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Old 08-05-2004, 09:08 AM   #1
Linux24
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Black screen - no prompt


I tried following the directions for updating my Nvidia drivers from the nv driver to the nvidia driver downloaded from their site. I got the package from nvidia, read the read me, read the tutorial on this site, and followed these steps:

1. Edited inittab to have a 3 instead of a 5

2. Edited XF86Config-4 to have nvidia instead of nv, and looked for (did not find) glcore and dri to remove.

3. Rebooted my system.

The bootloader came up, I picked Linux, and then the disk ran a little and the monitor stayed black. I figured X must be broken, so I tried to find a command prompt from where I was. I pushed ctrl-alt-F1: nothing. I tried the other F key combinations to switch terminals - nothing. I could not get a command prompt.

I pulled out the first CD, booted from it, got a boot prompt, typed rescue, mounted my partitions to /mnt, and edited the files back (don't ask me how I figured this out - even I don't know), and now my system is back to normal, but I still have a crap driver and I'm sure there must be something I'm missing about how to recover my boot prompt. I hadn't even begun the driver install yet.

My setup:

Athlon XP 1800+
IBM 60GXP HDD
768 MB Ram PC 2100
Asus A7V-KT233E MB
Linux: Mandrake 10.0 Official (download)
Video: Geforce 3 Ti 500
Monitor Viewsonic PF790

Any help would be greatly appreciated - if only to get a command prompt out of my blank screen.

I tried to do /sbin/lspci - file not found.


Last edited by Linux24; 08-05-2004 at 09:11 AM.
 
Old 08-05-2004, 09:15 AM   #2
Ice9
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You have to install the driver before editing your XF86Config!

Modify inittab
Boot to a prompt
Install the driver
Edit XF86Config (don't forget to add load "glx" in the modules section)
Reboot or restart X

You should see an nVidia splash screen
 
Old 08-05-2004, 09:24 AM   #3
Linux24
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I tried these steps as well. Just modifying inittab to have a 3 instead of a 5 causes the black screen with no prompt, even if I haven't made any changes.

When I was rescuing my system, the first thing I did was undo changes to XF86Config-4 by deleting the new file and restoring the old (I chose to make a backup). I then rebooted - no prompt. Just a blank screen with nothing but inittab edited.

I then had to rescue again to change inittab back to a 5, and I got back into X.

I cannot make my system boot to a prompt. The screen just goes black. EEK!
 
Old 08-05-2004, 09:33 AM   #4
Linux24
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I just tried it again. I changed the 5 to a 3 and rebooted. Result: no video output. I had to rescue and edit the inittab back to a 5.

Any suggestions, anyone?
 
Old 08-05-2004, 09:56 AM   #5
Ice9
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What I would do is:
Boot your pc like you normally do, and when you have to log in press CTRL+ALT+F1
Install the driver, modify XF86Config and (as root) type reboot -d

I installed the nvidia drivers a couple of times and never modified inittab, heck the first time I was logged into kde when I installed it, restarted X and everything worked...
 
Old 08-05-2004, 11:12 AM   #6
Linux24
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I'll try it.

But does anyone have any idea why I cannot boot to a prompt? I'd really like to be able to do that. If I can't, anything I do to break X will leave me forced to re-install.

EDIT

I also tried booting to a prompt by picking the failsafe mode. No video output - just a blank screen. Choosing the kernel also resulted in a black screen. Apparently, my Mandrake 10 doesn't want to boot to anything other than X windows and have video.

Is there some configuration setting I am missing that will make Linux able to project text mode on the monitor?

It works fine if I start in X and then ctrl-alt-F1. Then I get a prompt. Logic tells me that when I am booting Linux, it is looking for a video card and never finding it until X starts.


Last edited by Linux24; 08-05-2004 at 11:32 AM.
 
Old 08-05-2004, 02:03 PM   #7
J.W.
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Linux24 - Based on your description, I'm pretty sure this is a vesa framebuffer issue. Are you running lilo? If so, edit lilo.conf, and you'll see a list of various resolution and color depth settings for the console mode. Comment out whichever one is being used now, and instead select either "vga = normal" or choose a very low settting, such as "vga = 771" (which is 800x600) Note: you may need to change your inittab setting so that it starts in X, that way you can open a terminal session and edit lilo.conf. If you just boot to the terminal session and get a black screen, that's going to make editing a little harder

I can't gurantee this is the cause of the issue, but it's defnitely something I'd check out. Additionally, if the above doesn't solve it, do a search here at LQ on the terms "vesa framebuffer" and you'll find a number of similar posts. This "black screen" phenomenon is fairly common. Good luck with it -- J.W.
 
Old 08-05-2004, 02:54 PM   #8
Linux24
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I am running Lilo. Thank you very much, JW! I'll go read the related articles and give this a whirl!
 
Old 08-06-2004, 12:52 AM   #9
Linux24
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Update:

I followed these steps:

1. Edited /etc/lilo.conf from
vga=788
to
vga=771
saved settings
Rebooted
no effect

2. Repated process for
vga=normal
no effect - still a black screen

3. Tried using the built in GUI tool to tell Mandrake to boot without GUI. Same effect - checked inittab - all the GUI did was set run level 3.

Then I figured, "Hey, maybe it is the driver." So I did the following:

su
root passwd
init 3
root
root passwd
XF86Config-4: changed nv to nvidia; added Load=glx;
Ran Nvidia driver package
init 5
Got the Nvidia logo
X started
All is good

So the Nvidia drivers installed just right. I tested them playing a couple of X games, and boy, they are much faster and prettier now than they were.

4. I edited id:5:initdefault again to run level 3
rebooted

AND I GOT THE SAME BLACK SCREEN

This time, instead of doing a rescue operation, I pretended I had a prompt. I typed in
user id [enter]
passwd [enter]
startx [enter]

And the Nvidia logo splashed and I was in Gnome

If I do init 3, I can see the prompt. If I do ctrl-alt-Fkey, I can see the prompts at every TTY.

For some reason, however, if I edit inittab to run level 3, the monitor displays nothing. It's just black. But the prompt is there, because I can use the keyboard and logon.

What is going on with it? It's driving me nuts! I've read everything I can find about frame buffering, and I've even successfully installed a video driver, which is more than most seem to do, but somewhere Mandrake Linux has some setting that screws up the display of the prompt until X is loaded.

Code:
# File generated by DrakX/drakboot
# WARNING: do not forget to run lilo after modifying this file

boot=/dev/hde
map=/boot/map
default="linux"
keytable=/boot/us.klt
prompt
nowarn
timeout=100
message=/boot/message
menu-scheme=wb:bw:wb:bw
disk=/dev/hde bios=0x80
image=/boot/vmlinuz
	label="linux"
	root=/dev/hde5
	initrd=/boot/initrd.img
	append="noapic nolapic devfs=mount splash=silent"
	vga=788
	read-only
image=/boot/vmlinuz
	label="linux-nonfb"
	root=/dev/hde5
	initrd=/boot/initrd.img
	append="noapic nolapic devfs=mount"
	read-only
image=/boot/vmlinuz-2.6.3-7mdk
	label="263-7"
	root=/dev/hde5
	initrd=/boot/initrd-2.6.3-7mdk.img
	append="noapic nolapic devfs=mount splash=silent"
	read-only
image=/boot/vmlinuz
	label="failsafe"
	root=/dev/hde5
	initrd=/boot/initrd.img
	append="failsafe noapic nolapic devfs=nomount"
	read-only
other=/dev/hde1
	label="windows"
	table=/dev/hde
other=/dev/fd0
	label="floppy"
	unsafe
 
Old 08-06-2004, 01:32 AM   #10
J.W.
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When you edit lilo.conf, you need to rerun the lilo program in order for those changes to take effect. As root: /sbin/lilo

Give it another try, and hopefully that might solve it. -- J.W.
 
Old 08-06-2004, 09:36 AM   #11
Linux24
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Thanks for helping!

I tried both vga=771 and vga=normal, followed by running lilo, which ran without errors. I rebooted, and the command prompt was still just a black screen.
 
Old 08-06-2004, 11:20 AM   #12
SirGertrude
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If you only use the GUI I would be inclined to just recompile the kernel without framebuffer support. Of course the downside is that if you do use text mode your resolution will be very low.
 
Old 08-06-2004, 03:07 PM   #13
Linux24
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Quote:
Originally posted by SirGertrude
If you only use the GUI I would be inclined to just recompile the kernel without framebuffer support. Of course the downside is that if you do use text mode your resolution will be very low.
Thanks for responding. Every response is help, and I appreciate it.

I generally do everything from the GUI, including drop out to a terminal window. Maybe I shouldn't worry about having a text mode that I can see. My only concern is that if I break X, I cannot see what I am doing to fix anything without going out to a rescue disk. I won't be able to see errors.

And I have gone a week now without dropping back to Windows, and I LOVE IT! I want to stay in Linux, copy my stuff over from there, and keep shrinking Windows back until it is gone. I am already planning my next machine as Linux only, that's how well most everything is working on it.

But I need to be able to see errors during X boot up, so if anyone has any suggestions, I would appreciate them.

This reminds me of the good old days when we were all in BBS's handing around information about how to configure Chameleon TCP/IP for Win 3.1. Can you remember that idiocy? An entire networked operating system without TCP/IP in it? LOL!

Not only do I get to enjoy a better looking, more efficient, more effective operating system, but I don't have to pay a dime (I donated $66 to Mandrake by joining that useless Mandrake Club as thanks to them for the free download), and I never need a product activation key, and Mandrake is not trying to figure out how to lock me out of my stuff if they detect I have an unregistered copy.

So, I get all that, and I get to stick it to Bill Gates. I get it all. I LOVE IT!
 
Old 08-06-2004, 07:24 PM   #14
SirGertrude
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One other thought... make sure, when you compile the kernel, that framebuffer for text mode is enabled and you have selected a font. If it comes down to it you can remove framebuffer from the kernel. Xfree has its own framebuffer driver for the GUI.
 
Old 08-19-2004, 12:49 AM   #15
Linux24
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I finally figured out how to fix this problem. It turns out it is not an issue with Mandrake Linux at all. I blew away my installation and installed 10.1 beta - same thing. Then I blew that away and tried Suse, and it does it too.

Then it dawned on me that at some point I read some tweak suggestions in Maximum PC, and those guys pretty much assume everyone is primarily a gamer trying to run a Windows Xp machine. In one of those articles I went into my BIOS and turned off VGA Pallette Snoop, and AGP Fast Write, and I had Plug and Play OS enabled.

I disabled PNP OS, and enabled the other two (I'm pretty sure VGA Pallette Snoop is necessary for run level 3), and VIOLA! No more blank screen in run level 3.

I'll be *******!!!! This happened before a long time ago when I tweaked my MTU settings to get more out of a modem, and then later went to DSL and a home network, but couldn't make the network talk faster than a modem would work. What was wrong? That stinking setting in the registry left over from over a year before.

I want to thank the people in here who tried in vain to help me, but I was my own enemy. Keep in mind for future questions about a blank screen and wierd issues: Have you tweaked any settings in your BIOS? If you have, untweak them or go back to default settings before blaming the OS for failure to detect hardware, etc.
 
  


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