[S] Fresh Jessie install hangs on black screen when booting

Help with issues regarding installation of Debian

[S] Fresh Jessie install hangs on black screen when booting

Postby tranhl » 2017-04-29 15:03

I'll start off with some context. I'm attempting to set up a dual-boot environment on my Macbook Pro (model 9,1), which is currently running Mac OS 10.8.5.

I've successfully installed Jessie 8.7.1 using the Debian Wiki's guide with 8GB of swap (https://wiki.debian.org/MacBook). The install was a regular web install from USB, with GRUB being placed on the the master boot record of the hard drive. To boot into Debian, I've also installed the latest version of rEFInd onto the Macbook. The Debian partition was formatted to ex3. Both operating systems are sitting on the same hard drive.

I'm not sure if this is useful information, but I have 16gb of aftermarket RAM installed on my Macbook, as well as a second hard drive that I installed by removing the disk drive, which I bootcamped Windows 7 onto. Windows 7 wouldn't boot if it wasn't located on the primary drive, so I had to swap the drive containing Mac OS with the second drive.

Onto the problem. When booting Debian from the rEFInd boot menu, the computer goes through the normal process of loading the operating system, with console output giving me OK messages. Then, the screen flashes white once (I assume that's something to do with graphics driver swapping?), and the system continues to load. Then I hit the Debian teletypewriter screen (Debian GNU/LInux 0 debian ttyl \ debian login: _ ) and then the screen goes black with a single, non-blinking underscore sitting in the top left screen. No keyboard input is taken, and I've tried to load up a TTYL screen using Ctl+Alt+F1 (or in the Macbook's case, Fn+Ctl+Alt+F1). I've tried leaving the computer there for an hour just in case it was just executing something extremely slowly, with no luck.

I've uploaded a video showcasing this process: https://streamable.com/wl35p

Any help would be appreciated here, I'm pulling my hair over something that (should?) be simple. Thanks.
Last edited by tranhl on 2017-04-30 09:31, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fresh Jessie install hangs on black screen when booting

Postby phenest » 2017-04-29 15:45

I don't anything about Apple computers but I've seen your case many times. It's lacking a video driver, or an appropriate driver for your hardware, or it's not configured. That's why the screen goes black. That's about the same time you'd expect to see a login greeter.

Incidentally, Ctrl+Alt+F1 is used for Xorg, Try F2 for a console.
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Re: Fresh Jessie install hangs on black screen when booting

Postby stevepusser » 2017-04-29 23:00

What vintage is this machine, and what does it have for graphics hardware?
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Re: Fresh Jessie install hangs on black screen when booting

Postby ruffwoof » 2017-04-29 23:48

Try adding a parameter of "nomodeset" (without the quotes) to the kernel boot parameter. That might get you into a gui, from where you might be able to use the display/monitor options to correctly configure the setup.

Typically you can add that by pressing tab or e during the bootup when its showing the grub menu, then use e (edit) command to edit a line before pressing enter and then b (boot) to continue booting. Once you've got in and set the graphics up (perhaps loaded non-free firmware) it probably won't need that nomodeset to be entered again.

To gain access to non-free firmware your /etc/apt/sources.list will need contrib and non-free added after the 'main'. Then use synaptic and reload the database within that before searching/installing appropriate firmware for your hardware.
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Re: Fresh Jessie install hangs on black screen when booting

Postby tranhl » 2017-04-30 00:49

phenest wrote:I don't anything about Apple computers but I've seen your case many times. It's lacking a video driver, or an appropriate driver for your hardware, or it's not configured. That's why the screen goes black. That's about the same time you'd expect to see a login greeter.

Incidentally, Ctrl+Alt+F1 is used for Xorg, Try F2 for a console.


Thank you for your reply. I tried all of the function keys for a console, to no avail. I am, however, able to boot up into rescue mode by selecting the 'Single User Mode' launch option in rEFInd.
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Re: Fresh Jessie install hangs on black screen when booting

Postby tranhl » 2017-04-30 01:03

ruffwoof wrote:Try adding a parameter of "nomodeset" (without the quotes) to the kernel boot parameter. That might get you into a gui, from where you might be able to use the display/monitor options to correctly configure the setup.

Typically you can add that by pressing tab or e during the bootup when its showing the grub menu, then use e (edit) command to edit a line before pressing enter and then b (boot) to continue booting. Once you've got in and set the graphics up (perhaps loaded non-free firmware) it probably won't need that nomodeset to be entered again.

To gain access to non-free firmware your /etc/apt/sources.list will need contrib and non-free added after the 'main'. Then use synaptic and reload the database within that before searching/installing appropriate firmware for your hardware.


Thank you for your reply. I've attempted something similar to this by editing the /etc/default/grub in rescue mode and setting the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX parameter to nomodeset, then executing update-grub, with no success. I don't seem to be able to access the GRUB boot menu, as rEFInd completely skips it, and the Macbook cannot detect the Debian install without it. Any suggestions as to how else I could launch with that parameter?

EDIT: I managed to find a way to edit the boot parameters, however adding "nomodeset" did not seem to work. I'm now moving on to attempting to install graphics drivers through rescue mode, but need to work out how to gain internet access through ethernet first.
Last edited by tranhl on 2017-04-30 01:37, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fresh Jessie install hangs on black screen when booting

Postby stevepusser » 2017-04-30 01:13

Since you're mum about the specs, the Google says the 9,1 series has 2012 vintage integrated Intel graphics and a discrete Nvidia card. The Google can't tell me if you've possibly turned off the Intel GPU in the computer setup, if that's possible.
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Re: Fresh Jessie install hangs on black screen when booting

Postby tranhl » 2017-04-30 01:25

stevepusser wrote:Since you're mum about the specs, the Google says the 9,1 series has 2012 vintage integrated Intel graphics and a discrete Nvidia card. The Google can't tell me if you've possibly turned off the Intel GPU in the computer setup, if that's possible.


Sorry about the slow response. To my knowledge, I have not intentionally disabled any the internal Intel GPU during install. Is there any way to check this?
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Re: Fresh Jessie install hangs on black screen when booting

Postby stevepusser » 2017-04-30 01:42

I don't know, does it have the equivalent of a UEFI setup utility like most modern laptops? That's where that kind of thing is configured.
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Re: Fresh Jessie install hangs on black screen when booting

Postby GarryRicketson » 2017-04-30 02:09

by tranhl » I have not intentionally disabled any the internal Intel GPU during install. Is there any way to check this?


Since I also don't really know the answer, exactly, I tried this:
How to check internal Intel GPU on Debian Jessie

This might be of use to the OP :
https://packages.debian.org/jessie/x11/intel-gpu-tools

Package: intel-gpu-tools (1.8-1)
tools for debugging the Intel graphics driver

intel-gpu-tools is a package of tools for debugging the Intel graphics driver, including a GPU hang dumping program, performance monitor, and performance microbenchmarks for regression testing the DRM.

It seems like maybe the tools in this package ,might help "check" this.
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Re: Fresh Jessie install hangs on black screen when booting

Postby Payload » 2017-04-30 02:14

I experienced the very same problem after I installed Debian Jessie (GNOME), except I have no rEFind installed. I just hold down the option key during startup, and select the disk named "Windows" (weirdly, the Debian system disk is named Windows, for some reason). After that, GRUB shows up and I selected "Debian GNU/Linux". The screen flashes once, and shows me a gray blinking underscore cursor on the top left of the screen. All the keyboard input is ignored.

I fixed it by doing battery poweroff (shift + control + option + pwr button) two times. The third time I booted into GRUB, it loaded Debian successfully and GNOME showed up.
Not sure if it's the same reason, but I feel like that this might be a similar problem?
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Re: Fresh Jessie install hangs on black screen when booting

Postby phenest » 2017-04-30 08:23

stevepusser wrote:Since you're mum about the specs

Instead of us guessing your hardware specs, could you please post the output of:
Code: Select all
lspci -k

If that's difficult to post because of your current scenario, output it to a file and copy it to another computer and post it here:
Code: Select all
lspci -k > lspci

That will give you a file called "lspci"
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Solved!

Postby tranhl » 2017-04-30 08:32

Hi all! First of all, I'd like to thank stevepusser and ruffwoof for guiding me in the right direction when looking for a solution.

My problem ended up being a graphics driver issue, as expected. Installing an NVIDIA driver and setting up a default configuration file fixed the issue for me.
In the interest of helping out other people who have had the same problem as me, I'm going to outline my solution:

1. Boot up Debian in rescue mode (I did this using rEFInd, pressing TAB at the boot selection menu, and selecting the Single User Mode boot option).
2. Set up an Ethernet interface to access the internet:

Code: Select all
# ifconfig eth0 up && dhclient eth0

3. Add contrib and non-free libraries to jessie and jessie-backports. I added a new source list for jessie-backports, and modified the line in /etc/apt/sources.list for jessie.

Code: Select all
# echo deb http://http.debian.net/debian jessie-backports main contrib non-free > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/jessie-backports.list

Code: Select all
inside the /etc/apt/sources.list file: deb http://httpredir.debian.org/debian/ jessie main contrib non-free

4. Follow https://wiki.debian.org/NvidiaGraphicsD ... 2Jessie.22 to install the appropriate NVIDIA driver. Follow the tutorial from step 2 since you've already created jessie-backports.list. Don't restart your system after installing the NVIDIA driver.
5. Installed the nvidia-xconfig package to set up a default configuration file for the NVIDIA driver:

Code: Select all
# apt-get update && apt-get install nvidia-xconfig

6. Create a configuration file using the above package:

Code: Select all
# nvidia-xconfig

7. Reboot and rejoice.

Afterwards I installed the firmware-b43-installer package from jessie contrib and rebooted to enable my Macbook's wireless card: https://packages.debian.org/jessie/firm ... -installer.
Hope that helped, and thanks again!
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Re: Fresh Jessie install hangs on black screen when booting

Postby Payload » 2017-04-30 09:21

thank you, that solved my problem too!
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