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I recently performed a routine update, which included a new kernel rev among other things, and now my Ubuntu 10.04 system boots into a blank screen.

I'd like to get to the grub menu to try selecting the previous kernel rev, but it starts booting to disk immediately. Holding down the shift key doesn't bring up the menu.

I can boot into the install CD, but I don't know if/how I can use this to rescue. I saw a post somewhere that the "alternate install" ISO may have a recover option? Is this what I need to do?


I was able to modify grub options via the install CD by following this advice. I edited /boot/grub/menu.lst and increased the timeout and commented out the 'hidden' option. Then I was able to reboot, see the grub menu, select 'rescue mode' from the grub menu, and when prompted I selected "low graphics option." and (at least temporarily) I can get my desktop.

Now the question is: how do I reconfigure my display?

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Please provide some information about your graphic card, since it's most likely related o it. – João Pinto Nov 27 '10 at 16:20
It's an onboard ATI Radeon. It has been a source of trouble. It needs the proprietary ATI driver installed to make compiz effects work, but I have to disable it before dist-upgrade (and now, perhaps on any upgrade that includes a kernel rev). – Mark Thomas Nov 27 '10 at 16:52
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Have you tried to restore an older version of Xorg.conf? Go to /etc/X11/ folder, you'll may find xorg.conf and some of its backups, try to rename one of the backups to see if you get things going

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Thanks, this is good to know. I ended up doing a sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg and (after removing a few virtualbox entries dpkg didn't like) this got me going. – Mark Thomas Nov 27 '10 at 16:50

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