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Recently, my laptop started displaying the message 'GRUB loading...' while emitting a really loud beeping sound (using the mute and volume adjustion keys had no effect), which always persists for a good minute. Then, when I finally get to the boot menu, I can not move the selection, it does not respond to 'enter' which should initiate the selected loader, and none of the other options work either.

Although I am not sure whether it is the cause, it started the day after I spilled a small amount of tea near the lower area of my laptop, although before I shut my computer down (after which I was unable to start it up anymore), only the '6' and left shift keys stopped working.

I have no idea on what to do, as I am relatively new to *nix systems, and I could not find anything useful on Google. I have tried rebooting multiple times, as well as not using my computer for 12 hour to let whatever tea was left in there dry out. Could someone point me in the right direction?

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Possibly the keyboard got damaged. Its not for ubuntu. Can you enter into BIOS? –  Web-E Jul 20 '12 at 12:26
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2 Answers

IIRC the beep sound may be turned on/off by edit /etc/default/grub.

There's a command line which should be uncommented.

But by default the beep sound of Grub2 is off. How did you turn it on?

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Ah, the beep sound while the GRUB menu being displayed is due to some key being pressed before hand. If you release the key, the screen will load well and you can select any entry that you wish.

I encounter this at times when I keep the down-arrow key pressed at the time of booting itself. The beep comes, I release the key, the menu appears, and the highlight goes down automatically (the effect of the down that I pressed earlier) and then everything is normal.

So in your case, I do believe that tea might have short circuited some key. Hence it is exhibiting the behavior I mentioned above. Good luck fixing it.

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popping the keys off and cleaning your keyboard might fix it in this case - most "stuck key" issues are physically just stuck and can be un-stuck. –  ImaginaryRobots Jul 20 '12 at 14:44
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