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My computer boots to a black screen, what options do I have to fix it?

New to Ubuntu.

Problem description:

Until recently I had Windows on my computer. My hard disk is divided into two partitions.

  • On the first one (app. 10 GB) I had my Windows XP
  • On the second one (app. 30 GB) I have some data

I tried to install Ubuntu 12.04 on the first partition (the smaller one). Since I wanted to keep the data on my second partition, I chose the third install option.

During the installation process I deleted the data on partition one, created a new partition with the same size, formatted it as ext4 and mounted / on it. The installation continued fine and at the end I restarted and took the CD out when it ejected automatically (it could have been also before the restart).

Ubuntu started but I noticed that my computer was slow. Then a prompt appeared telling me that I did not have the optimal NVidia drivers and recommended to install a specific one. I clicked on the recommended driver, installation went apparently just fine and at the end I had to restart the system again. I did it, Ubuntu started, asked for my password, I typed it, pressed Enter, the screen turned black and remained like that (only the cursor was there and I could move it). I restarted and the same thing happened again.

Has anyone had such a problem before and was able to solve it?

With Windows I always installed drivers from CDs after installing Windows. Are the same CDs going to work for Ubuntu too or I should find special drivers?

P.S. During the installation I was connected to the internet and I agreed on installing updates and the third party software.

In the time before I installed that problematic but recommended NVidia driver I checked that there was between 6 and 7 GB free space on the first partition where I installed Ubuntu.

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Did you only use 10gb for Ubuntu ? You need at least 30gb for a stable system. You can re-size your partition with out loss of data on a live CD so make your data partition smaller then make sure ubuntu has enough space and re-install –  mark kirby Aug 7 '12 at 11:25
    
@markkirby the recommended minimum requirements for Ubuntu as put here help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/SystemRequirements is 5GB, so 10 GB is good and although it might get cramped, the size should not reflect "stability". –  Mateo Aug 10 '12 at 20:34
    
Not the answer you're looking for but since you asked - No, you don't need to install any drivers for Ubuntu. All of them have open source alternatives which are automatically installed. The Windows driver CD will not work. The platforms are totally different. –  Akshit Baunthiyal Aug 10 '12 at 20:51
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marked as duplicate by Jorge Castro, Ringtail, gertvdijk, Eliah Kagan, Eric Carvalho Jan 5 '13 at 1:13

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1 Answer

Mostly nvidia drivers work well when you install option like "Nvidia drivers (recommended)" but sometimes not. Usually Ubuntu drivers app suggests more than one driver version, you should play around. If recommended went wrong you could reinstall and try newer driver version.or older. Since reinstalling takes time, it may not sound as a solution, on the other hand you are newbie, therefore it may take less time than to debug the problem.

You could press Ctrl+Alt+F1 or (F2,F3..) where you could login with your username and password and get into terminal, there you can type :

sudo tail -100 /var/log/syslog 

and read some details about nvidia failing.

Restart X server instead of all system, from terminal type :

sudo /etc/inid.d/lightdm restart 

for getting back into login screen (it can also be instead of lightdm xdm or gdm it depends on which version of ubuntu you installed xubuntu kubuntu etc.)

Apart from your video drivers problem you should be very careful about your data you don't want to lose on second partition. Even though it should be safe, before making any installation, it would be a good idea to back it up before playing around, especially if you are new to Linux, you never know when you will press the wrong button.

If you have a 1GB or less ram in your system I would recommend while partitioning your disk to create 512mb-1gb partition defined as a swap, which works like pagefile in windows. Whenever system is out of ram it uses hdd for storing chunks of data. I have seen very interesting linux machines behaviour after they get into "out of ram situation".

Also make sure your root partition does not run out of space, you can check in terminal typing df -h what is the usage of your root partition.

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