Mint 14 Install broken? Can't access BIOS.

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Mint 14 Install broken? Can't access BIOS.

Postby Znap! on Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:07 pm

Hi guys,

I was working really happily with Mint Nadia until last week. Brought my laptop to a conference on the other side of the world and just when I needed to do some work, I couldn't get it to function. There was some issue with Dropbox before, which is the only thing that didn't work properly that I can think of. It kept asking indexing everything, no matter what I tried. Don't know how relevant that is though.

At any rate, what I can remember is that my home/Znap couldn't be mounted and I couldn't get it to mount somehow. Sorry if I don't know how to describe it better, because I tried to fix it all jetlagged and tired... In the beginning, I tried changing the boot order, but I realised that my SSD wasn't even visible in BIOS (how strange is that?), which is where my OS runs from. The next morning, pissed off that nothing worked, I saw error message related to RAID, and I decided: rainbows it, I'll try setting it to RAID in BIOS. Big mistake. After that I couldn't even access BIOS anymore to reset it to its previous settings.

Right now, when I turn on my laptop (Acer Aspire S3, if that matters), it very briefly flashes the opening image (with 'Hit F2 for BIOS and F12 for Boot Settings') but I can't access it. Within a few seconds, it just shows a blinking cursor in the top left of the screen.

So, my first question is as follows: how do I regain access to BIOS? And secondly: if I manage to do that, is there a way to get the info you guys need to help me out? It'd be greatly appreciated. :)

[edit] I use Cinnamon desktop.
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Re: Mint 14 Install broken? Can't access BIOS.

Postby Znap! on Thu Oct 31, 2013 6:41 am

No thoughts on this? Maybe I should've posted in Hardware, but the thing is: it all started with Mint not booting and from there on, it all went south... :(
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Re: Mint 14 Install broken? Can't access BIOS.

Postby WharfRat on Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:08 am

Znap!,

If, as you allude to in your post, you cannot get into the BIOS setup by tapping the appropriate function key then it has nothing to do with any installed software.

My laptop boots-up pretty quickly so I start tapping the F12 key immediately after pressing the power button if I want to boot from a cd or usb flash otherwise I'll miss the opportunity if I wait for the message to show.

If you have no luck then try an Acer forum or try contacting Acer support for assistance.

Good luck :wink:
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Re: Mint 14 Install broken? Can't access BIOS.

Postby Mark Phelps on Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:38 am

Sounds like the filesystem on the SSD got corrupted. I had this happen on an older Crucial SSD -- which required a firmware update to fix.

Not familiar with your laptop, but you could try removing the SSD and then repeatedly pressing the F2 key while booting. Once it recognizes the key press, it will start beeping when you keep pressing it -- but ignore that and continue pressing it rapidly.
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Re: Mint 14 Install broken? Can't access BIOS.

Postby Znap! on Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:17 am

Thanks for your feedback guys.

@WharfRat: I'm hitting F2 and F12 like crazy, press 'em before I hit the power button, hit 'em rapidly after hitting the power button, but nothing. Anyway, that was something that changed after I set it to RAID.

@Mark: Thanks, but I'm a little hesitant to remove components from my laptop before my warranty has expired. :) Is there another way to enter BIOS without fiddling with the hardware?

Also, is it realistic to think that my SSD failing was what prevented MInt from working and what subsequently caused me to change my settings to RAID and then preventing myself access to anything after all?

I'll try posting this question on an Acer forum as well, good suggestion. :)
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Re: Mint 14 Install broken? Can't access BIOS.

Postby WharfRat on Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:26 am

According to this site http://community.acer.com/t5/Notebooks-Netbooks/How-do-I-access-the-BIOS-on-a-Acer-Aspire-V3-571G-9636/td-p/13751

You have to "Do a restart of the machine and press F2, not a shut down."

Did you try that :?:
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Re: Mint 14 Install broken? Can't access BIOS.

Postby Znap! on Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:33 am

I just read that as well. I can either restart using Ctrl Alt Del or shut it down by holding the power button. Neither seems to make a difference.

[edit] OK, wait, so when I hold F2 down and let it go when it starts beeping, I do get the chance to access some menu (Intel Rapid Storage Technology - Option Rom). Weirdly enough, it recognizes both disks here: my 500 GB HDD and my 20GB SSD. Both are seen as Non-RAID Disks.

I then get six options:

1 Create RAID volume
2 Delete RAID volume
3 Reset Disks to Non-RAID
4 Recovery Volume Options
5 Acceleration Options
6 Exit

Unfortunately, none of these options work. I can create a RAID volume, but can't delete or reset one, as there apparently are no RAID disks.

Still at a loss.
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Re: Mint 14 Install broken? Can't access BIOS.

Postby WharfRat on Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:03 pm

Znap!,

Can you boot the linux media, open a terminal and enter
Code: Select all
sudo fdisk -l

to see how those disks are reported :?:

I've never dealt with hardware RAID so I can't be of much help with it, but it's a start :wink:
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Re: Mint 14 Install broken? Can't access BIOS.

Postby Znap! on Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:56 pm

Well no, that's the thing. Nothing boots. And I can't change the boot order, since I can't access BIOS...
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Re: Mint 14 Install broken? Can't access BIOS.

Postby WharfRat on Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:32 pm

Znap! wrote:Well no, that's the thing. Nothing boots. And I can't change the boot order, since I can't access BIOS...

From another site http://www.ehow.com/how_5802568_enter-s ... spire.html

Ensure that your computer is turned off completely, then turn it back on by pressing the power button to the "On" position. Within the first 10 seconds, press the "Control" key and hold it without letting up. Then press the "Alt" key and hold it also without letting up. Finally, press the "Esc" key and hold it without letting up. You should be pressing and holding all three buttons down at the same time. Hold them for about two seconds and then release them. If your system is an older Acer Aspire model, you should then see the BIOS setup screen. If not, your system is of the newer Aspire model and you should continue to the following step.

Shut down your computer again completely. Once it has been turned off, press the power button to the "On" position to restart the system. Within the first 10 seconds, press down and hold the F2 button for about three seconds and then release it. Within five to 10 seconds after pressing and holding this button, you should see the BIOS setup screen on the monitor.

One of these should work otherwise maybe a dead keyboard :?:
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Re: Mint 14 Install broken? Can't access BIOS.

Postby Znap! on Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:00 am

Many thanks for your help dude. Doesn't really help though, because all I can enter is that Option Rom menu - which doesn't really do anything. Keyboard does work, but I can't use it for anything... I guess I'll post this in the Hardware Forum as well, maybe someone over there knows something. Argh!
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Re: Mint 14 Install broken? Can't access BIOS.

Postby WharfRat on Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:04 am

Znap! wrote:Many thanks for your help dude. Doesn't really help though, because all I can enter is that Option Rom menu - which doesn't really do anything. Keyboard does work, but I can't use it for anything... I guess I'll post this in the Hardware Forum as well, maybe someone over there knows something. Argh!


This post might be of interest to you. Bottom line is it seems the poster cannot enter BIOS unless the hd is disconnected.

viewtopic.php?f=46&t=148650#p778483

Good luck :wink:
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Re: Mint 14 Install broken? Can't access BIOS.

Postby Znap! on Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:32 pm

Alright, there's some progress. By pressing Fn and Esc repeatedly I finally managed to enter BIOS. Yay for that! I also managed to change the boot order, but still cannot seem to boot from USB. Changed my SATA back to IDE from RAID, so that part's solved. My SSD is still not recognized in BIOS, so I don't how I get the option to boot Mint (since that's supposed to be on my SSD).

Right now, there's a blinking cursor for a short period, and it then enters GNU GRUB version 2.00-7ubuntu11. GHere I get four options:

Linux Mint Cinnamon 64-bit, 3.5.0-17-generic (/dev/sdb1)
Linux Mint Cinnamon 64-bit, 3.5.0-17-generic (/dev/sdb1) (recovery mode)
Memory test (memtest86+)
Memory test (memtest86+, serial console 115200)

I've been here before, right before I couldn't enter BIOS anymore.

When I choose the first option, it says "Serious errors were found while checking the disk drive for home." "The disk drive for UUID=blablabla is not ready yet or not present". When opting for Manual Recovery, I then see a whole lot of Input/Output errors, and that's where I originally got the idea from to change to RAID. Some examples:

ata1.00: failed command: READ DMA
.....
ata1.00: status: { DRDY ERR }
ata1.00: { UNC }
end_request: I/O error, dev sda, sector 80000***
Fileystem check or mount failed.
A maintenance shell will now be started.

Hopefully this helps. I still think that my SSD might somehow have been corrupted or damaged, but I don't know exactly how to find that out... thanks again for your input!
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Re: Mint 14 Install broken? Can't access BIOS.

Postby WharfRat on Mon Nov 04, 2013 3:08 pm

Znap! wrote:Alright, there's some progress. By pressing Fn and Esc repeatedly I finally managed to enter BIOS

I'd say that was a major breakthrough :D Does Acer change the BIOS access sequence every other day to keep it a secret from its users :?:

OK, so one disk is accessible since you got the grub menu, and that one is sdb. That's the SSD where you mentioned that your OS is installed and indeed it appears to be so.

The error occurs when trying to access sda
end_request: I/O error, dev sda, sector 80000***


At this point you have to try and boot to a USB or DVD if you can't get to a maintenance shell or did you get to a maintenance shell :?:
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Re: Mint 14 Install broken? Can't access BIOS.

Postby Znap! on Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:13 pm

WharfRat wrote:
Znap! wrote:Alright, there's some progress. By pressing Fn and Esc repeatedly I finally managed to enter BIOS

I'd say that was a major breakthrough :D Does Acer change the BIOS access sequence every other day to keep it a secret from its users :?:

Beats me! I thought it was really weird. Also because all of a sudden the Grub menu appeared pretty quickly after the blinking cursor. It used to stall there for a long time, but now it just skips through it and enters grub.

OK, so one disk is accessible since you got the grub menu, and that one is sdb. That's the SSD where you mentioned that your OS is installed and indeed it appears to be so.

How do you know for sure that sdb is my SSD? It does make sense, because that's where I installed Mint, but it still weirds me out that BIOS doesn't see that disk.

The error occurs when trying to access sda
end_request: I/O error, dev sda, sector 80000***


At this point you have to try and boot to a USB or DVD if you can't get to a maintenance shell or did you get to a maintenance shell :?:

I tried booting from USB when I posted the previous message, but somehow I can't get it to boot from any of the USB-ports I put first in the boot order. And weirdly enough, when I enter Boot Manager after I restart, I can only choose my HDD. No USB-ports or SSD... what gives?

Re: maintenance shell> when I enter my root password, I see this:
Code: Select all
znap ~ #
. Is that the maintenance shell? And if so, what should I do from here? I guess I shouldn't apologize for my noobness, but I do feel quite silly nonetheless. :mrgreen:
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Re: Mint 14 Install broken? Can't access BIOS.

Postby WharfRat on Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:00 pm

Znap!,

It certainly looks to me like you're in a maintenance shell. So here are things to look for:

In /etc/fstab check for any references for mounting sda
Code: Select all
grep sda /etc/fstab


Take a look at the results of mount for sda
Code: Select all
mount|grep sda


Let me know what you find.

Good luck :wink:
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Re: Mint 14 Install broken? Can't access BIOS.

Postby Znap! on Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:54 am

WharfRat wrote:Znap!,

It certainly looks to me like you're in a maintenance shell. So here are things to look for:

In /etc/fstab check for any references for mounting sda
Code: Select all
grep sda /etc/fstab

/home was on /dev/sda2 during installation
swap was on /dev/sda1 during installation

Take a look at the results of mount for sda
Code: Select all
mount|grep sda


Let me know what you find.

When I do the above, nothing else happens. After restarting, I still get the same errors... Isn't it odd that there are two sda partitions btw?
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Re: Mint 14 Install broken? Can't access BIOS.

Postby Znap! on Tue Nov 05, 2013 9:14 am

OMG! More progress! This time my laptop did recognize my bootable USB drive! Yes! So, right now I'm typing from my live version of Mint 15. When trying to access my HDD, this is the error message I get.

Unable to mount 496 GB Volume
Code: Select all
Error mounting /dev/sda2 at /media/mint/cfecfd7c-5622-4a4e-9f46-23031c3b04e9: Command-line `mount -t "ext4" -o "uhelper=udisks2,nodev,nosuid" "/dev/sda2" "/media/mint/cfecfd7c-5622-4a4e-9f46-23031c3b04e9"' exited with non-zero exit status 32: mount: wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on /dev/sda2,
       missing codepage or helper program, or other error
       In some cases useful info is found in syslog - try
       dmesg | tail  or so


Any help would be greatly appreciated. (: When trying to open terminal, it does nothing. Maybe that's because it's a live version?
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Re: Mint 14 Install broken? Can't access BIOS.

Postby WharfRat on Tue Nov 05, 2013 9:35 am

Znap! wrote:OMG! More progress! This time my laptop did recognize my bootable USB drive!

So miracles do happen :D

Stay in that live media for now, don't take the chance of exiting until you pin-down the problem.

Paste back:
Code: Select all
grep -v '#' /etc/fstab
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Re: Mint 14 Install broken? Can't access BIOS.

Postby Znap! on Tue Nov 05, 2013 9:39 am

Thing is, I can't get Terminal to work. :/ Any alternative ways of reaching it?

Also... black screen (of death). All of a sudden. G'dammit.

[edit] When restarting, my laptop no longer recognizes my live-usb. :evil:
Last edited by Znap! on Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:05 am, edited 2 times in total.
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