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I have been running Ubuntu on my computer for a long time, and I have been using 11.10 since it became available in October.

Suddenly, this morning, when I rebooted, the computer would not reach the log in screen. I go through the standard POST boot sequence, and I also get a splash screen for my Nvidia graphics card, so at least most of the hardware seems to be working.

After that, all I get is a flashing text prompt - one blinking white underline character on a screen that is otherwise completely blank. I don't think it is even reaching GRUB.

No key input is possible. I have tried various key combinations to try and initiate some kind of interface, be it command line or anything else. The only key combination that works is [CTRL]+[ALT]+[Delete] to reboot.

I realize this is likely to be a hardware problem, but it could be an Ubuntu problem(?), so I'm hoping for a specific set of troubleshooting steps so I can diagnose and repair this issue.

My current suspicion is that one of the drives in my 2 disk software RAID has failed (even though they should be too new for that). However, this computer is critical to my work, so I'd like to invite advice on any possibilities so as to waste as little time as possible in fixing this machine.

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closed as too localized by fossfreedom May 13 '12 at 10:42

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I've rendered this question moot by buying some new hardware and completely reinstalling Ubuntu from scratch. – Questioner Nov 22 '11 at 10:24
If you are still interested in investigating the problem with your old hardware I suggest you start by searching on Super User. You could also ask your question there, but search first. I'm sure this question has been asked in one form or another on Super User. – irrational John May 13 '12 at 17:55
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Trying to work backwards:

  • Is this a ubuntu issue...

If this is a ubuntu issue then press and hold SHIFT while booting - it should display your grub. If it doesnt, then the problem is pointing towards a hard-disk issue.

If you see grub, then possibly a ubuntu issue - try using the recovery mode option.

You've got a few choices - try fail-safe graphics. If this doesnt work, try using the terminal (not network) option. Run sudo fdisk -l to examine your disk structure.

  • Is this a disk issue...

Check in you bios that you can boot via CD/USB. Plug in a CD image of ubuntu and see if you can boot into Ubuntu - if you cant then more likely a graphics/motherboard issue.

If you can boot into ubuntu - then possibly your software RAID has gone awry...

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