Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

An elderly computer of ours has stopped working. When it's turned on, it gives an error of "unsupported display" - this is normal for us and happens because the graphics card can't render the splash screen. However, now it just stays stuck at that error message and won't boot.

I booted a live CD and looked over a bunch of log files but none of them have entries from today, the day the problem started.

Is there any way to figure out what the error on the hidden splash screen is?

share|improve this question
Are you still looking for help or have you solved this problem? If this question no longer applies then you can either delete it or answer it yourself if you've solved the problem. Thanks! – coversnail Apr 17 '12 at 8:05

The easiest way might be to boot the system that's having problems and disable the splash screen. That will then show the boot messages during bootup.

To show the boot messages, start up and when grub appears press 'e' to edit the grub entry. Press the down arrow until you get to the linux kernel line. Press CTRL-E to go to the end of the line. Remove quiet splash from the line. You might also need to delete any line that begins with gfxmode if it still doesn't work. I had to remove the gfxmode line to be able to see the boot messages on Xubuntu. Now press F10 to boot. The boot messages should appear.

Something else you can try is to boot from your rescue disk, mount the filesystems of the computer, then look at /var/log/syslog, /var/log/boot.log, and /var/log/boot. The last one may not exist or be empty if the computer is not configured to run bootlogd at startup. You can edit /etc/default/bootlogd and make sure that BOOTLOGD_ENABLE=Yes is set, then reboot, to get the boot output into /var/log/boot.

Between all of those options you should be able to determine where the system is getting stuck at bootup.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.