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pixian01 06-15-2010 01:20 PM

Acer Aspire One only boots to black screen with mouse pointer
 
Hi, I'm a linux newbie so go easy on me with technical terms.

I've got a Acer Aspire One ZG5. Everything was working fine until one day when I went to switch it on and it shows up everything its suppose to, the blue logo etc but then it loads upto a black screen with the mouse poitner. I can move the mouse pointer around and such and the lights flash but stop suddenly.

I can't use the bios recovery disk as I haven't got a USB big enough.

How can I fix my netbook? I miss it :(

Please help!

Thank you.

Reply if you need any more information!

RockDoctor 06-15-2010 05:03 PM

Question #1: What distro are you running?

Question #2: The last time the system worked properly, did you apply any updates before shutting down?

I've encountered problems similar to that which you describe when an update to either the X-Window system or the desktop environment didn't work as it was supposed to. The fix begins with booting your system from a USB flash drive onto which you've installed a live distro. You then have several options:
a) Try to fix whatever's broken. This may be as simple as editing a configuration file, or it may involve downloading and installing older, known-to-work versions of any programs you installed the last time your system actually worked. When I've encountered problems similar to that which you've described, my first inclination is to downgrade to the older versions of the programs I most recently upgraded
b) grab any important datafiles off your ZG5's internal drive, then wipe the version of Linux on the internal drive and install the live distro. If you're running the version of Linpus Lite that came on your ZG5, then I recommend this option. Furthermore, I recommend you install Ubuntu 10.04 (either the normal desktop or the netbook edition). It's an LTS (long-term support) version, which means 18 months of support, and it appears to be by far the most popular Linux distro among this forum's participants, so help should be fairly easy to obtain.

Of course, there's always the option go out and purchase (or borrow) a 4GB flash drive, install the restore image onto it, and use the restore image on the flash drive to overwrite your ZG5's internal drive.

Wim Sturkenboom 06-15-2010 11:42 PM

A little comment on RockDoctor's LTS comment. Ubuntu LTS versions are normally supported for 3 years (36 months). However the Ubunutu netbook release 10.04 is only supported for 18 months (as are all non-LTS versions).

RockDoctor 06-16-2010 06:54 AM

My bad.

danielgent 08-06-2010 07:20 AM

Hi Pixan,
what did you end up doing with your netbook? I've got an acer aspire netbook here with the same problem. The owner said when it was booting up he nocked the AC cable out (and it had no charge in the battery). Next time he turned it on, it was just black background and cursor. I can't get to a terminal by ctrl+alt+Fx..... so not sure what to do next.
On the linpus website they look slightly different to what I remember. its really stupid that Acer don't provide an image to restore!!!

I could just stick Ubuntu on but the linpus lite was so easy to use. Any ideas would be much appreciated!

Dan Gent

RockDoctor 08-06-2010 09:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by danielgent (Post 4057815)
Hi Pixan,
what did you end up doing with your netbook? I've got an acer aspire netbook here with the same problem. The owner said when it was booting up he nocked the AC cable out (and it had no charge in the battery). Next time he turned it on, it was just black background and cursor. I can't get to a terminal by ctrl+alt+Fx..... so not sure what to do next.
On the linpus website they look slightly different to what I remember. its really stupid that Acer don't provide an image to restore!!!

I could just stick Ubuntu on but the linpus lite was so easy to use. Any ideas would be much appreciated!

Dan Gent

Dan,

I keep a copy of the Linpus recovery image at http://deli.no-ip.org/aa1. Beware that using it will overwrite everything on your SSD.
1. Decompress the aa1_usb_recovery_image.gz file.
2. Use dd to write the uncompressed image file to a 4GB (or larger) USB flash drive.
3. Boot your ZG5 from the flash drive

danielgent 08-09-2010 04:03 PM

wow rockdoctor. hero!

to what do I owe this honour?
I emailed Acer and not even an email back, I take it now they've given up on linux they just don't provide any support at all. So awful.
I was close to installing Ubuntu on this laptop (which is not convenient

It will overwrite just the SSD and not the flash card (where all the documents are stored?). And, on this distribution, all the user files are stored on the flash card? Just checking as thats all I've backed up. Linux is brilliant because its no effort to store user files in a seperate partition so I presume its done that way.

Much thanks for the help, where did you get the distribution from by the way? Do you know a lot about it? I just hope theres not lots of email settings (or even worse actual emails) that are lost!

Thanks very much,
Dan Gent

RockDoctor 08-09-2010 06:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by danielgent (Post 4061029)
... And, on this distribution, all the user files are stored on the flash card? Just checking as thats all I've backed up. Linux is brilliant because its no effort to store user files in a seperate partition so I presume its done that way.

Much thanks for the help, where did you get the distribution from by the way? Do you know a lot about it? I just hope theres not lots of email settings (or even worse actual emails) that are lost!

Thanks very much,
Dan Gent

Reinstalling from the image file won't overwrite the flash card, just the SSD. However, I don't know if the files on the card in the slot will be usable. My understanding is that if you boot Linpus from the SSD with a card in the left slot, anything you add may be stored either on the card or on the SSD (or even possibly partially on both). It's also my understanding that Linpus does not use the SD card in the left slot as a separate partition, but rather as an extension of the SSD. Best bet for recovery of what you have is to boot into console mode. Do you (or can you) get a boot menu when you turn on your AA1 or does it (try) to go directly to the GUI? If you can get a boot menu, it should be possible to boot directly to a terminal (append " 3" without the quotes to the kernel line), which may allow you if not fix the problem, then at least recover all your data files and settings before reinstalling Linpus

Back in the early days of my Aspire One ownership (almost two years ago), somebody posted a link to a copy of the Linpus image for the Aspire One, so I downloaded it. Tried it, didn't like it, wiped it, but kept the image just in case anyone wanted it and couldn't get it from Linpus's or Acer's websites.

RockDoctor 08-09-2010 07:26 PM

Did a little more investigating of the AA1 image. Not sure what the filesystem type is, but FWIW, once the image is dd'd to a flash card, you've got a bootable ext2 filesystem.
Took a look inside the image that actually gets expanded onto the AA1's SSD. The bootloader is grub - the grub.conf file that comes on the SSD is in black - my suggested mods are in red:
Code:

default=0
timeout=60
splashimage=(hd0,0)/boot/grub/splash.xpm.gz
#hiddenmenu

title Linpus Linux RCD
        rootnoverify (hd0,0)
        kernel /boot/bzImage ro root=LABEL=linpus vga=0x311 splash=silent loglevel=1 console=tty1 quiet 3
          initrd /boot/initrd-splash.img

You might want to boot the Aspire One off a bootable thumb drive (any distro will work) and modify /boot/grub/grub.conf on the SSD so that you can boot fromn the SSD to a console. Typing startx at the command prompt should start the X server (which will give you your black screen with a cursor), and, ideally, Ctl-Alt-Backspace will kill the X server and take you back to the command prompt, at which point you can examine /var/log/Xorg.0.log and ~/.xsession-errors to get a handle on the problem.

danielgent 08-10-2010 02:19 AM

wow rockdoctor. thats really, really useful.
I'll boot off an Ubuntu pendrive and try editing the grub files to do that so it actually shows a menu and gives me a choice!
it would be much better to fix this problem and see why it is happening, but if I can't see anything clear then I'll restore the netbook from the image you've so kindly provided.

I use Ubuntu's "disk usage analyzer" and I could only see files on the flash drive (which I've backed up anyway). So at worst I'll just manual restore them from an external.

I'll give it a go when I get a chance and post back!

Thanks,
Dan Gent

danielgent 08-11-2010 09:45 AM

Hi Rockdoctor,

I've download your linpus image but not given it a go yet. Just been trying your suggested grub modification so I can get into the recovery console.
Booted from ubuntu and edited grub.conf. First I had to mess around running chmod 666 (as expected), but on doing the edits to grub.conf the netbook just boots to a black screen!
Changing grub.conf back to the backup I made brings me back to the same black screen and cursor.
hmmmmm. I'll have a bit more of a mess around and post back what i find!

thanks for the help,
dan gent

danielgent 08-11-2010 09:50 AM

On a small note, I edited the grub.conf so that rather than go to option 0 it goes to option 1, the recovery menu, which gives me options to restore the laptop to factory settings!
very useful.

I'll have one more go of booting to your modified options (tell the truth I only just noticed the extra 3 "quiet 3"!)

danielgent 08-11-2010 12:06 PM

Tried adding that extra number "3" after "quiet". Still the same black screen .there was no Acer splash screen so I could tell my changes of unhiding that menu were doing something (so i think).
Just running the recovery management software now. Brilliant. only a minute to finish. i think all that will need to be done is just set the email.

Much thanks,
Dan Gent

RecombinantSock 01-02-2012 03:58 PM

Suffered same issue with an Aspire One. Problem was that disk was slightly scrambled and required a fsck to fix it. Solution was provided by techsupportforum.com

The root of my problem may have been that the automatic low power detect which unsuccessfully tried to hibernate when the juice ran out.


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