Debian Jessie boots to black screen(Abandoned)


Not being one to give up with the Compaq Mini, I’ve installed Debian Jessie on it to try it out.

I believe the install went ok as I didn’t get any error messages, however - I wonder if I slipped up when setting some of the parameters? On boot, I get to the Grub screen ok, Debian GNU/Linux is selected and the boot process begins. After a few seconds the screen goes blank and sits there, no cursor flashing or any sign of life, though the computer hasn’t shut down. Ctrl/Alt/Del will re-boot it but it just repeats the cycle.

I remember that I had this issue before when installing Peppermint 4 and you gave me instructions on how to modify the Grub file? I booted it with my Puppy usb stick and mounted the Debian drive (sda1). I found the file ‘/etc/default/grub’, modified it to “quiet splash nomodeset” and saved it. I tried to update grub but the terminal in Puppy only works in Puppy - if you see what I mean?

Is this the right way to go or am I way off base? And is it possible to update Grub on one drive with a terminal on another?

Thanks in advance


Mark, I’ve copied your reply to here in the hope others will be able to follow it:-


OK, the following instructions are for a single boot ONLY.

Turn ON your PC, and as soon as your BIOS POST screen disappears, press the SHIFT key and hold it, until you are presented with the GRUB menu … SIMILAR to this:
(you won’t have long to hit the shift key, and the timing can be a little awkward, so it may even be easier to hit AND HOLD the Shift key DURING the BIOS POST … ie. immediately after turning on your PC)

Select the ‘default’ kernel (usually the top one), and rather than pressing enter, press E to edit.

You will be presented with a screen SIMILAR to this:

Press DOWN ARROW until you get to the line that starts with:

linux /boot

and press the END key to position the cursor at the end of the that line… it usually ends with “quiet splash”.

Now you can enter additional kernel boot options… so add nomodeset as in the above screenshot … so it now reads:

[b]quiet splash nomodeset[/b]
(doesn't matter if it moves down a line, as long as there is a space between splash and nomdeset)

Now hit Ctrl+X to boot.

If the PC boots properly, make the edits to /etc/boot/grub that you mentioned in your last response and then run:

sudo update-grub


My Grub screen looks nothing like your images and there’s no line starting linux/boot… Grub is version 2.02~beta a2-22

page starts
setparams ‘Debian GNU/Linux’
insmod gzio etc etc

then a whole lot of stuff that bears no relation to anything I’ve seen before. I’m happy to type it out if you need it but it might take a while…

It says near the bottom ‘Minimum Emacs-like screen editing is supported’

Sorry again for the cock-up!


Edit: I’m not really doing very well here… :-[ :-[ I hadn’t seen there’s more of the page lower down - I’ll change the settings and report back.

Ok - I’ve appended the line and rebooted.

Boot continues much further on to a point where I briefly see my name next to ‘login’ (still in the Grub screen) but it only is visible for a second, much too short a time to type the password in. Then it goes to a blank screen with the cursor blinking at top left. The screen, however is now ‘live’ (that is, backlit) whereas before there was nothing.


This might be a daft question, but does it boot a live USB ok?

Not half as daft as the ones I’ve been asking lately… :-[

The usb boots but only to the installation screen. It may be the file I downloaded or possibly the way it was burned (Mint’s USB Image Writer) but the option to try a ‘live’ session isn’t offered.


You could try Debian + nonfree images.

To me, it sounds like some kind of incompatibility, possibly with the graphics card. Normally, the default kernel works enough to allow you to install/patch a newer one to get proper functionality, but not in this case.
I think you should try to find a live version of Debian, failing that go for a “child” distro of Debian that has the exact same kernel

I think I might have missed the point of trying to force Debian onto this machine? What’s wrong with a different distro?

Hi CF and thanks! With the initial problems I had with this device and wireless not working (Puppy Lucid) I was just trying any distro that would work ‘out of the box’ - not expecting the ‘black screen’ scenario!

Anyway - long story short - I managed to get replies and assistance from the Puppy forum and have installed the latest Tahrpup on the Mini. All seems well (early days!) with no black screen and wireless up straight away. Hence, the ‘abandon’ at the beginning of this thread. (I’m writing this on the Mini, btw!)

Thanks, as ever, to everyone who contributed. This is a top site and long may it continue!

Best wishes to all