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I downloaded and burned the 12.04 (64bit) desktop ubuntu image to a CD and booted to it. It gave me a visible desktop, but the interface is badly broken, with ghosting when dialog boxes are moved and blocky artifacts covering all text.

I tried using the self verification tool (boot, hold down a button for menu, select "Verify CD"), which claims that the CD is fine. What can I try next?

I'm using the Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics.

Update: I just kept clicking "next" and hoping that the defaults would be acceptable. Ubuntu finished installing, and I rebooted into the fresh install. The graphics artifacts appear to still be there, but I can't quite tell because all of the UI elements except for the desktop background disappear a few seconds after logging in, and I don't know how to interact with the system. (Is there a hotkey to bring up a console?)

Update 2: I did all of the above with 12.04 32-bit, with the same results. Are there any known issues with ubuntu and Intel integrated graphics?

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Sounds like a hardware failure to me. Have you tried other operating systems on that machine? – André Stannek Aug 23 '12 at 9:07
@stonedsquirrel Windows 7 appears to be working fine. The wubi-installed version of ubuntu I had on the drive before the blind overwriting installation was working fine. – bdares Aug 23 '12 at 9:30
This may be ivy-bridge related. See… for possible solutions. Let us know if the answer there works. – user68186 Aug 23 '12 at 12:18
up vote 0 down vote accepted

user68186's comment gave me the answer.

Using the method described on the ubuntu forums, I set nomodeset so that the software does not attempt to use fancy graphics until the X window system has started, and the artifacts disappeared from both installer and installed OS.

In case of link rot:

  • When installing from the CD, press F6 and select nomodeset before selecting install.
  • Upon first boot, select your Ubuntu install in grub and press e to edit it. Add nomodeset to the end of the line that begins with /boot.
  • Once you're in Ubuntu, open the terminal and run the command gksudo gedit /etc/default/grub Edit the line GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash" to read GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash nomodeset".

The UI outside of the X windows system doesn't look nearly as pretty but it's a small price to pay for a usable system on my shiny new box.

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