This is a problem that's truly got me stumped, and I've been doing support for several decades.

I've set up my in-laws with a pc running Linux Mint 13 (so that they don't screw it up like they would a Windows pc). Except for a few issues it's been a great success! The pc is a hand-me-down Medion (with some NVidia video card) that's always been rock solid.

Today, they called me up saying there's no display, and sure enough -- after the splash screen the display actually turns off (as in, "the green light goes yellow"), and I can't even switch to a TTY to log in and check dmesg -- because the keyboard and mouse have no power! What?! They work just fine in the BIOS and have power through much of the boot process. I haven't yet tested with a PS/2 keyboard and mouse (I have some, but I didn't have them on hand at the time). Booting with no USB peripherals makes no difference: the display goes off, and plugging in a mouse doesn't power it up.

How can I diagnose this problem? What could possibly turn off power to USB and VGA after (or during) booting?

PS. When I say that the splash screen shows up, that's an approximation. It's never been able to show anything else than a couple of white bars across the display, but then the desktop comes up just fine in full resolution. I just never bothered to fix the splash screen.

  • Can they get to the BIOS? – eyoung100 Oct 16 '14 at 19:58
  • I can access the BIOS just fine (maybe I was unclear about that), and I've checked all the settings. I am quite certain that my in-laws have not accessed/changed it, though! – KlaymenDK Oct 16 '14 at 20:05
  • Is the CDROM/USB bootaable from the BIOS? – eyoung100 Oct 16 '14 at 20:15
  • is the hardware arch compatible fully with the dist? i would put a password on the BIOS – unixmiah Oct 16 '14 at 20:39
  • Yes they both are (but I didn't have anything bootable with me at the time). – KlaymenDK Oct 16 '14 at 20:40

Ok, the next few boots identified the problem. There were increasing problems reading the memory, and eventually the video never even turned on for the bios power-on self test. I opened up the case -- the graphics card and AGP slot have a scorch mark covering 2-3 connectors. The card is busted, probably ditto for the main board.

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