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Old 12-03-2013, 09:49 AM   #1
nesseggman
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Registered: Dec 2013
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Unhappy Linux defaulting to external monitor on laptop, display problems, black screen, etc. (more new info)


I am brand new to Linux so please bear with me.

I have been trying to install a few different distros -- two versions of Mint and three versions of Ubuntu -- and with all of them, my laptop screen seemed to turn off as soon as I passed the GRUB screen on the LiveDVD (asking if I wanted to run or install or whatever). It didn't matter what I picked -- always the screen seemed to shut off (no backlight, no display, as if the laptop were off).

I read somewhere that sometimes on laptops Linux defaults to external monitor even though you don't even have one. Went and found an old monitor in my dad's garage and indeed, every single LiveDVD now worked! At the part where the laptop's LCD screen 'shut off,' the external monitor took over.

This is a problem in itself because I don't want to run off external monitor, I want to use the normal native LCD screen on the laptop. I will almost never have an external monitor around me.

Also, when I ran the latest Mint Cinnamon LiveDVD using the external monitor, it would play a chime and then load what looks like a splash screen -- white with two 3D-looking logos. There is a cursor that I can move around but other than that, nothing else happens. If I press the power button on my laptop, I get power options. But I can't do anything with the actual OS itself other than look at these logos on a white bg.

So first, I would like to know how to make it stop defaulting to the external monitor so I can do this without having to look at random dusty monitor sitting on my floor...

And secondly, if I'm getting stuck at some kind of splash screen (and this isn't related to the previous problem), how can I get around that?

Please be as detailed as possible as I am a complete noob coming from Windows and have never seen Linux OS in action before in my life.

I am using Lenovo G780 notebook, UEFI, Windows 8 64-bit Pre-installed (wanting to dual-boot), Intel HD graphics 4000. Generic PnP Monitor display. Have the newest firmware (5ECN64WW v9.something)as of today.

ETA: If I use the "nomodeset" thing, it doesn't use the external monitor, and uses the Generic PnP Monitor as wanted... but it just makes a bunch of tiny, distorted displays across the top of the screen (like multiple copies of the screen, but really small and garbled) and it gets to a grey and blue screen that seems like it's wanting me to pick between two options, but I can't read any of the little screens or anything. I have no idea what is even going on.

ETA: Using nomodeset/i915.modeset=0, I get the multiple tiny screens across the top of my monitor. Using default boot or i915.modeset=1, I get display only on external monitor, and then I reach a wallpaper but the rest of the OS does not load (the disc drive goes quiet, too, no longer trying to load anything). I see the white wallpaper with the two logos and nothing else. I can move the cursor via mouse, but that's it. Adding driver=intel and/or grub_gfxmode=1280x1024x32 does not change the outcome.

I can use CTRL+ALT+DEL on the wallpaper screen and it will give me shut down options. If I switch user or whatever, I go to a werid screen that's green and white graphic and has a power icon in the corner where I get shut down options. Nothing else is on this screen.

CTRL+ALT+F4 gives me some kind of command line or something.

Last edited by nesseggman; 12-03-2013 at 11:14 PM.
 
Old 12-03-2013, 11:51 AM   #2
gacanepa
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Distribution: Debian
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I believe the UEFI is causing this issue. Check this thread to see if it helps you: http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=137811
 
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Old 12-03-2013, 05:17 PM   #3
nesseggman
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Thanks for your comment. I have seen that link (and many others about black screens, UEFI, etc.) I should have mentioned that the problem persists whether I boot normally in UEFI or if I change to Legacy Mode. The LiveDVD runs differently depending on if it's in UEFI or Legacy... it will either boot with a text-only grub menu, or it will start with the 10 second countdown with a graphical display. I've only tried a Legacy boot with the Mint disc (I have to keep rewriting the same DVD-RW lol)

I've followed all the steps that seem to cause problems with UEFI (disabled Secure Boot, completely disabled Windows 8's fast boot thing). I don't have an Intel motherboard so I'm pretty sure I don't have Intel SRT (or at least I have no option to disable it anywhere) nor do I have some "FastBoot" option to disable. I've tried both UEFI mode and Legacy Mode plenty of times with various combinations.

I don't want to uninstall or reinstall Windows 8, and I don't really understand how it would change anything.

http://imageshack.com/a/img801/9919/1heu.jpg

This is what it looks like when I modify the boot code thingy to have nomodeset or the i915.modeset=0 or anything like that. It runs the little splash screen or all the text flying by (depending on whether I disable the quiet splash or not) in little screens like that too. I have no idea how to describe this other than "little screens." They overlap. And unlike when it runs on the external monitor, it goes to this grey screen with a blue highlighted selection. I can choose two things, a left and right option... If I press ESC twice it exits to a command prompt or something? I can't really tell what's going on, but it kind of looks like the text that displays just before the GUI appears when it runs on the external monitor.

When it runs on the external monitor, it displays the quiet splash screen for a while and then seems to open the GUI but doesn't get past the wallpaper.

http://imageshack.com/a/img854/7503/o70t.jpg

That's what it goes to when I don't modify the boot code thing and it defaults to displaying on an external monitor (whether I have one connected or not). It only displays that wallpaper and a mouse cursor. I can move the cursor with the mouse, but nothing else ever seems to show up. I've sat for a while, and the DVD drive stops reading. I can press CTRL+ALT+DEL to get a log out menu, I can press the hard power button on my laptop to get a power menu, and I can press CTRL+ALT+F4 to get a command prompt. Have no idea what I should or could do from there.

Both of these outcomes occur whether I boot in UEFI or Legacy Mode.
 
Old 12-03-2013, 05:36 PM   #4
Sydney
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Hi, I think that you are seeing a mirror on your external monitor. Maybe your laptop monitor resolution is having trouble with the defaults. You can change some of video settings at boot by editing the command in the Grub menu.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 12-03-2013, 06:03 PM   #5
nesseggman
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Registered: Dec 2013
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Thank you for your response. I have tried adding GRUB_GFXMODE=1280x1024x32 to the startup command thing you can edit. I'll try with various other settings and see how it goes. Is this what you're referring to? I'm not sure what other options are available to me, and not really sure what documentation I should be looking at to find this out. Trying to find it but not seeing anything relevant and new.

I've seen people adding things like @75 after this, but I don't know what that means (is it a percentage?) and I'm not seeing it in the Grub2/Setup documentation.

I don't know if it's notable, but when I use nomodeset or i915.modeset=0, I get display (though distorted) only on the laptop's screen (external monitor is still in standby as if it wasn't even connected). When I use modeset=1 or the default startup, I get display only on the external monitor (the laptop monitor shuts off)

The native resolution of the laptop screen is 1600x900.

ETA:

Okay, I tried another distro (most recent version of Fedora).

It does the same things pretty much -- if I run default or certain settings, will only load the wallpaper on the external monitor. If I do certain settings like i915.modeset=0 or whatever, instead of tiny distorted screens, it just runs through the text log for a while and eventually just... stops. The disc stops reading and it never proceeds to the GUI.

When running with default settings, using an external monitor, I can move the mouse like normal. However, now I can also right click and access the settings menu! It automatically opens the display settings when I do this. I'm able to choose to duplicate the display (it recognizes that I'm using an ext monitor and that I have a laptop monitor). If I choose to turn off the external monitor, I think have no display at all (nothing on the laptop Generic PnP, still as if it were turned off). I tried all kinds of settings and most things either make the display look horrible (everything is huge and going off the screen) or I lose display completely.

The one thing that works -- albeit dubiously -- is to choose to duplicate the display on both monitors. It will first do nothing, except slightly change the look of the external monitor's display (laptop pnp will still be as if it were off, like always), and then ask me if I want to keep the settings. If I choose NO and return to the previous settings however, I now have display on both screens!

This new display setup is very strange. The basic desktop (wallpaper and menu bar across top) is displayed on the laptop screen, while the plain wallpaper (with no menu bar or anything) is displayed on the ext monitor. The display settings menu is still open on the ext monitor (but not on the laptop screen).

The mouse cursor is now only on the laptop screen and will not display on the ext monitor. I can play around in the OS -- tried opening pictures and videos and various things. I can detect my wifi router but connection does not work. Can't do much because I need codecs or this or that to use most files, and can't get them because I have no internet connection (didn't try wired connection yet, mostly just want to find a fix to the display thing).

Most things I do only affect the laptop screen. Most applications, directory navigation, etc. seem to open on the laptop screen and nothing ever happens on the ext monitor.

If I choose "Settings" from the menu bar at the top, it will open the settings menu on the laptop screen, but now have two menus on the ext monitor -- the left side of the screen still shows the display settings, and the right side now has the welcome menu (where it asks me to choose to try Fedora or install it to disc).

Various things will slightly change the display on the ext monitor this way. If I choose the display settings, it will just do nothing on the laptop screen. Perhaps because it's already being shown on the ext monitor. I can navigate the content on the ext monitor using the keyboard, but there is no graphical indication of what I'm doing (I just have to count how many times I've pressed the tab key, for example, to guess which field I am currently interacting with). No matter how I change the display settings, I either lose display completely (neither monitor is getting a signal) or end up with the ext monitor display only (still not showing any of the GUI except the wallpaper, mouse cursor, and display settings.)

I feel like I'm getting close, and it has to be something with the default display settings not working properly with my hardware, but I'm not sure what to change. I've tried adding various things to the code you can edit before boot, like

nomodeset
i915.modeset=0
i915.modeset=1
GRUB_GFXMODE=1280x1024x32
GRUB_GFXMODE=1600x900x32
driver=intel

and various combinations of those above. Both in UEFI and Legacy mode (I don't think this is related, though?) And using all the options given at the GRUB menu (like how Mint had a regular boot and a boot in compatibility mode; both did the same thing. Fedora's two boot options were the same result, too, it just performed some kind of check before one boot)

Every combination of them results in either of these two things:

* some kind of distorted display on the laptop screen with no signal to the ext monitor, completely unusable
* improperly functioning OS appearing only on ext monitor with no signal to the laptop screen (this is also what happens by default settings)

And then from that second result, I can do what I described above.

I have had very similar problems with Ubuntu, Mint, and Fedora. The exact display distortions are a little different between each, but it's the same essential result. In Fedora I was able to right click and do all the stuff I described above, but couldn't figure out how to fix it on my own.

I've tried searching many forums and documentation for a solution but I'm really lost as to why it's even doing this. Any self-troubleshooting I'm doing just further confuses me lol.

ETA:

Here's some pictures. I get the distorted screens using Ubuntu or Mint, but using Fedora, if I do nomodeset or pretty much anything to mess with the display settings, and it doesn't go to the ext monitor, this happens:

http://imageshack.com/a/img43/4466/1cjr.jpg (when booting the installed version from HDD, slowly adds those messages like at the bottom over time... doesn't seem to go forward at all)

http://imageshack.com/a/img822/5607/cev5.jpg (when booting from the LiveDVD, gets to this point and disc stops reading and never starts again)

Also, some new info: after trying to install Fedora to the HDD, now when I load with default settings, it still activates the ext monitor, but the screen stays black forever (the backlight is on, but nothing is being displayed... after a while, the backlight becomes a little brighter but there is no display)

Perhaps something in those could be a clue? I have a feeling I just need to type the right command or something somewhere to make sure it understands my screen and can display to it properly... but all of the ones I'm finding as supposed solutions to this type of problem do not work.

ETA:

Upon even more research, it seems like there might be a problem with a clash between the Intel HD Graphics 4000 card and the kernel. Apparently there are issues with 3.2 and 3.4 kernel and that card. However, a uname -r command shows me I have 3.9.something kernel.

I have no idea how to change the kernel when I can't even access the OS to begin with. I can only press CTRL+ALT+F4 to get to command prompt from the black screen when it boots into the ext monitor using default boot settings.

I also noticed that after going to the command prompt, I occasionally will see one of these pop up:

brcmsmac bcma0:0: phyerr 0x20, rate 0xa

Which I get a ton of those if I use nomodeset or whatever to get a laptop display (which doesn't even end up at a black screen, just hangs during boot giving me a bunch of the above messages)

Last edited by nesseggman; 12-04-2013 at 04:43 AM. Reason: added a bunch of new info again!
 
Old 12-05-2013, 04:23 AM   #6
nesseggman
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Registered: Dec 2013
Posts: 8

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I've been trying all kinds of things with the displays still to no avail.

I'd like to try changing the kernel to see if it works, but I have no idea how to do that. Note I can't get into the OS at all, but I don't think there's a way to unpack a new kernel from Windows lol. I also have no idea how to do it either way, plus I don't know if it would be better to get a newer kernel or an older one or what...

If anyone can shed some light on this, it would be really helpful... I've been trying to find info on how to change the kernel but it is always too advanced for me. I've never used Linux before so I don't know what half the stuff they are saying means... I don't even know the most simple commands and syntax from the command prompt.

So is there a way to change Linux kernel from within Windows? Is it even possible to do it from Linux when I can't even access the GUI?
 
Old 12-05-2013, 07:12 AM   #7
gacanepa
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Distribution: Debian
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nesseggman View Post
I've been trying all kinds of things with the displays still to no avail.

I'd like to try changing the kernel to see if it works, but I have no idea how to do that. Note I can't get into the OS at all, but I don't think there's a way to unpack a new kernel from Windows lol. I also have no idea how to do it either way, plus I don't know if it would be better to get a newer kernel or an older one or what...

If anyone can shed some light on this, it would be really helpful... I've been trying to find info on how to change the kernel but it is always too advanced for me. I've never used Linux before so I don't know what half the stuff they are saying means... I don't even know the most simple commands and syntax from the command prompt.

So is there a way to change Linux kernel from within Windows? Is it even possible to do it from Linux when I can't even access the GUI?
What you mean by "changing the kernel" is "re-compiling the kernel". And yes, it is something that you may want to tackle later in the future . And yes again, there seems to be an issue with your graphics card and your current version of the kernel, as documented here (among other sites).
However, there is a way to use a different kernel - at least to discard it as the root cause of your issue. Download a previous version of Linux Mint (Maya, for example, that uses kernel 3.5 and is supported until April 2017). Hope it helps.
 
  


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