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Old 04-17-2007, 01:44 PM   #1
Registered: Feb 2005
Posts: 126

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Etch - Occasionally black screen just before login screen

I'm running Debian Etch - its the first time I'm running Debian and I'm REALLY impressed with it overall. Except for one nagging issue

Sometimes when I boot my beloved Etch, the screen goes black just before the login screen and nothing happens...when I reboot everything is fine and I get the login screen as expected. What could be the cause of this? Let me mention that I have disabled a few bootup services to quicken the boot process....could that be the problem? But if thats the issue, things should not get normal on other occassions or when I reboot???

I was havin the same problem with Opensuse 10.2.....but when I reinstalled Opensuse 10.2, the same problem cropped up, ALTHOUGH it was a fresh install and I had not fiddled with any of the default Suse settins or services. So I had to dump Suse.

Thought it maybe coz Opensuse is not that stable so I moved to Etch. But I'm having the same problem and I'm getting this feeling that this does not have anything to do with my disabling of the bootup services.

I'm running Xfce on Etch. I have a simple (a bit old) PC with Intel Celeron 2.40GHz and Intel integrated graphics with 256MB RAM. Its Intel D845GVSR to be precise


Should I reinstall, leave ALL settings intact and see if it goes well or not? I've no probs reinstalling.

Last edited by coolblue; 04-17-2007 at 01:45 PM.
Old 04-18-2007, 09:29 AM   #2
Registered: Feb 2004
Location: Homeless
Distribution: PCLinuxOS
Posts: 170

Rep: Reputation: 30
Well I think a reinstall is a little drastic without more troubleshooting and afraid I am answering your questions with more questions but...

When you say the screen goes black and nothing happens, do you actually have harddrive activity? Is the "sleep" light on on the monitor as though it has lost signal?

Have you tried waiting a few minutes. Then, if it is still black (I don't know what your XCFE login would look like normally) but go through the motions as though you could see it?

Is it possible that at some point just before it loads X that the monitor is asked for a refresh rate change and blacks out? I have several debian installs and the computers have monitors that react in different ways to such a situation. Some give an "out of frequency" message but one will just go blank (the computer is fine and I can go to a console login "blind typing")

Have you tried booting to a console login rather than loading X?
Old 04-18-2007, 10:24 AM   #3
Registered: Feb 2005
Posts: 126

Original Poster
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I reinstalled Etch using CD#1 with the Gnome desktop and that black screen problem has not appeared so far.

Now there is another strange problem: When I shut down my Etch system, it all goes fine, but just after "Will now halt the system" message,
I see a lot of text roll up the screen very quickly, something like this:

ide...failed to unmount..blah blah blah.

It rolls up the screen so quickly that I can hardly read anything. I see lotsa lines more or less like this, and the system then quickly shuts down.

Everything else is fine and smooth, and I've no problems on startup. I see these errors ONLY at shutdown.

I don't understand whats causing this. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Apart from this minor glitch, my Etch is running like a beauty
Old 04-18-2007, 10:10 PM   #4
Registered: Feb 2004
Location: Homeless
Distribution: PCLinuxOS
Posts: 170

Rep: Reputation: 30
Well, Cool, I am glad you have it sorted out. I still think it was a little drastic but in my early days I did reinstalls on practically a daily basis so I can understand

As for the messages on shutdown, I don't know what log (check out the goodies in var/log) would hold the messages on shutdown. Errors to the effect of can't "whatever"... It often happens that you have a service starting that you don't want. Then you remove that service starting in the particular run level, but you neglect to remove that service from the respective shutdown run level and naturally it can't stop it because it never started (logical, no?). Did you customize this install yet by removing unwanted services? Be sure to remove the stopping of the service from the shutdown run level as well.

Otherwise, just be quick on the draw and try and read that error message! Great folks here more knowledgable then myself and I am sure somebody could steer you in the right direction with more information.


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