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Old 12-17-2012, 07:24 PM   #1
fagin
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ubuntu 12.04 boots to black screen


Hi,

I have a Ubuntu 12.04 + Windows 7 dual boot.

For months things have been running fine til as recently as last night.

But this morning, I turn on my computer, select Ubuntu OS. It cycles and boots and as soon as I see the log on screen with the familiar sound - it goes black.

I reboot into Windows 7 instead, and there I have an unstable screen, it goes black also when I try to enter Support or Download anything.

Is there a virus that is causing this?

I have done System Restore in Windows.

In Ubuntu I have:
CRTL-ALT-F1
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo restart lightdm

None of the above has worked.

Any solution?

Thanks for your help.
 
Old 12-17-2012, 07:27 PM   #2
TobiSGD
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If you have the same problem in Ubuntu and Windows this most likely is a hardware issue.
Since it seems to work for a while (if I understand you correctly), it may be overheating. Try to clean out the cooling system and check the temperatures.
 
Old 12-17-2012, 07:42 PM   #3
fagin
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The laptop was off all night. When I turned it on this morning is when the issue started.

When I am in Windows Safe Mode, I don't experience the black screen problem.

And I can still work in Windows, I just can't download or go to the support console.

It's like it is choosing WHEN it goes black.
 
Old 12-17-2012, 07:55 PM   #4
fagin
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Details of problem:

Yesterday I installed a "Reminder Scheduling" applet from Ubuntu Software Library. Could that have caused the problem?


Also, my screen becomes unstable only when I visit certain sites, try to download software, or run the support console

The website below for example causes my system to go unstable. Whereas I have no problems with this site - linuxquestions.org

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...H3Pe2UTSUhSEAA

Last edited by fagin; 12-17-2012 at 07:59 PM.
 
Old 12-18-2012, 01:02 AM   #5
purevw
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I also believe it's hardware

I tend to also believe that you are having a hardware problem. It's "choosing" when it fails may have a lot to do with the load on the system. If you boot into safe mode, Windows is using a basic VESA driver for your graphics rather than the specific driver for your card. The VESA driver will not "work" the card nearly as hard as the normal driver for the card. You could try uninstalling the "normal" driver for the graphics and see if you can run in Windows without safe mode, using the fallback VESA driver.
If it's a cooling problem, it would make sense that failures would occur when the laptop is working harder. Laptops can be blown out with compressed air, but be very careful not to spin the cooling fan with the air. I have seen laptop fans fly apart when too much blowing force was used. That quarter sized plastic fan often costs $50 to replace.
If it's not a cooling problem, there are a couple of things that you might try. If you have both wifi and ethernet on your laptop, disable one and try using the laptop. If it still fails, disable the other and enable the first. If there is other hardware that can be disabled, try each, one at a time.
Another thing to try would be to see if a "live CD" works. If it does, it's possible that your hard drive may be getting weak and causing I/O problems when stressed. The live CD should run mostly from RAM and not utilize the hard drive as much as a normal boot.
As far as diagnostics are concerned, you could burn a couple of discs; one with Memtest-x86, and another with a bootable hard drive diagnostic disc from the manufacturer of your drive. Memtest should be run for hours or even days to verify RAM integrity, although with the failures you are having would probably show up very quickly if RAM is involved.
If you are unable to pinpoint a problem, it may simply be that an electronic component such as capacitor or resistor is failing. There's not much that could be done about that.
 
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:13 AM   #6
colinetsegers
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This reply just in case. I had a similar problem
which at last was solved by replacing what is
called the "inverter", the long and narrow chip card
usually situated at the base of the screen. Can easily
be replaced. Otherwise the overheating of the graphics
chip is also possible, and then, as far as I know,
nothing can be done. To prevent this last kind of
problem, cleaning regularly the ventilation system
is indeed the only way.
In some cases a change or software upgrade affecting
the graphics driver can cause similar problems, but
then whether in Linux or Windows, not both logically.
 
Old 12-18-2012, 01:15 PM   #7
fagin
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Thanks for your help Tobi, Pure and Coline

What you say makes sense. That it is a hardware problem having to do with the load - it sure feels like that is the problem.
Though the fact that I did some major software install the night before makes me wonder...--I installed an alarm reminder scheduler on Ubuntu and something else on Ubuntu''s . And a Firefox, I forget the exact name. Also, on Windows 7 I installed a heavy virtual cross-browsing testing browser from spoon.net....I would like to think that it is this latter software. I've uninstalled it - but the problem remains.

I'm really not a computer tech expert so I understood like 65% of what you guys said.

My laptop is a refurbished HP Pavilion g7 purchased a year ago. Don't know if that would shed any light.
I ran the HP systems diagnostic - it took 3 hours to do -- and it registered "PASSED" on every itemized thing that it was checking once it was completed.
Could it still be an overheating issue even though the bottom of my laptop feels cool to the touch?
I tried the Ubuntu Live CD, same thing it boots to black - so I guess that rules out that it is a harddrive problem.
Also would replacing the video graphics card do the job - or is that not possible due to it being a laptop and that everything is integrated?
In Windows OS, when I go to task manager I see 96 processes running. Don't know why there are so many. When in Safe Mode there is only 26 processes running.
Is there a way to disable the automatic load of these processes at boot so that it doesn't "over" load thus, it won't throw it to the black screen?
How do I disable graphics card driver and have it run only on VESA? What do you mean by "Laptops can be blown out with compressed air"?


The biggest problem is how do I get back into Ubuntu to recuperate my files before I ship it off to repair? I didn't back up my files on a daily basis. And my last week's work is too important to lose?

I'm still hoping a solution can be found without having to send it off for repair.

I'm going to try to back up my files then do a fresh factory re-install first.
Anyone know how to do it on Ubuntu via the CTRL-ALT-F1 command?
 
Old 12-18-2012, 01:41 PM   #8
colinetsegers
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fagin View Post
Thanks for your help Tobi, Pure and Coline

The biggest problem is how do I get back into Ubuntu to recuperate my files before I ship it off to repair? I didn't back up my files on a daily basis. And my last week's work is too important to lose?

I'm still hoping a solution can be found without having to send it off for repair.

I'm going to try to back up my files then do a fresh factory re-install first.
Anyone know how to do it on Ubuntu via the CTRL-ALT-F1 command?
Before doing whatever you plan, it might make sense to remove the existing hard disk and replace it with a spare one, and make a fresh Ubuntu install on that new hard disk. This would possibly rule out for 99% a virus like or disk related problem.

To backup your files from the main hard disk, a live system like Puppy Linux can do a good job (if the black screen does not appear ;o) because Puppy Linux allows the access to Windows and Ubuntu. Puppy Linux can be found on the WWW and weighs only about 120 Mb. You can also mount the hard disk in an USB case and connect it to another machine running Linux. Probably you will have access to all your files.
 
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Old 12-18-2012, 02:01 PM   #9
fagin
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Thanks Coline.
It is an excellent route to take.
Will do that.
 
Old 12-19-2012, 05:28 AM   #10
djosr
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try grc.com "SpinRite"
 
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Old 12-21-2012, 11:22 AM   #11
sntnlz
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I hope that you had some luck with colinetsegers' suggestion. If that didn't work, I suggest that you buy an adapter kit to hook up your laptop hard drive to another desktop or laptop and backup your data before sending your laptop for repair. Depending on where you are, these can sell for around $30 or so and can be lifesavers in situations where you can't boot up your system and haven't backed up your data for a while. I'm stating the obvious here, but make sure that you get the correct kit which is compatible with both the laptop hard drive interface and the other computer's interface. The majority of kits provide a USB connection to the receiving computer so that you only need to worry about making sure that the output end fits your source drive (SATA, IDE, or SCSI)

Cheers.
 
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Old 12-24-2012, 11:54 AM   #12
fagin
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Okay! I'm back with some updates. Been bed ridden with flu so progress is slow.
I have made some major headway. Certain (wrongly) that it was a software problem, I took the path that I had to somehow find a way to recover all my data even though I couldn't log on so that I can do a fresh install. So, after a many unnecessary winding roads, I finally:

1. Recovered the Home folder (I thought that I would need the Mount Passphrase as my Home folder is encrypted, but NO, it wasn't necessary). Since I was able to CTRL-ALT-F1 and get to username@username:~$, I was able to manually enter commands and moved my Home folder to my external hard drive in less than 15mins. Step-by-step (help found here http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1774562):
a. sudo fdisk -l (to identify which is Linux partition and which is my external drive)
b.sudo mkdir /media/extdrive (create directory to mount ext. drive)
c. sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /media/extdrive (mount ext. drive)
d. sudo cp -r /home/yourusername/* /media/extdrive (copies Home folder to external hard drive)

2. Recovered my Thunderbird mails and profiles: $ cp -avr /home/you/.thunderbird/ /media/extdrive (help found here: http://www.cyberciti.biz/faq/linux-b...email-profile/)

3. Backing up my Windows 7 files was easy since I was able to operate it via safe mode, if not normally

TaDA! All I my data recovered - I proceeded to do a factory reset install. This process initially failed because the screen went black as well while in the process of reinstalling.

Back to googling for answers...one suggested hooking it to an external monitor and see if it works - and so I did that. And I was able to complete the reinstallation. The laptop appears to be working just fine with an external monitor. I played 3 videos on it simultaneously and downloaded and installed Firefox all at once to see if it could take on the load without the screen going black and it was fine. The fact that I was streaming to the external monitor seem to help the laptops monitor stay on...it didn't go black though it flickered on and off.

So - the problem is not resolved though I managed to narrow it down to it NOT being a hard drive or an over-heating problem.

So what could it be the inverter as colinetsegers says? Or has the monitor come loose somehow and is not making full contact? Something else altogether? Still too sick to get to a computers hardware store to buy tools or parts to test it...will continue googling to pinpoint problem.

What it "feels" like is that something is loose or is not seated right for full contact - somewhere between the laptop streaming to the video screen.
I am now able to play videos - but it goes black then it comes back on it goes black again and comes back on again....and goes black again...

Will come back and post resolution once fixed.

Last edited by fagin; 12-24-2012 at 12:46 PM.
 
Old 12-27-2012, 12:08 PM   #13
fagin
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I'm back to say that the problem is solved. Not fixed but solved.
It's a problem of loose fittings and something not sitting right in the monitor.
I was moving the monitor back and forth, it appeared to help bring the screen back but it didn't stick.
So I closed the monitor on the laptop and using both my hands squeezed the monitor tight going around the laptop and in the middle as to make sure everything is tightly squeezed. And now I can watch videos again and do everything that I normally do on the laptop.
I still have to take it in so that everything is re-tightened and seated properly professionally.

Well that ends this saga of the blank screen.
Happy Holidays to all!
 
  


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