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I recently pulled a computer out of storage that has a faulty video card. It still displays standard 80x25 terminal screens fine, but anything beyond that causes the video card to fail and require rebooting. As I intend to use this as a headless server, I'm not really interested in buying a new video card just for the installation.

The problem I run into is that Ubuntu - including the Server and Alternate installers - kick you to a (comparatively) high-res splashscreen that causes my video card to turn off, even though the rest of the install process uses a 80x25 TUI.

I've tried preseeding, but I have no experience with that and not having feedback makes my life difficult.

As I see it, there are (at least) two ways to accomplish this, neither of which I can find a way to accomplish:

  • Pass a parameter that starts SSH (or VNC) and operate the install from another machine.
  • Disable the high-resolution splash screen.
  • Some other method that I haven't thought of.

I would prefer to use Ubuntu Server, but I'm not married to it. For what it's worth, every other distro I've tried (Debian, CentOS, Arch) also have high-res splashscreens. The only one that does, in fact, work is FreeNAS, but I'd strongly prefer a Linux variant over BSD.

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@cgubuntu: It doesn't hang, but the graphics card fails. Repeatedly hitting enter, for example, will configure the network card to a point where I can see it as an attached device on the router. – Zach Sheffler Aug 15 '12 at 17:35

Try this:

  1. Ok, as quickly as you can after you know that you are about to get to the splash screen, press Enter, then Esc, then Enter. The timing here is critical as your video card is about to fail.

  2. This will drop you into a Text Mode Interface. You will now see a prompt that says Boot:. Type this exactly into the Prompt:

/install/vmlinuz file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu-server.seed initrd=/install/initrd.gz -- nomodeset

This will now boot you into the installer.

Good luck

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@ZackSheffler you were able to reach the network configuration step? – Max Tither Aug 15 '12 at 17:53
I can (in theory) get all the way through installation if I knew what series of keyboard inputs to execute. If there were a way to tell GRUB to boot into standard console mode instead of the VGA splash screen, I could see what's going on and not need further assistance. – Zach Sheffler Aug 15 '12 at 17:58
when you get to a screen with a pink background, does your card fail? – Max Tither Aug 15 '12 at 18:05
No. When the GRUB bootloader puts a VGA resolution image on the screen, the card fails. As per the question, I need a way to disable the splashscreen or install the OS headless. – Zach Sheffler Aug 15 '12 at 18:07
I got the answer up – Max Tither Aug 15 '12 at 19:49

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