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Old 08-08-2015, 03:48 PM   #1
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Ubuntu 14.04.3 LTS x64 freezes at login after minor updates

After restarting a working system after a series of routine updates, Ubuntu hangs at the login screen. There are a few troubling flashes before the login screen arrives -- but the login GUI draws fine. By 'freeze', I mean that both keyboard and mouse are unresponsive, I am unable to switch to a terminal via Alt-Ctrl-F1, et cetera.

While there are many forum threads detailing freezes after login and black screens before login, this does appear to be something different. The login screen simply freezes completely after it is drawn, preventing me from entering a password. A few seconds after the freeze, a notification messages pops up in the upper right of the screen to say the network is offline, and after a minute or two more, the screen goes black.
  • Ubuntu 14.04.3 LTS x64
  • Dual Intel Xeon E5-2640V3 (Haswell) 2.6 GHz 8-Core Processors
  • Supermicro DP Xeon Motherboards - Socket R3
  • 128GB server RAM
  • EVGA GeForce GTX 970 Graphics Card
I've tried the following, including a full reinstall of Ubuntu:

0. Alternate keyboard/mouse. Unlikely, I know, but to rule out trivial driver troubles or hardware I swapped keyboards & mice.

1. Reboot into recovery menu, which also freezes before a selection is made, as shown below. Note the strange characters at the window border shown here:

2. Catching boot messages, by taking a photo of the screen I caught a persistent, fleeting 'failed to start Load Kernal Modules...' message.

3. Assuming the problem stems from GPU drivers, next from the grub text edit 'e' option I tried removing 'nomodeset' in the kernal boot options (as per, with no effect. Each reboot the system freezes at login as above.

4. Compare with boot via Ubuntu 14.04 live USB -- this I can do without a problem.

5. Full system reinstall atop my existing root and swap volumes (with the reformat and download updates options both ticked). On reboot the system freezes at login, the same behavior as above.
Old 08-09-2015, 06:50 PM   #2
Registered: Jul 2009
Location: Tennessee (United States)
Distribution: Debian 10.4, Ubuntu 18.04.4 and 16.04.6
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I had a vaguely similar experience with Ubuntu 14.04 on a 2003 machine about six months ago. I am not at all certain my experience is relevant here, but you might glance at my blog entry ...
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Old 08-10-2015, 08:01 PM   #3
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Thanks 'flshope', I followed your odyssey and may have to switch distros, as you eventually tried.

Does anyone have any similar experience? I really don't want to give up on Ubuntu -- it's been quite stable on this (new) machine, until it fell over completely.

I find it very strange that even a complete reinstall yields the same results (freeze at login) as I noted above.


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