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Old 10-30-2008, 08:01 PM   #1
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Registered: Oct 2008
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Puppy starts xwin in garbled 640x480 mode with CD boot. How to fix?

I have a live CD with a remastered Puppy 4.1 retro on it. (The remastering was needed for another reason; long story.) Booting from one PC works fine. Booting another PC with that CD caused xwin to start in a weird garbled mode. I can't read the menu dropdowns to change the mode. I guessed and found the xvesa wizard and reset it OK. Then I saved the session to the CD. Now, the PC won't boot from the CD, even when I select the 'skip sessions' boot option.

I made another CD and tried it again, this time using CTRL-ALT-backspace. I then changed the X mode using 'X -mode 0x0166' and it looked ok except obviously xwin didn't start (gray herringbone pattern instead of the desktop). Using CTRL-ALT-backspace again, I typed 'xwin' and it came up garbled again.

I have to use one CD image to boot multiple PCs (another long story). Only one PC has this problem but I will be getting more soon so who knows what they will do?

My question is how can I manually correct this when the video comes up this way? The people using the PCs are savvy enough to follow directions if I write them a procedure to use. I just don't want the procedure to be 'click on the garbled button at the bottom left and then click on the third garbled button from the top and move to the fourth garbled button from bottom. Then...' etc., etc.

There must be an easy way to change the mode from the command line and have xwin come up in that same mode. I looked for xwin options but there didn't appear to be any help for it.

Any ideas?
Old 11-01-2008, 05:00 AM   #2
Registered: Apr 2003
Location: Wisconsin
Distribution: Switched to regualr Ubuntu, because I don't like KDE4, at all. Looks like vista on crack.....
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It's saving the video settings for one machine on that cd, then you are trying to boot a different computer, with the settings for the wrong computer. There should be some cheat codes to specify the video settings. I know there are cheat codes to revert to a clean boot, and ignore the saved settings. You can see most of the cheat codes during the boot process by pressing F3 or some other function key. I googled it quick, and found no answers, but I'll download puppy quick, and see if I can find them quick. What version of puppy are you using ?

Be back in a minute.


P.S. Ok, one fix, is during boot, you can specify to ignore the last few saved sessions, with


Will ignore the last 3 saved sessions, and boot an earlier saved session, increasing the number will eventually get you back to a virgin session.


Will get you a radical file clean up, basically a fresh slate. I don't know what that will do to any data you have, but it should allow you to boot that cd on that machine.

Last edited by budword; 11-01-2008 at 05:15 AM.
Old 11-03-2008, 09:46 AM   #3
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Registered: Oct 2008
Posts: 21

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I figured it out over the weekend. I tried the pfix options without success. What worked was this:

I used CTRL-ALT-BS and then ran xorgwizard. I then chose OK and the system reset the video. I ran xwin at that point and the screen came up OK.

I'm guessing that skipping sessions didn't work since the remaster has a setting already fixed in the bootup. I didn't really intend that but most of the time it's not a problem.

I wrote a procedure that will keep us running in this event. I'm documenting it here in case someone else stumbles onto this issue.

Thanks for your input.


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