Recent Mint installation occasionally fails to boot up—Solved

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Barnabooth
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Recent Mint installation occasionally fails to boot up—Solved

Post by Barnabooth » Sun Nov 11, 2018 6:05 pm

The following is a synopsis of a couple of postings I have made recently on the Linux Questions website in the Linux Mint forum.

Recently my first-string computer died abruptly, and I bought from a local shop a renovated Lenovo Think Centre tower with a 120 G SSD and 4 G of RAM without an operating system. They installed my old hard-drive and I took it home to play with.

I installed Linux Mint 19 Cinnamon to the SSD from a flash-drive without difficulty and then downloaded updates.

The computer started three or four times without difficulty, but then it came up to a black screen and hung there until I turned it off.
When I restarted it, it booted up quite happily.

I tried reinstalling Mint 19 but the problems essentially repeated. I decided that it was hell being an early adopter, and decided to install Mint 18.3 Cinnamon.

The installation of Mint 18.3 seemed to go smoothly, but when I shutdown and restarted, this message appeared:

Disk I/O error. Replace the disk and then press any key.

I pushed any key, and the boot-screen appeared and start-up proceeded normally. I installed updates and tried again, and the problem repeated.

I restarted from the flash-drive, and ran this command:

mint@mint ~ $ sudo e2fsck -cfv /dev/sda1
e2fsck 1.42.13 (17-May-2015)
Checking for bad blocks (read-only test): 0.00% done, 0:00 elapsed. (0/0/0 errdone
/dev/sda1: Updating bad block inode.
Pass 1: Checking inodes, blocks, and sizes
Pass 2: Checking directory structure
Pass 3: Checking directory connectivity
Pass 4: Checking reference counts
Pass 5: Checking group summary information

/dev/sda1: ***** FILE SYSTEM WAS MODIFIED *****

256332 inodes used (3.62%, out of 7077888)
347 non-contiguous files (0.1%)
246 non-contiguous directories (0.1%)
# of inodes with ind/dind/tind blocks: 0/0/0
Extent depth histogram: 218400/23
2158350 blocks used (7.63%, out of 28284672)
0 bad blocks
1 large file

188830 regular files
28545 directories
56 character device files
25 block device files
0 fifos
828 links
38866 symbolic links (37819 fast symbolic links)
1 socket
------------
257151 files

When I returned to the installed version of Mint 18.3 the computer booted without any hesitations. I started and restarted three times without any difficulty.

And then it returned to showing Disk I/O error again. . .

It was suggested that I ran this:

3p ~ $ sudo du -sh /lost+found
[sudo] password for brant:
16K /lost+found

I have been looking about for any nuggets of information that might bear on my difficulties, and I finally found this link:

http://binaryimpulse.com/2014/08/lenovo ... e-at-boot/

that included this:
"The issue I have experienced is that after a fresh install of Linux, the laptop will freeze every other boot. Sometimes, it freezes before reaching the login screen, sometimes before even reaching the boot splash screen, and sometimes just moments after logging in. Other times, it would boot and function normally for hours. It has been a very flaky issue.

"I have consistently resolved this issue by adding a boot flag to GRUB.
Edit /etc/default/grub, and add “nox2apic” to your boot parameters, like so:
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="nox2apic quiet splash"

After making this change, run update-grub and reboot the computer.”

This seemed to work! But after about eight good starts, it began again stopping at a black screen.
I changed “nox2apic” to”noapic” and again it started happily several times, and then it again has been as often as not stopping at a black screen with a blinking cursor.

So, any suggestions?
Last edited by Barnabooth on Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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coffee412
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Re: Recent Mint installation occasionally fails to boot up

Post by coffee412 » Sun Nov 11, 2018 7:29 pm

What I would do:

First rule out the SSD having some issue:
Remove the SSD and just put in some spinner drive in it. Install 18.3 and test again. See if your problem is gone.

If you have two sticks of ram in it - 2GB each then try checking your memory by taking one out and then test, Then swap the sticks and test again. See if your problem is still there.

Thats a start in diagnosing your issue. Post your results.
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Re: Recent Mint installation occasionally fails to boot up

Post by Barnabooth » Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:14 pm

I have one 4G chip of RAM. I believe it is good, partly because I have started the computer several times with a variety of live flash-drives, and they always work; also, once the computer is running, I have noticed no other misbehaviour.

The computer already has the HDD installed from my last computer. I went into the BIOS and gave it priority in the boot order, and the computer started three times without difficulty. I then returned the SSD back to the preferred position, and it has started four times without difficulty (erratic problems are a curse).

However I noted one difference: when starting from the SSD--if all is well--after a few seconds of a black screen with a blinking cursor, the boot screen opens, showing options (start from SSD, memory test, start from HDD). When the HDD had the preferred position, the computer simply started, without showing the options.

When I turn the computer on, if after a few seconds of the black screen the blinking cursor moves down a notch--as if I had hit Enter--that seems to be the sure sign that the computer will hang.

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Re: Recent Mint installation occasionally fails to boot up

Post by coffee412 » Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:33 pm

If possible, Swap the internal hard drive to the external box and put the ssd in the computer. See if you still have difficulty booting. The objective is to see if your external box is indeed the issue.
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Re: Recent Mint installation occasionally fails to boot up

Post by silvatech » Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:39 pm

I would first keep it simple, could be as simple as a bad SATA cable the way its randomly acting up.

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Re: Recent Mint installation occasionally fails to boot up

Post by coffee412 » Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:10 pm

Ultimately you will know that when swapping the drives locations
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Re: Recent Mint installation occasionally fails to boot up

Post by rbmorse » Tue Nov 13, 2018 11:40 pm

Just for fun, replace the button battery on the motherboard whilst swapping drives in and out. May not help, but it can't hurt. Probably a CR2035 or equivalent, but check the one that's already installed to make sure.
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Re: Recent Mint installation occasionally fails to boot up

Post by Barnabooth » Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:10 pm

Earlier I said that the computer always started correctly from a flash-drive--that was a mistake: this evening I tried and failed twice to boot from a live flash-drive carrying Linux Mint Debian Cindy (that has worked once before). The first time it went to a black screen, and stalled there; the second time it went straight to the boot-screen and started up from the SSD.

The computer has been running well since the last kernel update--I confess that I was leaving it alone,hoping that the update might have done something good, but I guess it is back to work.

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Re: Recent Mint installation occasionally fails to boot up

Post by jglen490 » Mon Nov 19, 2018 5:04 pm

Randomness is almost always a hardware problem. It could be bad drive cables, bad drive, and quite possibly a bad power supply. At worst a bad motherboard. But if it's still random, and swapping drives/cables doesn't fix the problem, then I would suspect the power supply, especially on a used PC. So it's probably down to how much do you want to spend to fix the problem. Cables cost the least and motherboard/CPU probably the most. Decent 500 to 650 watt power supplies can be had on sale for around $50.
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Re: Recent Mint installation occasionally fails to boot up

Post by Barnabooth » Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:58 pm

I had started with the conviction that this was a software problem, but--having finally admitted that I could be wrong--I returned the tower to the vendor, who within a few minutes declared that the SSD was wonky, and said he would replace it on warranty.
My apologies to everyone whose time I have wasted (I have already apologized to my partner, who has been telling to take it back for a couple of weeks!).

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