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Old 08-16-2016, 02:27 PM   #1
Gregg Bell
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computer on the ropes


Update to this post. I got the computer working but I'm still not ready to call this 'solved.' See the latest post at #5. Thanks.

I'm running Xubuntu 16.04LTS. The computer is a custom build and normally works great, but since my last upgrade from 15.10 to 16.04 I've been having problems, most notably an 18 minute boot up time. I've tried tons of fixes. Nothing worked. I learned to live with it.

However, lately I had to remove the ethernet cord and when I replaced it I lost the little functionality I had, including the 18 minute boot.

I was able to get in via the recovery mode so I saved my data, but nothing else (I used to be able to boot to an older kernel via the grub loader) is working.

I was going to try to run the computer from a disc but now I can't even seem to get into the BIOS. (F12 gets me into this rudimentary boot menu that doesn't work. F2 does nothing. F8 and F12 get me into the grub loader.)

I feel I'd have a chance to at least run it from the installation disc if I could get into the BIOS. Any ideas on how to do it?

And I'm not even sure that's optimal because I won't be using the latest kernel. And I wonder if functionality will suffer.

And one more observation: the red light is often on at the ethernet port. I opened the computer and that ethernet connection is part of the motherboard so there were no cables to tighten. I tightened whatever cables there were. It made no difference.

I could take the computer to a tech guy near me but I'm pretty sure he'll charge me a hundred just to look at it. I think I'd be better off just buying a refurbished machine at Newegg for a hundred.

Thanks.

Last edited by Gregg Bell; 08-16-2016 at 04:17 PM. Reason: got computer working
 
Old 08-16-2016, 03:19 PM   #2
rokytnji
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My ethernet problem ended up being a bad cable. The light would not light up on the back of the computer. So even though the cable is new. I'd replace it again with a good used one to be sure.

For the bios. Pull the cmos battery and leave it out for 15 minutes or so with the power unplugged from the back and no power what so ever to the computer. Reinstall cmos battery and cross your fingers the bios resets to it's defaults.

For borked Ubuntu 16 upgrade/install. Md5sum new iso. Back up old stuff to external 1TB usb hard drive. Then do a fresh install and start over.

Been there. Done that. Numerous times.
 
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Old 08-16-2016, 03:38 PM   #3
IsaacKuo
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I'm guessing you don't have an ethernet card just lying around, or you'd already have tried using that. Because it sounds like your motherboard has problems, and at the very least the ethernet hardware is not working properly. That's a common failure, and it can either happen with nothing else going bad - or it can be alongside other stuff going bad.

A cheap replacement is a good option, IMO. If you look for off-lease corporate fleet laptops, you can get a rather usable laptop from eBay for $30. Basically, you do a search for "Fujitsu Lifebook" or some other common laptop branding and look for a big group of obviously near-identical listings from a seller. Look for auctions rather than "buy it now", because you'll be able to get an auction cheaper. Because there are so many identical listings, you just have to be patient and you'll be able to get something for the low starting bid eventually.

Typically, such used laptops have no hard drive (which may be an issue for you since your hard drive is probably a big 3.5" drive), and no power supply. But you can get a Fujitsu Lifebook power supply for $6 on eBay, so that's not a big deal.
 
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Old 08-16-2016, 04:12 PM   #4
Gregg Bell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rokytnji View Post
My ethernet problem ended up being a bad cable. The light would not light up on the back of the computer. So even though the cable is new. I'd replace it again with a good used one to be sure.

For the bios. Pull the cmos battery and leave it out for 15 minutes or so with the power unplugged from the back and no power what so ever to the computer. Reinstall cmos battery and cross your fingers the bios resets to it's defaults.

For borked Ubuntu 16 upgrade/install. Md5sum new iso. Back up old stuff to external 1TB usb hard drive. Then do a fresh install and start over.

Been there. Done that. Numerous times.
Thanks rokytnji. I checked that the cable works with another computer. The computer actually came on after a half hour or so. I don't know why. I will definitely do your cmos battery reinstall if I have more trouble. I fortunately was able to back stuff up from recovery mode. I also did the fresh install, but I think I did it with the same disk twice. The disk was Md5sum checked and passed. Still if I do it again I'll be sure to do it with a new iso.

Since you say 'been there, done that. Numerous times.' Is this an issue only with Xubuntu or all kinds of Ubuntu distros?

I was thinking of trying Mint (if I can acess the BIOS, that is) but really the problem seems to be with the computer and not with the Xubuntu.

It's been a good lesson in backing up data regularly. I got pretty lax there--and pretty panicked when it wouldn't boot.
 
Old 08-16-2016, 04:16 PM   #5
Gregg Bell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IsaacKuo View Post
I'm guessing you don't have an ethernet card just lying around, or you'd already have tried using that. Because it sounds like your motherboard has problems, and at the very least the ethernet hardware is not working properly. That's a common failure, and it can either happen with nothing else going bad - or it can be alongside other stuff going bad.

A cheap replacement is a good option, IMO. If you look for off-lease corporate fleet laptops, you can get a rather usable laptop from eBay for $30. Basically, you do a search for "Fujitsu Lifebook" or some other common laptop branding and look for a big group of obviously near-identical listings from a seller. Look for auctions rather than "buy it now", because you'll be able to get an auction cheaper. Because there are so many identical listings, you just have to be patient and you'll be able to get something for the low starting bid eventually.

Typically, such used laptops have no hard drive (which may be an issue for you since your hard drive is probably a big 3.5" drive), and no power supply. But you can get a Fujitsu Lifebook power supply for $6 on eBay, so that's not a big deal.
Thanks Isaac. Yeah, no Ethernet card lying around. And I'm still newbie enough that I wouldn't have known what to do if it was. The only reason I'm not convinced the problem might not be a hardware issue is because all the dysfunction started with the upgrade. But who knows.

Great tips about buying on eBay. I am using a desktop but sounds like I might apply the same startegy with that. Appreciate it.
 
Old 08-16-2016, 04:26 PM   #6
rokytnji
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Quote:
Since you say 'been there, done that. Numerous times.'
Just ubuntu upgrades and tests with systemd installation on a non systemd compatible distro.

PS. I get free desktop computers from my City Hall. Cuz I am special.

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...d-deliver-174/

My free media center in my motorcycle shop <wireless>

Edit: Just for info. I have found delayed Ubuntu bootup due to looking for Bluetooth. Installing a cheap bluetooth usb solved that for me.

Last edited by rokytnji; 08-16-2016 at 04:31 PM.
 
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Old 08-16-2016, 06:36 PM   #7
ardvark71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregg Bell View Post
The only reason I'm not convinced the problem might not be a hardware issue is because all the dysfunction started with the upgrade. But who knows.
Hi Gregg...

I remember the other thread you had concerning the 18 minute boot-up problem. Since you backed everything up, try wiping the hard drive and reinstalling Xubuntu (or Mint) from scratch and see if that resolves the problem. I'd be curious. If the problem continues, you could always go back to the previous version or try another distribution.

Regards...

Last edited by ardvark71; 08-16-2016 at 06:38 PM. Reason: Added comment.
 
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Old 08-17-2016, 12:21 AM   #8
Ztcoracat
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Try other distributions that are not Ubuntu based (Mint is Ubuntu based btw) and see if you still have a lag in boot up time.
If you don't than it's most likely not a hardware issue.

-::-In some cases recompiling the kernel can make certain problems go away.-::-

Give Fedora or CentOS a spin:-
https://spins.fedoraproject.org/
https://www.centos.org/download/

Debian is another good choice-
https://www.debian.org/distrib/

I've ran all 3 distributions over the years and they never had any delays in boot time or gave me any performance issues.
 
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Old 08-17-2016, 01:24 AM   #9
Weapon S
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Despite the problems only starting after an upgrade, that sounds like a hardware problem. Updating a BIOS can have similar effects.
It's a lot to take in, but here's a flow chart that deals with most hardware issues:
http://www.fonerbooks.com/poster.pdf
Basically: unplug all peripherals (including extension cards and storage devices), check power supply, check memory, try peripherals one by one, try peripherals together, check storage device.
 
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Old 08-17-2016, 02:29 AM   #10
sidzen
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@ OP

"The only reason I'm not convinced the problem might not be a hardware issue is because all the dysfunction started with the upgrade. But who knows"
-----------------------

I ran into similar issues attempting to install newer sistros on older laptop.

Ended up to be misaligned partitions on the SSD in one instance. With another, I thought it may be the opical disc drive (also an attempt at a 'buntu 16.04 install that failed) but was wrong, again! I took time to make sure of no overlapping partitions, changed out the RAM sticks (replacing them with an identical set) and made sure the optics on odd were clean, and tried again.

Results? any distro with systemd caused prolems on my old machine. One Debian distro that touts itself as 'non-systemd' left remnanats of a GPT tabel at end of hdd and I had to wipe it before attempting another install. Two different ubuntu-based distros (I wanted netflix) -- Lite and Mint -- failed me.

I think it is because, on upgrade, EFIs with apparently unbreakable 'dependencies' on systemd are installed. As you say, "Who knows!"

Upshot -- i am now using Scientific and Salix.
Debian/Ubuntu are now intertwined, it seems to me. I will treat them as such. (Aside: I wonder what Ian Murdoch would say?)

Re: kernel. Scientific 7.2 uses as 3.10 kernel ootb.

BTW, I have a new in-the-box SystemVinit desktop mobo (smaller form factor, I can't remember which) for AMD. If interested, private message me.

sidzen

Last edited by sidzen; 08-17-2016 at 02:31 AM.
 
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Old 08-17-2016, 02:38 PM   #11
ondoho
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gregg bell, i helped you with one or two issues a while back.

when i noticed that you were amassing problems & threads, i thought: ok, he wants to learn the hard way. can't say i did much better in my early linux days.

...well, by now i get the impression that you're in over your head & suffering.
i think you should put a plug in it.
maybe try to install & actually use a system, instead of borking it over and over?
meaning, just stick to the defaults, and if you have a real problem (e.g. wifi) read & understand BEFORE you start messing around.

relevant xkcd comic:
https://xkcd.com/456/
 
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Old 08-17-2016, 03:14 PM   #12
mrmazda
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregg Bell View Post
Update to this post.
That looks like a link, but isn't, so I couldn't check out your history.
Quote:
The computer is a custom build.
Custom built how long ago? What model motherboard, and power supply? Are they old enough for crud buildup to have made it time for cleaning and inspection? Delays are a common result of failing hardware, often electrolytic caps going or gone bad in the PS, especially if the PS was included in the price of a budget-priced case.
 
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Old 08-29-2016, 12:57 PM   #13
Gregg Bell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ardvark71 View Post
Hi Gregg...

I remember the other thread you had concerning the 18 minute boot-up problem. Since you backed everything up, try wiping the hard drive and reinstalling Xubuntu (or Mint) from scratch and see if that resolves the problem. I'd be curious. If the problem continues, you could always go back to the previous version or try another distribution.

Regards...
Ardvark, this is probably bordering on Linux heresy but I'm just living with the problem. At this point I'm figuring only a new computer will solve the problem and this computer works great once it boots up so I'm not getting a new computer. I lost track of this thread and apologize for the late reply.
 
Old 08-29-2016, 12:59 PM   #14
Gregg Bell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ztcoracat View Post
Try other distributions that are not Ubuntu based (Mint is Ubuntu based btw) and see if you still have a lag in boot up time.
If you don't than it's most likely not a hardware issue.

-::-In some cases recompiling the kernel can make certain problems go away.-::-

Give Fedora or CentOS a spin:-
https://spins.fedoraproject.org/
https://www.centos.org/download/

Debian is another good choice-
https://www.debian.org/distrib/

I've ran all 3 distributions over the years and they never had any delays in boot time or gave me any performance issues.

Thanks Ztcoracat. I tried to run the computer off a disc and even that was a hassle (including the 18 minute boot time). For right now I'm living with the boot time because besides that the computer runs great. Sorry for the late response--I lost track of the thread.
 
Old 08-29-2016, 01:03 PM   #15
Gregg Bell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weapon S View Post
Despite the problems only starting after an upgrade, that sounds like a hardware problem. Updating a BIOS can have similar effects.
It's a lot to take in, but here's a flow chart that deals with most hardware issues:
http://www.fonerbooks.com/poster.pdf
Basically: unplug all peripherals (including extension cards and storage devices), check power supply, check memory, try peripherals one by one, try peripherals together, check storage device.
Thanks Weapon. Sorry for the late response. I lost track of the thread and the computer was working good (it still had the 18 minute boot time though) so I decided to live with the delayed boot time. That is one amazing flow chart. If I knew more I might tackle it but for now I'll just keep bluffing.
 
  


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