View Full Version : Black screen when trying to boot

20th August 2007, 09:39 PM
I recently bought a new laptop, and decided to install Fedora over Vista. I downloaded an ISO (the 32-bit version), burned it to a DVD, and installed it on said laptop, using the format option that would remove Vista, no problems. I booted the computer and it started Fedora, and went through several other setups. The only problem here was that it couldn't install a sound driver, which I thought I could just do later. Then, it rebooted again. This time, after explaining exactly what it did during booting, it went straight to a black screen with a little black X on it (the mouse pointer). And stayed there. For three hours. I've rebooted a few times, and I've tried looking around, but I can't seem to find a solution, which might be because this is my first time trying any Linux distribution so I have no idea what might be causing it, so "black screen" is all I have to go by.

Oh, and sometimes it will change into an arrow with a circle of smaller blue circles below it, then change back to the black X.

Knowing myself, I've probably gone and done something wrong =/

If there is anything you can tell me, please do...

20th August 2007, 10:03 PM
Hello this is from my personal experience others might have different ideas, but i think you should of kept vista on and duel booted with f7, the main reason is usually the wireless switch which is usually a software switch, which usually only can be turned on in windows/vista etc also if it came preinstalled with vista they tend to have vista bios,s which dont always work well with linux at the moment, getting back to the black screen i suggest a reinstall.

20th August 2007, 10:05 PM
Yeah, the thing about that is, you see, at the moment Fedora is just a black screen and it's STILL better than anything I've seen Vista do, so no, I'm not keeping Vista.

Anyway, it's somewhat late here compared to when I'm getting up tomorrow, so I'm not trying a reinstall today. I'll probably do it tomorrow though, unless of course someone knows a way to mend this problem without doing that.

20th August 2007, 10:15 PM
It probably has to do with your video driver - what is your video card and can you post a copy of your Xorg.conf (/etc/X11/xorg.conf)

That would probably help us start to narrow down the problem.

Consider also booting to just a command prompt and then running yum update in order to get everything to the most current versions - I had some challenges with the vanilla version off the cd until I updated.

20th August 2007, 10:20 PM
The only command prompt I can find says "grub>" where DOS used to say "c:\>", is that the one? If so, typing "yum update" gives me "Error 27: Unrecognized command". I don't know how to find the contents of that file, but when I try to use the command "find" on that file path, I get "Error 15: File not found"...

20th August 2007, 10:28 PM
I know what you mean id get rid of windows/vista completely if i could, but i dont have a choice if i want to use my inbuilt wireless card/mmc slot. linux can do alot more than windows usually, but there still just isnt the driver support there yet for everything, (especially newly made hardware)and i expect it will be a long time yet if ever before that changes.

20th August 2007, 10:29 PM
Okay - in theory you should be able to do the following commands:
(I am assuming you did not log in as "root"
[enter your password for root when prompted]
/usr/bin/yum update yum

[always a good idea to update yum first]

/usr/bin/yum update

[may be too many to do]

let me know what happens - I am assuming you are getting a login prompt and not something else.

Good Luck!

20th August 2007, 10:30 PM
su gives error 27 again :(

20th August 2007, 10:33 PM
okay - try /bin/su

If that doesn't work I am not sure what prompt you are getting exactly - does it ever ask you for your username and password?

20th August 2007, 10:35 PM
If you see the grub prompt when you boot then you are not booting into Linux. You are only getting to the "bootloader", which cannot find your Linux installation. Use the 1st installation cd or dvd in the "rescue" mode and see if you can find your installation files. Before anyone can give reasonable advice, we need to know if the machine can get past grub into Linux.

20th August 2007, 10:36 PM
/bin/su is error 27 too. No, it's not asking me for a username and/or password.

EDIT: I'll try rescue mode.

20th August 2007, 10:37 PM
Cool - I never had that happen to me before - I love learning new stuff about LINUX!!

20th August 2007, 10:41 PM
"Your system has been mounted under /mnt/sysimage.

Press <return> to get a shell. If you would like to make your system the root environment, run the command:

chroot /mnt/sysimage

The system will reboot automatically when you exit from the shell."

20th August 2007, 10:58 PM
I am in territory where I don't have a lot of experience - but try using the chroot command that it gives you and then try the /usr/bin/yum and see if that works. If not hopefully someone else will chime in.

By the way - what kind of hard drive do you have - I know certain types of controllers have special issues.

20th August 2007, 11:01 PM
Type, in a terminal as root.
chroot /mnt/sysimage
grub-install /dev/sda
System will reboot. See if it gets to the GUI. If not, maybe a command prompt. If you get to a command prompt login as root
su -
(type root password)
vi /etc/X11/xorg.conf
Hit the INS key to edit the file.
Find the video driver line. It will probably say 'nv' or 'nvidia'. Change that to read 'vesa'. Save the file by typing these keys: ESC :wq! and type
See what happens.

20th August 2007, 11:02 PM
There's a Tutti here already? >.<

Anyway, I honestly don't know what kind of hard drive it is, all I know is there's only one of them, and it's got 120GB and no more Vista.

EDIT: "Installation finished. No error reported.
This is the contents of the device map /boot/grub/device.map. Check if this is correct or not. If any of the lines is incorrect, fix it and re-run the script 'grub-install'.

# this device map was generated by anaconda
(hd0) /dev/sda"

Is that about right?

20th August 2007, 11:11 PM
Sorry - typo! Did you try what Glenzzo suggested?

your device map looks correct - F7 moved to the sda devices -I haven't quite got the hang of that yet.
Did you make your hard drive all one large partition or did you split it up?
I would ask what "lspci" gives - but obviously you aren't there yet!

20th August 2007, 11:13 PM
I'm pretty sure I formatted it into one partition - I chose the option to remove any previous OS (not just any previous Linux OS) and reformat.

EDIT: And yes, I did what Glennzo suggested.

20th August 2007, 11:16 PM
Okay - what happened when you tried Glenzzo's instructions?

Can you give me the make and model of your laptop - I can probably look up the hard drive controller. Then we can see if there are any posts on the forums about specific issues with that controller. My laptop is a plain old ide controller so I don't tend to have a lot of issues with that anyway!

**EDIT** Can you give me the contents of the grub.conf file? It should be in the /boot/grub directory (same place your device.map file sits.

20th August 2007, 11:31 PM
"sh: /boot/grub/grub.conf : Permission denied"

That's what I get when I simply type the filename and path...or is there a command for getting the contents?

20th August 2007, 11:47 PM
>cat grub.conf (without the greater than sign)

I think that should work even in the limited shell.

21st August 2007, 12:05 AM
"# grub.conf created by anaconda
# Note that you do not have to rerun grub after making changes to this file
# NOTICE: You have a /boot partition. This means that
# all kernel and initrd paths are relative to /boot/, eg.
# root (hd0,0)
# kernel /vmlinuz-version ro root=/dev/VolGroup00/LogVo100
# initrd /initrd-version.img
title Fedora (2.6.21-1.3194.fc7)
root (hd0,0)
kernel vmlinuz-2.6.21-1.3194.fc7 ro root=/dev/VolGroup00/LogVo100 rhgb quiet
initrd /initrd-2.6.21-1.3194.fc7.img"

The computer's a Fujitsu Siemens AMILO La 1703, unless I'm mistaking something for something else. Also, I will have to sleep soon, so in case I don't see another update from any of you, thanks for your help so far :)

21st August 2007, 12:23 AM
Your latpop has a SATA hard drive - but that appears to be fixed in F7. There are also multiple choices for your CPU - which one did you get? If you installed the X86_64 version of F7 on an AMD 64 CPU that has its own special nuances (thought that is what I use - and I like it).

Do you know how to use vi? If you do i would modify one line of your grub.conf - it seems a little strange.

kernel vmlinuz-2.6.21-1.3194.fc7 ro root=/dev/VolGroup00/LogVo100 rhgb quiet

to read:
kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.21-1.3194.fc7 ro root=LABEL=/ rhgb quiet

let me know what happens when you attempt to reboot - if we can boot to a command prompt then the next step is probably to change to the VESA driver so we can get X running.

I understand the need for sleep - I will check tomorrow if you are not able to respond any more tonight!

21st August 2007, 07:31 AM
I downloaded the i386 version, but I could get a different one if it'll work better.

I don't know how to use vi, but I should be able to figure it out if you point me in the right direction.

Though, I don't have any time right now as I have to leave for university. I'll try it when I get home.

21st August 2007, 12:26 PM
The i386 distribution should run on anything - I wouldn't change it right now. Depending on exactly what CPU you have the i686 or x86_64 distributions may give you some performance advantages. There should be a sticker on your laptop that tells you exactly which CPU you bought since your model has several options (they should all be AMD CPU's given the chipset used in your laptop).

A tutuorial for vi can be found here http://www.washington.edu/computing/unix/vi.html (one of many - just google it).

Try making the change to your grub.conf file and then let us know what happens when reboot - remember to save the changes!

I hope your day at University goes well.

21st August 2007, 04:39 PM
Oh, it did.

The sticker on the computer says "AMD Mobile Sempron". I'll try your suggestion now, too :)

EDIT: glennzo edited his post since I saw it. When I try what it says now, after I open the file, I get what, according to the vi instruction page I was linked, is a blank page.

EDIT2: Though, that's when I try to run it from the rescue command line. I don't get a command line when I try to run Fedora normally, though the screen flickers a lot more than it used to.

21st August 2007, 05:12 PM
According to the AMD Web Site the Sempron supports the AMD64 capability - but I would stick with the 386 architecture for now - x86_64 has its own special challenges.

when you use vi to edit the file you have to make sure you are in the right directery first or you won't be opening the right file. After booting to a shell prompt you should be issueing the following commands:

chroot /mnt/sysimage
cd /boot/grub
vi grub.conf

you should then see your grub file on the screen and be able to edit it. Don't forget to write your changes before you exit vi!

When you boot normally is your computer running through the boot sequence and then flickering? If so we probably just need to change your video driver to the VESA driver and we should be able to get X (the graphical interface) running. Then we should be able to update your system.

21st August 2007, 05:23 PM
Yes, my computer is running through the boot sequence and then flickering. Or, it was. After the changes you suggested, I get these errors while booting:

"mount: could not find filesystem '/dev/root'
setuproot: moving /dev failed: No such file or directory
setuproot: error mounting /proc: No such file or directory
setuproot: error mounting /sys: No such file or directory
switchroot: mount failed: No such file or directory
Kernel Panic - not syncing: Attempted to kill init!"

So, should I edit the file back to how it was? And after I do, how do I change my video driver?

21st August 2007, 05:44 PM
Yes change your grub.conf back. usually an easy way is vi will make a backup copy of the file that is called grub.conf~ all you need to do is:

chroot /mnt/sysimage
cd /boot/grub
cp grub.conf~ grub.conf
(it will ask you if you want to overwrite - answer yes)

the command
cat grub.conf

will display grub.conf to your screen so you can make sure it is still the way it was originally. If so then do the following:

cd /etc/X11
vi xorg.conf

you should find a section in there that reads something like this:

Section "Device"
Identifier "Videocard0"
Driver "radeon"
VendorName "Videocard vendor"
BoardName "ATI Radeon Mobility 9600 M10"

(not necessarily exactly - this is the video adapter for my laptop) - Change the driver from "radeon" to "vesa" - most everything works with the vesa driver (it is pretty generic). Again - your driver may not have been "radeon" it may have been something else. Do not change the drivers for kbd or mouse - they are for your keyboard and mouse.

save your changes and reboot - let us know what you see - believe it or not you are getting closer!

21st August 2007, 05:54 PM
Section "Device"
Identifier "Videocard0"
Driver "vesa"

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Screen0"
Device "Videocard0"
DefaultDepth 24
Subsection "Display"
Viewport 0 0
Depth 24

That's all I could find that's similar to that, which means it's set to vesa already.

EDIT: I just noticed, before the screen goes all black, it shows the same image that covers my screen immediately after turning on my computer, but with strange colors, horizontal lines and general distortion all over it, and at a much smaller size but repeated several times at the top of the screen. Does this have anything to do with the problem?

21st August 2007, 06:05 PM
Interesting. Try this - when the boot sequence starts you will see a message telling you to press "I" for an interactive startup - press the letter i on your keyboard. It will then prompt you device by device to load each device driver - press i each time and tell me where it dies. (what is the last device it tries to load before it stops). Depending on the device we might be able to skip that device and get past it. There are also a couple boot options we can try that seem to help machines get started.

21st August 2007, 06:11 PM
I see the message, but pressing I does nothing but show a lowercase I wherever the cursor is. Holding the shift key at the same time puts an uppercase I there instead. I tried both.

21st August 2007, 06:18 PM
wow - that is pretty early in the boot process to be freezing up. Try editing this line in your grub.conf

kernel vmlinuz-2.6.21-1.3194.fc7 ro root=/dev/VolGroup00/LogVo100 rhgb quiet

to read

kernel vmlinuz-2.6.21-1.3194.fc7 ro root=/dev/VolGroup00/LogVo100 rhgb acpi=off

that has helped people with laptop problems - if that doesn't do it we will get a little more radical.

21st August 2007, 07:34 PM
Now there are some errors with usb5-5 or something, apparently there's a device that doesn't accept any of the addresses it tries to give it. Then it runs into mount problems again, and ends with the old kernel panic.

By the way, it's LogVol00, not LogVo100. I misread it the first time.

21st August 2007, 10:15 PM
can you revert to the version of your grub.conf that was giving you the flickering screen? It sounds like you accidentally altered something else.

after you do that (I will assume you booted the rescue cd and did the chroot again)

cd /etc
vi inittab

Change the line that reads:

to read

that should cause the console to come up in text mode if X is failing. save your changes and reboot. If it still doesn't work boot the rescue cd - do the chroot command and
cd /var/log
cat dmesg

let me know how the last few lines read - they should have the last messages before the kernel panicked - maybe it will give me an idea where the challenge lies.

21st August 2007, 10:17 PM
I'll do that... again, tomorrow =/

26th August 2007, 12:24 AM
I apologize for not being able to respond to this thread before now, and in case there's a rule I've missed somewhere against it, for bumping this thread.

I reverted the boot.grub file back to the way it was - I'm really glad I wrote it all down in this thread. While booting, there were now several checks that came out "[ OK ]" (and one "[FAILED]" - something about a network cable, which makes sense since there aren't any connected), as opposed to the two I got previously. It also got to what I assume is the console's text mode - it says "Fedora release 7 (Moonshine)" and "Kernel 2.6.21-1.3194.fc7 on an i686", then asks for "localhost login". When I input my username ("tutti") and my password, I get a command prompt, with "[tutti@localhost ~]$" on the left side.

I'm probably way too detailed about this, but I have no clue what information you need.

And thanks a lot for your help so far :D

26th August 2007, 03:39 AM
I thnks it's good that you gave the details, I'm too lazy to read through all the older posts. You are booting to a "console", which is better than not booting at all. As I recall, the problem is that your X server doesn't work. After logging into the console, you can try several things.

You can type
(and press the enter key) to see if Fedora can configure your video hardware correctly.

If that fails, you can go to another console ( by CTRL-ALT-F3 or CTRL-ALT-F4 ) and look at the log files to diagnose the problem. For example, login the console and type
less /var/log/Xorg.0.log
Use the up and down arrows to view the file and 'q' to quit. Find out what video driver you are using and see if you find any error messages about "mode.... rejected".

If you need to shutdown the machine from the console try
shutdown -t now
or reboot with CTRL-ALT-DEL

27th August 2007, 12:19 AM
Obviously tashirosgt has more experience than I do. The only thing that I would add is that if you have network available go ahead and hook up your network cable, reboot and log in, and do:

yum update yum
yum update

and then reboot - that will bring you up to all the latest software and may fix most (if not all) of your issues.

[warning - you may have lot of updates to install by now - could be a big download]

28th August 2007, 07:58 PM
system-config-display goes to the flickering screen for a short while, then gives me a box for display settings, in the way I assume it's supposed to.

Connecting a network cable, running the commands fhubers gave me and waiting fixes Fedora. Would you look at that.

My laptop works - you guys are awesome. Thanks a lot ^^

EDIT: This isn't quite the topic of this... uh, topic, but on the other hand I'm guessing the answer's easier than the previous ones to answer... is there any way to get a larger resolution than 800x600? 1280x720 was available, but it didn't have the right width-to-height ratio, making everything look odd, and when I chose 800x600 and logged out it wasn't on the list anymore =/

28th August 2007, 10:09 PM
If you want more control over the video configuration, you have to get into editing the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file. (In fact, if you search for your particular hardware and the word 'xorg'conf', you might find an example of such a file that gives you what you want.)