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Old 06-06-2008, 09:59 AM   #1
JoseCuervo
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Debian Etch can't locate a monitor, using an nVidia 8600 GT. n00b here.


Hi, I just installed Debian for the first time, and I know nothing about Linux at all. When I boot into Debian it tells me that the 'x' server couldn't start and that it could not locate a screen. I'm using Debian Etch on an nVidia 8600 GT, and I have not installed any drivers for it in Debian. The OS itself seems fine, it drops me to text only, which seems to work. I know a tiny, tiny bit about unix shells from messing around with some Unix systems in college, but I'm still clueless. I searched on here so I wasn't asking a repetitive question, and I found a very similar situation. Debian Etch, black screen, problems with the 'x' server, and the other person is also using an nVidia 8600. However, the help suggested there is way over my head. So, if you guys have free time to walk me through what I need to do I'd appreciate it. Thanks!
 
Old 06-06-2008, 10:49 AM   #2
Dutch Master
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First, you'd need to figure out if the kernel sees the graphics card.
Code:
lspci -vvv | grep nVidia > video.txt
This command (as root!) lists all PCI devices, tells you all it can possibly find out about them, but limits itself to lines that contain the word nVidia. It then redirects the output to a text file video.txt you can read, and even better, post here We'd also want to see the contents of the xorg.conf file. We'll go from there.
 
Old 06-08-2008, 09:56 AM   #3
JoseCuervo
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I tried the commands, and was locked out of root. For some reason the root password I had installed didn't work. I figured I'd messed it up, and forgotten it in two hours which is possible with me, so I did a complete reinstall and was very careful.

Tried the commands again, and again my root password is not being accepted. I'm not sure what to do, reinstall again or what? Thanks.
 
Old 06-08-2008, 08:47 PM   #4
farslayer
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tried the command and your root password was not accepted..

you need to swith to root first before trying the command if you are trying to use sudo like in Ubuntu it's most likely not configured and would be your user password anyway, not the root password.

su -


enter root password, then

lspci -vvv | grep nVidia > video.txt
 
Old 06-12-2008, 01:33 AM   #5
JoseCuervo
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I ran lspci -vvv | grep nVidia > video.txt as root, and the file created showed:

01.00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation unknown device 0402 (rev a 1)(prog-if 00 [VGA])

the xorg.conf file in etc/X11/ showed a bunch of different screen resolutions and at the bottom, the only distinct part that I thought looked helpful said:

Section "DRI"
Mode 0666

Side question, once I enter root with the su command how do I leave root? Does the root only last for the command I run with it? Is there a way to drop back down to normal user? Thanks in advance.
 
Old 06-12-2008, 01:42 AM   #6
JoseCuervo
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A couple more things, I've been Googling this problem and I've seen a lot of traffic that go along the lines of "Halp! nVidia 8600... black screen... 'x' server... drivers..." So I know this is a common problem. When I view my xorg.conf file it prints me a nice screen full of information, and I'm pretty sure that I'm at the bottom of more than just the visible print. How do I go back up to view it? Like I said, horribly new to anything Unix related.

Also, if I'm switching between Etch and XP to talk to you guys about this problem, how do I show you the contents of a file? Is it simply transpose by hand from screen to paper to screen?
 
Old 06-12-2008, 06:08 AM   #7
Dutch Master
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You can redirect the output of a command to a file, like I showed you above, with the > operand. The file is named in the command (in the above case: video.txt) and you can copy that file to XP when Linux mounts the Win-partition.
 
Old 06-12-2008, 10:53 AM   #8
farslayer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoseCuervo View Post
Side question, once I enter root with the su command how do I leave root? Does the root only last for the command I run with it? Is there a way to drop back down to normal user? Thanks in advance.
simply type exit


also you can ssh to your Linux PC from your other computer to cut and paste log info or issue the commands.

if your other machine is running Windows, download a program called putty

Last edited by farslayer; 06-12-2008 at 10:55 AM.
 
Old 06-13-2008, 01:29 AM   #9
JoseCuervo
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I created a Fat32 partition on my computer a little over a gig in size to make tradomg back and forth between Etch and Windows simpler. I'm going to move the video.txt file to this new partition in Linux and then reboot and access it in Windows. This should make it easier to copy the files and post them here. Just one snag: I don't know how to copy video.txt to this new partition. What commands do I use? Copy command, video.txt, but then what directory is this new partition going to be in? I don't know anything about locating partitions in Linux, and don't want to break something by accident.

Also, when I type a command like help that typically returns pages worth of information how do I view it all? I'm stuck only viewing the bottom screen worth. How can I move back to the top of the data or display it as I want?
 
Old 06-13-2008, 02:04 AM   #10
pinniped
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Until you sort out the NVidia driver, look in the "Device" section of your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file and
set the driver to "vesa". AT least htis will give you an 800x600 pixel screen.

To install the NVidia drivers, you have the option of the Debian scripts or else the NVidia installer (get it from the NVidia website). If you use the NVidia installer, make sure you get a version of the driver which will work with your version kernel and X.Org.

In either case, you need a compiler and the kernel headers:
apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r)

I can't rememebr how to find out what version of GCC compiler you need. More later when I have time to type again.
 
Old 06-20-2008, 10:31 AM   #11
JoseCuervo
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Thanks, I set the driver to 'vesa' and I do now have a GUI that loads. Here's the (belated) output from the xorg file:

01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation Unknown device 0402 (rev a1) (prog-if 00 [VGA])

Now I have to install the drivers for the nVidia card, which I can do in terminal, right?
 
Old 06-20-2008, 11:08 AM   #12
farslayer
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before attempting to install drivers for that card. you should update your PCI ID Database, since it is currently showing your card as unknown device..

update-pciids

Once you do that, it may detect your card model properly..
 
Old 06-20-2008, 09:01 PM   #13
JoseCuervo
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Ran (as root) and the new video.txt file (I kept the same name because I fell off a bike and broke my originality as a [younger] child) shows:

01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation GeForce 8600 GT (rev a1) ( prog-if 00 [VGA controller])

which I do believe is what we wanted. Now to update the drivers.
 
Old 06-21-2008, 06:36 PM   #14
pinniped
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"Now to update the drivers"

That's the (not so) fun part. You have 2 options:
1. Install Debian packages - and hope that you get the best driver.
2. Download the installer directly from NVidia, which will most likely work but puts files all over the place which the Debian package manager doesn't know about.

Either way, you need to install your kernel headers if you build anything from source:
apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r)

To install using the Debian packages:
apt-get install nvidia-kernel-common nvidia-glx nvidia-kernel-$(uname -r)

Instead of 'nvidia-kernel-$(uname -r)' you can instead install 'nvidia-kernel-source' which should build the driver; but if it's only going to be the same driver as in 'nvidia-kernel-$(uname -r)' then there's no point.
 
Old 06-23-2008, 01:12 PM   #15
JoseCuervo
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Updated the Linux headers no problem, and I was about to update the drivers as well, but I decided to hold off for a second. If the package manager is unaware of the scattered files created through the nVidia driver, what do I actually have to do to fix this?
 
  


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