Are you trying to boot Knoppix from cd or from hard drive installation?
If from cd, did you compare the md5sum of the knoppix .iso with the md5sum from the website from which you downloaded knoppix. It could be a corrupt .iso or a bad burn to cd that's causing the problem.
Failsafe mode doesn't start many services, and doesn't do much hardware detection. Download a copy of knoppix cheat codes to see what boot options you can give to skip or apply some option on boot. Laptops often need some special option to boot properly.
is your friend. You can try googling for information relative to getting your laptop to boot with knoppix.