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My computer boots to a black screen, what options do I have to fix it?

I installed Lucid Lynx over PXE onto this dell server seemingly successfully, but booting from the HD results in a black, unpowered screen. There appears to be no network connectivity to the box either. It may have landed at a textual busybox type prompt, but I can't see it. Ctrl-Alt-Delete seems to reboot.

On my last attempt I held shift and the grub menu came up, but recovery mode produced the same results.

Should I drop into the grub prompt and give the kernel a magical boot option? Should I boot from a rescue cd and munge some bits on the HD? Give up and install windows?

  • Have you removed the quiet option from grubs kernel commandline? If not, try to boot without quiet and splash. You'll see some output.
    – qbi
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 7:48
  • 2
    Could you change your subject to something like 'Lucid Lynx ..'. When I read lynx I'm thinking of the application lynx and not Ubuntu 10.04.
    – qbi
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 8:15
  • I think of the animal from my 5th grad animal report!
    – myusuf3
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 13:38

2 Answers 2


Here are a couple of "magical boot options" to try:

  • nomodeset
  • i915.modeset=0 xforcevesa

I'd remove quiet splash when trying these and only one at a time, not together as they'll likely conflict.

Edit: for an explanation of how to use these:

  • When booting, hold left-Shift
  • Highlight the first option and press e
  • Go down to the line that looks like:

    /boot/vmlinuz-3.0.blah-generic root=UUID=blah ro quiet splash
  • Replace quite splash with your boot option of choice.

If that works out well, you can make the changes to /etc/default/grub by editing the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT value. After saving, run sudo update-grub.

  • thank you for your options. before I saw your answer I used the ubuntu pxe rescue to install nvidia-latest, which eventually resolved my issue. Dell Precision T3500
    – Ron
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 21:14

It is likely to be related to plymouth/mountall check the following blog entry for some tips: http://handypenguin.blogspot.com/2010/04/when-recovery-mode-fails-to-boot.html

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