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TLDR version: Can't get Mint 10, 13 or 15 or PCLinuxOS or ElementaryOS to get past the select whether you want to run live disc or install options prompt. End ...
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  1. #1
    Sea
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    GPU Problem? - Cant run live cds - black screen


    TLDR version:


    Can't get Mint 10, 13 or 15 or PCLinuxOS or ElementaryOS to get past the select whether you want to run live disc or install options prompt. End up with black / grey screen with flashing cursor.
    TAILS works as live cd in fail safe mode.
    Need to install a distro other than TAILS.

    Long winded story:

    In 2011 I had this PC built by a local shop for my old aunt:
    AMD ATHLON X2 255 AM3
    ASUS M4A78LT-M-LE (using on board Radeon 3000)
    KINGSTON 2GB DDR3 VALUE SERIES 1333M
    THERMALTAKE V4 TOWER 450W
    LITE-ON DVD

    When built, I loaded Linux Mint 10 on to it without issue, and it happily chugged away until recently when it had an issue with some partition. This was solved by running gparted to check it. When it occurred the second time I figured I would update to a newer version of Mint while I was at it. (I fall for this every time, when will I learn, if it ain't broke...)

    So I put a Mint 13 disk in, ran as a live CD, mounted the hard drive, backed up the personal data to an external disk, and then installed Mint 13 over the top of 10. Install appeared to work without any problems.
    Rebooted and then... Black screen, just like in this thread: forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=122257] Linux Mint Forums ? View topic - Solve boot problems with AMD and NVIDIA graphics cards
    I attempted the fixes in that thread to no avail.

    Now in the past when I have attempted to install Mint over the top of an older version, it has failed the first time through. (Both for my old PC and another relatives) So I thought what the hell, I'll wipe the partition and give it another shot. So I removed the partition with gparted.

    Next I put Mint 13 disk back in to reinstall. This time instead of booting in to Mint 13 from the live CD, I get a grey screen with a flashing cursor. I tried compatibility mode to no avail. I tried hitting tab and setting boot option :nomodeset xforcevesa" still no joy. Could not even get it to run as a live disk. The only difference is if I run it with compatibility mode, I get a black screen with some white text instead of grey.

    After that I disconnected the HDD (worried that might have somehow been causing this) then I tried Mint 15, Mint 13 and Mint 10. None of which would boot at all.

    I then ran MEMTEST, which passed without error.

    Then I tried to run TAILS, just cause I had a disk lying around. First run it got to a grey screen with a flashing cursor. Second run I tried failsafe mode and it did actually boot, and was running as normal. So TAILS runs as a live disk, however that’s not really what I want to give my Aunt. She just needs a nice simple OS install.
    After this I downloaded elementaryOS, had the same problem, get to the screen where it asks if you want to run as live cd or install, choose live CD. I get a black screen with:
    [28.057752] Stack:
    [28.057752] Call Trace:
    and then it goes on and on and on...
    I've tried it with and without "nomodeset xforcevesa" Same result.

    Also have tried PClinuxOS – same problem, black screen flashing cursor.

    I presume something is going wrong with the display driver somehow. TAILS fail safe mode seems to have a way around it.
    Is there another distro that does?
    Or preferably a way to make Mint 13 work?

  2. #2
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    Sounds like you have a RAM problem. Try booting with only one stick of RAM. If it continues, try booting with just the other stick. Never trust memtest.
    If your motherboard has overclock settings make sure they're not all buggered up. I had some problems after a reboot with one of my Asus boards one time.

  3. #3
    Linux Newbie slw210's Avatar
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    I've been able to get Puppy (any flavor) to boot on every thing I've ever tried and Xubuntu 12.04 on most.

    Are you sure you are getting the CDs burned correctly?

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  5. #4
    Sea
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    Quote Originally Posted by mizzle View Post
    Sounds like you have a RAM problem. Try booting with only one stick of RAM. If it continues, try booting with just the other stick. Never trust memtest.
    If your motherboard has overclock settings make sure they're not all buggered up. I had some problems after a reboot with one of my Asus boards one time.
    In BIOS the "advanced clock calibration: in the mobo is set to auto. The speed is stock 3.1GHz. I don't see anything abnormal there.

    As for RAM, it only has 1x 2GB stick to start with.

    Quote Originally Posted by slw210 View Post
    I've been able to get Puppy (any flavor) to boot on every thing I've ever tried and Xubuntu 12.04 on most.

    Are you sure you are getting the CDs burned correctly?
    Well to test this I have just put the Mint 13 disk in my PC (very different specs to Aunts PC though) and it launched fine. I'm posting from it right now.

    Of to DL Xbuntu now. I have got puppy somewhere here already. Although hasn't that been discontinued now?

  6. #5
    Linux Newbie slw210's Avatar
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    Puppy is still very much alive and well. Puppy Linux

    Did you burn the Mint 13 disk on same machine and with same program as the rest of the distros?

  7. #6
    Sea
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    Ah ok will add puppy to the next trial when I get some blank discs tomorrow. Have not tried xbuntu yet either.

    Yes all of the distros were burnt with the same pc, Windows 7 using Nero.

    This morning I put elementary os back in the machine just to check exactly what it did. It went black screen if I selected install. I hit reset, then forgot about it for a few minutes, when I came back it had randomly run as a live disc. What ever this problem is, it seems intermittent. I restarted it again and was not able to get it to run s second time.

  8. #7
    Linux Newbie slw210's Avatar
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    I have had the most problems with different distros on my AMD Duron with on board graphics myself, it may be a graphics driver issue.

    I always get better burns with K3b on Linux and ImgBurn on Windows.

    I also had a problem with one of my CD readers, played music, etc. just great, but wasn't reading ISOs at all, I swapped it out with another and all went well after that.

    Can your Aunt's PC boot from USB flash drive? You might try that route.

  9. #8
    Sea
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    I've had another go at this.

    Firstly, I installed Linux Mint 13 64 on to a flash drive using this guide:
    community.linuxmint.com/tutorial/view/389

    I attempted to boot from it. Same problem - grey screen of doom.

    I tested good old Tails by installing it to another USB stick, and once again it works in failsafe mode only. (Also noted how much faster it is on a USB, definitely sticking with USB Tails from now on

    The next thing I did is I grabbed a cheap Nvidia GT610. Figured for $40 it was worth it to test if it fixes my woes, if it doesnt fix this PC, it will go in the HTPC I plan to build myself soon anyway.

    Installed the GPU, changed the setting in BIOS to select PCI first for display, plugged the monitor in to the GPU out.

    With the GPU in, I attempted to boot from disk first. Fail safe mode in Mint 13 gave me different text, but still didn't boot. Unless I was too impatient, but I did give it 5 minutes of inactivity before rebooting.

    Next I tried the Tails live USB, it worked, only in failsafe mode once again.
    Then I tried the Mint 13 USB. Fail...

    Edit update:
    Tried to boot again, in compatibility mode from the Mint 13 USB. Still with the Nvidia 610 installed.
    This time I get a message about X org not being configured correctly.
    dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/102940006/xorgf.jpg
    Last edited by Sea; 10-17-2013 at 12:16 PM.

  10. #9
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    R.....A............M.........
    ............................
    ....................................

    I don't do this for a living or anything....

  11. #10
    Sea
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    I bought another 2GB stick of RAM. I get the same results with it swapped out.

    Next guess: the Mobo is FUBAR?

    WTF Also, through some random sequence of events, when I put a boot repair disk in, selected compatibility mode and added xforcevesa, and forgot to unplug the Mint USB, I get to a Linux Mint Log in screen. The gui works now?

    This if for the Mint USB bootable created from Windows. No idea what the password and user name for this would be. It's not mint and mint, or blank, or mint and blank.
    This is the screen I can now get to: dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/102940006/2013-10-18%2008.38.46.jpg
    Last edited by Sea; 10-18-2013 at 01:35 AM.

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