Ubuntu Server Displays Blank Screen After Install

Posted on 2009-04-16
Last Modified: 2013-11-15
We are attempting to install Ubuntu 8.10 Server and are running into a problem.

The installation goes smoothly with no errors or abnormalities what-so-ever. However, as soon as the installation completes and you are prompted to reboot, things go bad. On that reboot, or any further boot attempts, even after powering off and restarting the system, you get the GRUB loading notification and then the screen goes completely blank. Occasionally, you will see a cursor flash, but that is it.

We have tried switching to different console sessions to see if that makes a difference with no luck. When installing, we are setting this up as an SSH server, and have attempted to connect to the machine with SSH. Also, no luck, so it appears to be more than just a video problem. Also, this is a server install with no GUI what-so-ever. It is a purely text-mode boot into a console session, so I wouldn't think video issues would come into play anyway.

We have attempted this install multiple times with the same result. We have used a GParted LiveCD to completely wipe the partition table and recreate and reformat partitions prior to install to make sure no remnants of any failed attempt are left on the drive. Still no dice.

This is, BTW, on one blade of our IBM BladeCenter HS20. It has dual Xeon processors, 4.5 gigs of RAM, and dual 146 Gb SCSI drives in a mirrored RAID configuration. We have two additional blades with exactly the same specs and configuration and have been able to install Ubuntu on them with no difficulties. We have also run a full set of hardware diagnostics (e.g. RAM, hard drive, processor, etc.) on the blade, and all passed.

Any suggestions or assistance would be most appreciated!

- Tom
Question by:TomEA
    LVL 10

    Accepted Solution

    Not sure I can help much, I don't have much experience with linux server, but I did have an idea for you... try to recreate the RAID array.

    Hope that helps!
    LVL 14

    Assisted Solution

    Boot the server with a LiceCD, then browse the hard disk and open the file /boot/grub/menu.lst. Once there, remove all occurencies of the two words: "quiet" and "splash".

    This will enable verbose booting in the terminal and could help you in debugging the problem. I am afraid it is a drive controller problem...
    LVL 16

    Expert Comment

    Are you sure you did not install Xorg?
    Can you post the content of the GRUB option you select?
    What error does it give when you try to ssh?
    LVL 8

    Expert Comment

    Can you describe exactly what you see on the screen as the system boots up?
    LVL 11

    Expert Comment

    You probably have an uncommon video set on the computer. Try changing the boot options. Here is a list:

    Specifically I would try the options:

    LVL 16

    Expert Comment

    I found something about a 8.04 issue

    "When I booted the live cd, the screen went blank& The next time I booted off the live cd, I choose F6, and removed quiet splash from the kernel arguments.

    At some point you might run into an error like:

    Feb 22 21:55:19 localhost ata2: failed to recover some devices, retrying in 5 secs

    If this happens add the kernel argument irqpoll and it should bypass/fix the problem (not sure which; it just worked).
    To add the irqpoll option in the live cd:

       1. Select F6
       2. Remove quite splash
       3. Add irqpoll

    To add the irqpoll option to grub (once installed): Replace # defoptions=quiet splash with # defoptions=irqpoll

    LVL 1

    Author Closing Comment

    Looks like it was a hardware problem, and both of your solutions assisted in tracking that down. Thanks!
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    Thanks, everyone! Looks like it was indeed a hardware problem. We swapped blades with a spare, then deleted and recreated the RAID array, and were then able to get Ubuntu installed. Thanks for all the help in debugging and tracking this down!

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