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I just created a disaster I would not have thought possible. I used a USB stick to install Ubuntu 12.04 LTS alongside Windows 7 on a Dell Inspiron 560.

The install went well, except that GRUB didn't install. No problem; I rebooted to the USB stick and followed the procedure to reinstall GRUB.

Upon my next boot, I got the GRUB menu and could select Ubuntu or Windows (yay!) but Ubuntu locked up during boot (boo!)

The problem is, now rebooting achieves nothing: The Dell Logo screen doesn't appear, so I have no access to boot options, and GRUB never appears. I can't get into the Setup screen, I can't select a different boot device -- nothing! There's no video signal at all upon boot, according to my monitor.

How could a failed boot of Ubuntu cause my computer to refuse to ever output video?

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@EpsilonVector You mean "Please read the site's FAQ", right? I just wanted to clear up what you were intending. – hexafraction Mar 24 '13 at 14:24
up vote 4 down vote accepted

The bad news is that Ubuntu triggered a bug in your BIOS. The good news is that it's easy to make the computer bootable again: all you need to do is shut the power off completely, i.e. disconnect it from wall power and remove the battery. Wait a few seconds, put the battery back, and you should be able to boot.

Figuring out the cause of the bug can be difficult. First, see if that's a one-off thing or if it's repeatable. At the Grub prompt, highlight the “Ubuntu …” line, press e, use the arrow keys to navigate to the linux /vmlinuz … line, delete the words quiet splash at the end of the linux, and press Ctrl+X to boot. If that was a freak event and your computer boots this time, it's not worth investigating further unless the bug occurs again. If the computer hangs, note the last few messages that appeared on-screen: they will be a good clue as to what is breaking. How to proceed from there depends on these messages.

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To make sure try remove Harddrive, remove AC and battery for minute then, put it back (except harddrive) and try to get into setup, or boot up from usb stick. Maybie it's just corrupted hardrive.

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