Ubuntu V11.10 stuck at the dual-boot display - Solved - Finally!

I gave my keyboard away to a friend yesterday with a V11.10-loaded PC (spreading the word) knowing that I had a brand new, spare k/b at home. But Ubuntu didn’t recognise it - just booted itself into Ubuntu awaiting a password.
The new mouse was OK so I tried to use the on-screen keyboard. I was too ham-fisted and gave up after a few tries, opting (wrongly as it turned out) to just try another re-boot. Bad mistake! Now my PC just hangs at the dual-boot screen.
I can’t find anything by searching this Forum that might help. Is there anything that can be done using the installation disc?

Fortunately I have an Ubuntu 10.4(?) laptop to tell you about it, and would be very grateful for advice.

I’m going to guess it’s a USB keyboard that isn’t workng ?

You’ll need to gain access to the BIOS and enable support for USB keyboards … but if your USB keyboard isn’t being recognised until the drivers are loaded by the OS … you’ll need a PS/2 keyboard to gain access to the BIOS.

All in all, you need to get/borrow a PS/2 keyboard :slight_smile:

If you don’t know what a PS/2 connector looks like … see here:

Most of the time a USB to PS/2 keyboard adapter will work (if you have one):

Be aware purpe=keyboard, green=mouse

Sorry: I ought to have mentioned that the k/b and mouse are indeed PS2.
I was careful to check that the colours matched plug-to-socket.

Hmm … If you last keyboard was PS/2, and you are unable to access the BIOS by hitting whatever key is necessary … I’d say your keyboard is faulty.

Can you access the keyboard ?

Do any of the lights on the keyboard light up ?

The k/b lights come on briefly when I plug it in before powering up the PC (residual charge on capacitors, I guess) but stay off during the boot.
Neither F2 nor F11 have any effect.
It’s rather old (box says “Ready for Windows 95”) but it’s unused.
I’m considering buying a new one tomorrow. A good idea?

If your working keyboard was also PS/2 … I’d say yes :slight_smile:

…except that: the first time I tried the KB the PC booted itself into the login screen - even if the KB was duff. Now it won’t self-boot at all, which will probably be the same for any KB I try.

OK, first time it got t the GRUB boot menu, it started a 10 second timer, then booted the default OS … but because that boot was unsuccessful (you rebooted/shutdown from the login screen), this time it gets to GRUB menu but GRUB doesn’t start the countdown to boot, but waits for your instructions.

On an unsuccessful boot GRUB waits for your input, probably so it doesn’t keep looping on a broken boot and to give you the option of selecting “recovery mode” to fix whatever the issue is … that is ‘default’ GRUB behaviour.

Can’t you borrow a keyboard to test it with ?

Thank you for the explanation - I’m learning slowly - and you have relieved my concerns.
I was considering the purchase of a wireless KB and mouse anyway (can’t live in the past for ever), so tomorrow it is.
I shall let you know tomorrow how it goes.

If at all possible I’d still try borrow a KB for 5 mins … it’s possible that the KB is OK and the PS/2 port is broken … unlikely, but possible.

(or try the KB in another PC, and see if it’s still not recognised)

If you can borrow a PS/2 KB and it still doesn’t work, you’ll then want to try a USB keyboard … but don’t immediately buy a USB keyboard, it may not work on your system.

In my opinion, if you have a PS/2 keyboard port, use it … not only does it free up a USB port, but it’s guaranteed the keyboard will work before the OS loads the USB drivers.

I have just tried the KB part of a wireless KB/mouse pair (the mouse had to be replaced by a PS2 one ages ago) and that doesn’t work either.
It was working on an XP PC yesterday in B’ham.

Was the wireless KB a USB one ?

How old is the PC ?

It is PS2 and it was working on a very old PC - originally Windows 98, upgraded recently to XP.

OK here’s the lowdown on USB Vs PS/2 keyboards …

On a PC, the first thing to happen after you switch it on is the BIOS (contained on a chip on the motherboard) performs a self test and initialises the hardware.

In older PC’s the BIOS could initialise ONLY PS/2 keyboards and mice … if you had a USB KB or mouse the drivers could ONLY be loaded when the operating system had been loaded from the hard drive … in other words, the BIOS had no idea what a USB KB or mouse was, the OS loaded the drivers … which meant that USB keyboards could NOT access the BIOS, or do ANYTHING before the drivers were loaded.

later BIOS’s WERE able to initialise USB keyboards, but this function wasn’t enabled by default … so you would initially require a PS/2 KB to access the BIOS and turn support for USB keyboards ON.

still more recent PC’s have this feature enabled by default … so USB keyboards are OK from the getgo

and indeed VERY recent PC’s may not have a PS/2 port at all.

If on the other hand a PS/2 port is present … it is pretty much always active and immediately available.

Understand ?

So if NO PS/2 keyboard is working (ie. you cannot access the BIOS with it), it’s likely the PS/2 controller/port is broken, or the BIOS is corrupt.

In summary, if you cannot use a PS/2 keyboard to access the BIOS … it is more than likely a hardware issue, and nothing to do with the OS.

Try removing the mains plug from the wall … whilst the plug is removed, hit the power button to discharge any power left in the power supply … plug back in, and try again.

If that doesn’t work, you’ll want to try a BIOS reset.

and if that doesn’t work … try a USB keyboard, and hope that it’s recognised.

But you REALLY want to be testing this with a wired keyboard … wireless introduces other failure points that just confuse the diagnostic process.

I understand your good description of the history of PS2/usb - thanks for that.
I tried the power discharge trick to no avail. Tried both spare KBs for completeness.
Try other keyboards? Everyone around here uses fancy laptops!
How do I do a BIOS reset?

(It’s very good of you to work so late at night to help me out)

Hmm … that depends on the motherboard, but is usually achieved by moving a jumper on the motherboard, then moving it back.

Did you say this system worked with the KB you gave to your mate ?

Yes: I built up another Linux PC with your help and gave it to a friend yesterday with the KB and mouse from this PC. Only when I returned with her old, wireless KB (with PS/2 wireless adapter) did I dig out an old unused PS/2 KB to try.

OK, if the keyboard that DID work in this PC was a PS/2 type … I’d guess it’s not the motherboard then … more likely BOTH keyboards (you are trying now) are broken.

All I can suggest is that tomorrow you buy a WIRED USB keyboard, and make sure it comes with a USB to PS/2 adapter … such as:

at least you can try it in both ports then.

Have you made sure the wireless KB and the receiver are both on the same channel … when you keep your finger on a key, do any lights flash on the receiver ?

As I said, wireless keyboards introduce more failure points that can confuse matters.

My local Argos has a few in stock, and I shall purchase one tomorrow - it looks as though it comes with a USB-PS/2 adapter.
I am amazed that both KBs could be duff, but I need a new one anyway.

Let me know how you get on :slight_smile:

Have you made sure the wireless KB and the receiver are both on the same channel (and are associated with each other) … when you keep your finger on a key, do any lights flash on the receiver ?