your specs on OP. I did a little searching on the forums, which is always a good thing to do before posting, and came up with this.
It has commands to copy and paste to purge ati catalyst drivers.

viewtopic.php?f=141&t=70616
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Re: Black screen of death? LOL

Postby mbaker514 on Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:27 am

Also, since you can get to a terminal, you'll want to update grub:

sudo update-grub
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Re: Black screen of death? LOL

Postby Cherrymint on Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:45 am

Already fixed it. I'm not sure how I fixed it, but I did. :lol: I issued a command to uninstall KDE (I just thought that might help...or something), it said it couldn't do that, but then, out of nowhere, it offered me a bizarre option to delete a couple of packages that it said were no longer needed. I don't remember the names, but I know that one of them was something related to the ati driver. *shrug* Booted back up, and everything works again. Only now, my display is messed up (it seems to be stuck in vesa). I reinstalled the freebie radeon driver, but that didn't help.

Why do I need to update Grub?
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Re: Black screen of death? LOL

Postby Cherrymint on Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:41 am

Fixed my display. Woot! Had to completely purge the leftovers of the proprietary ati driver.

Oh happy day. :mrgreen:
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Re: Black screen of death? LOL

Postby mbaker514 on Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:10 pm

Glad all worked out for you. I suggested a grub update because you said you were getting a grub rescue prompt, but that is all moot now. Enjoy LMDE.

PS: You should edit the post as [Solved]. Then others won't have to read the post to find out it the problem has already been rectified and those with the same problem will know they may find an answer here.
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Re: [Solved] Black screen of death? LOL

Postby Cherrymint on Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:49 am

Grub rescue prompt? No, it's part of the normal Grub menu. Doesn't your Grub menu have that? I don't remember if it's called "rescue" or "recovery", but it's an option in the Grub menu.
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