2

Update: I've found a temporary workaround, but I would still like to find a more permanent solution.

Workaround:

  • I startout the boot process with the laptops battery removed. If I do this it boots to ecryption password prompt (I'm not referring to the user logging screen) just fine, in a normal amount of time –about 5seconds (vs. 30+min).
  • Next, I have to re-attach the battery before entering the encryption password to unlock the partitions, or it will fail to boot the rest of the way. (It will drop to a command prompt and I will have to reboot.)

So, currently, other than having to put up with the above every time I boot the laptop it works just fine.

My laptop is about 6-7 years old and so is the battery. The battery only holds about 2% of a "full charge". So, maybe the battery is causing errors during the initial boot process?


Update2: The only thing I've been able to find that is at all related to this issue is this forum thread: http://www.tomsguide.com/forum/49975-35-typing-keyboard-slow

The user is running windows, but it's still very similar. It seems that a bad battery manifests itself differently in OS's that use Linux.


Original Post:

I'm going to be very verbose and provide all the info I know to, let me know if I need to provide anything else.

I've spent the last two days googling but I haven't been able to find any help-forum post with an issue exactly like this, let alone a remedy.


Symptoms/Issue:

  • The boot process will take a normal amount of time to get to the grub menu.
  • Then, once the Linux distro is selected (any distro, refer to text bellow for all of the distros I have tried) it loads a black screen that is blank except for a blinking underscore cursor.
  • It stays on the above screen, completely unchanged, for over 30mins. Wile on this screen absolutely no information is printed-out at anytime.
  • Next, it suddenly displays the distros splash screen, and from this point forward everything functions normal and in normal time.

Short Hardware description:

  • More detailed info available at bottom
  • Gateway Laptop
  • M-Series
  • Model: M-7327u
  • cpu: Intel Pentium
  • ram: 3GB
  • 1 HDD 250 GB

Distros:

all displayed the same boot issue

  • Distros I tried to boot from USB into live session:
  • lubuntu 14.04.1 amd64
  • xubuntu 14.04.1 amd64
  • ubuntu-mate 14.04.1 amd64
  • ubuntu-mate 14.10 amd64
  • Linux Mint 17.1 amd64
  • Elementary OS Luna amd64 - same version/iso I fist used to set up the original (pre-issue) install
  • Gparted - live

  • Distros I've installed (all 64 bit):

  • ubuntu-mate 14.04.1
  • Linux Mint 17.1

History (before the issue started):

I had Windows 7 and Elementary OS Luna duel installed. That has work just fine for the last 3 month. I decided to remove Windows and switch from elementary os to a distro that is easier to customize.

Also, a couple of days before I installed a new distro, elementary started taking a long time to recover after being suspended. I did not have any issues booting though. Boot would take roughly 1 min, or less.


What I've tried so far - Sequence of events:

Note: every time I tried to boot into a linux distro from this point onward the boot displayed the above symptoms.

  1. First, I tried installing ubuntu-mate 14.04.1 along side windows 7. The boot to the live session took about 30min but I installed anyways. The install went as expected, and in normal time. The boot into the new install took over 30min. I tried rebooting to see if it was just an issue with the initial boot, nope. This second boot also took over 30min.

  2. Next, I tried these tips from this forum (http://bit.ly/1yhcSEM), none of which helped:

    • Removing all USB devices
    • Disabling USB legacy in the BIOS (I have not tried to update my BIOS, I figure it's not worth the risk considering that the current version worked just fine with the original elementary install.)
  3. Next, I tried booting Live sessions of the following distros, all displayed the same boot issue: Distros I tried (All 64 bit) to boot from USB into live session:

    • lubuntu 14.04.1
    • xubuntu 14.04.1
    • ubuntu-mate 14.04.1
    • ubuntu-mate 14.10
    • Linux Mint 17.1
    • Elementary OS Luna - same version/iso I fist used to set up the original (pre-issue) install.
  4. Next, I figured I would would just start totally from scratch, so, from a Live session (booted from USB) I zero'd out the hdd with the following command:

    $ sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=512
    

    Then using gparted I gave it a new msdos partition table (the default)

  5. Next, I installed Linux Mint 17.1 from a live session booted from USB. The live session had the same boot problem, taking over 30min.

    The installation process went ok, taking a normal amount of time. Less than 30min. After rebooting, the boot into the new install agiain displayed the same issue. I tried rebooting, this time with USB legacy turned off in the bios menu. Same boot issue.

  6. Next, I booted gparted live os from USB. At first it started up normally, and in a reasonable amount of time, but after setting up the initial settings (keyboard info, language, etc), when it was time to actually boot into the os it also had the same issue.

    While running gparted live, I tried the following:

    From the terminal I tried using fsck on all partitions $ sudo fsck /dev/sda but it didn't appear to do anything. It gave the following output: fsck from util-linux 2.25.1

7- Next, I tried using bootchart. There ended up being too much data for the bootchart gui to produce an image. One of the log files is 68MB. If someone can recommend a way that I can share the bootchart tarball or the unpacked text files, I'll share them. But, they are so big that I can't imagine anyone will want to look through them.


Extended information:

$ head -n1 /etc/issue

Linux Mint 17.1 Rebecca \n \l

$ df -h

Filesystem                 Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/mapper/mint--vg-root  226G  4.6G  210G   3% /
none                       4.0K     0  4.0K   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
udev                       1.5G  4.0K  1.5G   1% /dev
tmpfs                      294M  1.3M  293M   1% /run
none                       5.0M     0  5.0M   0% /run/lock
none                       1.5G  740K  1.5G   1% /run/shm
none                       100M   16K  100M   1% /run/user
/dev/sda1                  236M   46M  178M  21% /boot
/home/username/.Private    226G  4.6G  210G   3% /home/username

$ hwinfo

Architecture:          x86_64
CPU op-mode(s):        32-bit, 64-bit
Byte Order:            Little Endian
CPU(s):                2
On-line CPU(s) list:   0,1
Thread(s) per core:    1
Core(s) per socket:    2
Socket(s):             1
NUMA node(s):          1
Vendor ID:             GenuineIntel
CPU family:            6
Model:                 15
Stepping:              13
CPU MHz:               1000.000
BogoMIPS:              4322.50
L1d cache:             32K
L1i cache:             32K
L2 cache:              1024Kremidy
NUMA node0 CPU(s):     0,1

$ lsusb -tv

/:  Bus 08.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=uhci_hcd/2p, 12M
/:  Bus 07.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=uhci_hcd/2p, 12M
/:  Bus 06.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=uhci_hcd/2p, 12M
/:  Bus 05.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=uhci_hcd/2p, 12M
/:  Bus 04.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=uhci_hcd/2p, 12M
/:  Bus 03.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=uhci_hcd/2p, 12M
/:  Bus 02.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=ehci-pci/6p, 480M
/:  Bus 01.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=ehci-pci/6p, 480M
    |__ Port 3: Dev 2, If 0, Class=Video, Driver=uvcvideo, 480M
    |__ Port 3: Dev 2, If 1, Class=Video, Driver=uvcvideo, 480M

$ lspci -tv

-[0000:00]-+-00.0  Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Memory Controller Hub
           +-02.0  Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Integrated Graphics Controller
           +-02.1  Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Integrated Graphics Controller
           +-1a.0  Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #4
           +-1a.1  Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #5
           +-1a.2  Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #6
           +-1a.7  Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller #2
           +-1b.0  Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) HD Audio Controller
           +-1c.0-[02-03]----00.0  Qualcomm Atheros AR928X Wireless Network Adapter (PCI-Express)
           +-1c.2-[04-05]--
           +-1c.5-[06]----00.0  Marvell Technology Group Ltd. 88E8040 PCI-E Fast Ethernet Controller
           +-1d.0  Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #1
           +-1d.1  Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #2
           +-1d.2  Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #3
           +-1d.7  Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller #1
           +-1e.0-[07]--+-09.0  O2 Micro, Inc. Integrated MS/xD Controller
           |            \-09.2  O2 Micro, Inc. Integrated MMC/SD Controller
           +-1f.0  Intel Corporation ICH9M LPC Interface Controller
           +-1f.2  Intel Corporation 82801IBM/IEM (ICH9M/ICH9M-E) 4 port SATA Controller [AHCI mode]
           \-1f.3  Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) SMBus Controller

$ sudo fdisk -l 

Disk /dev/sda: 250.1 GB, 250059350016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 30401 cylinders, total 488397168 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x0005ffe2

   Device Boot      Start      phoenix securecore se   End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1   *        2048      499711      248832   83  Linux
/dev/sda2          501758   488396799   243947521    5  Extended
/dev/sda5          501760   488396799   243947520   83  Linux

Disk /dev/mapper/sdb5_crypt: 249.8 GB, 249800163328 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 30369 cylinders, total 487890944 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00000000

Disk /dev/mapper/sdb5_crypt doesn't contain a valid partition table

Disk /dev/mapper/mint--vg-root: 246.6 GB, 246646046720 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 29986 cylinders, total 481730560 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00000000

Disk /dev/mapper/mint--vg-root doesn't contain a valid partition table

Disk /dev/mapper/mint--vg-swap_1: 3149 MB, 3149922304 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 382 cylinders, total 6152192 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00000000

Disk /dev/mapper/mint--vg-swap_1 doesn't contain a valid partition table

$ sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda

smartctl 6.2 2013-07-26 r3841 [x86_64-linux-3.13.0-37-generic] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-13, Bruce Allen, Christian Franke, www.smartmontools.org

=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Model Family:     Hitachi Travelstar 5K320
Device Model:     Hitachi HTS543225L9A300
Serial Number:    090106FB2D06LJCBBH8C
LU WWN Device Id: 5 000cca 565c52b39
Firmware Version: FBEOC40C
User Capacity:    250,059,350,016 bytes [250 GB]
Sector Size:      512 bytes logical/physical
Rotation Rate:    5400 rpm
Device is:        In smartctl database [for details use: -P show]
ATA Version is:   ATA8-ACS T13/1699-D revision 3f
SATA Version is:  SATA 2.6, 3.0 Gb/s
Local Time is:    Thu Dec  4 03:29:55 2014 CST
SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled

=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED

General SMART Values:
Offline data collection status:  (0x00) Offline data collection activity
                    was never started.
                    Auto Offline Data Collection: Disabled.
Self-test execution status:      (   0) The previous self-test routine completed
                    without error or no self-test has ever 
                    been run.
Total time to complete Offline 
data collection:        (  645) seconds.
Offline data collection
capabilities:            (0x5b) SMART execute Offline immediate.
                    Auto Offline data collection on/off support.
                    Suspend Offline collection upon new
                    command.
                    Offline surface scan supported.
                    Self-test supported.
                    No Conveyance Self-test supported.
                    Selective Self-test supported.
SMART capabilities:            (0x0003) Saves SMART data before entering
                    power-saving mode.
                    Supports SMART auto save timer.
Error logging capability:        (0x01) Error logging supported.
                    General Purpose Logging supported.
Short self-test routine 
recommended polling time:    (   2) minutes.
Extended self-test routine
recommended polling time:    ( 102) minutes.
SCT capabilities:          (0x003d) SCT Status supported.
                    SCT Error Recovery Control supported.
                    SCT Feature Control supported.
                    SCT Data Table supported.

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 16
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x000b   100   100   062    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  2 Throughput_Performance  0x0005   100   100   040    Pre-fail  Offline      -       0
  3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0007   253   253   033    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0012   099   099   000    Old_age   Always       -       2508
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   100   100   005    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         0x000b   100   100   067    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  8 Seek_Time_Performance   0x0005   100   100   040    Pre-fail  Offline      -       0
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0012   081   081   000    Old_age   Always       -       8368
 10 Spin_Retry_Count        0x0013   100   100   060    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   099   099   000    Old_age   Always       -       2505
191 G-Sense_Error_Rate      0x000a   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
192 Power-Off_Retract_Count 0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       33
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0012   091   091   000    Old_age   Always       -       91605
194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0002   166   166   000    Old_age   Always       -       33 (Min/Max 7/50)
196 Reallocated_Event_Count 0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0022   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0008   100   100   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x000a   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
223 Load_Retry_Count        0x000a   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0

SMART Error Log Version: 1
ATA Error Count: 4
    CR = Command Register [HEX]
    FR = Features Register [HEX]
    SC = Sector Count Register [HEX]
    SN = Sector Number Register [HEX]
    CL = Cylinder Low Register [HEX]
    CH = Cylinder High Register [HEX]
    DH = Device/Head Register [HEX]
    DC = Device Command Register [HEX]
    ER = Error register [HEX]
    ST = Status register [HEX]
Powered_Up_Time is measured from power on, and printed as
DDd+hh:mm:SS.sss where DD=days, hh=hours, mm=minutes,
SS=sec, and sss=millisec. It "wraps" after 49.710 days.

Error 4 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 3 hours (0 days + 3 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  10 51 01 41 84 1c e0  Error: IDNF at LBA = 0x001c8441 = 1868865

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  24 03 01 41 84 1c e0 00      00:06:44.400  READ SECTOR(S) EXT
  25 03 01 41 84 1c e0 00      00:06:44.000  READ DMA EXT
  ef 03 46 ff ff 00 e0 00      00:01:01.200  SET FEATURES [Set transfer mode]
  ef 03 0c ff ff 00 e0 00      00:01:01.200  SET FEATURES [Set transfer mode]
  c6 ff 10 ff ff 00 e0 00      00:01:01.200  SET MULTIPLE MODE

Error 3 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 3 hours (0 days + 3 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  10 51 01 41 84 1c e0  Error: IDNF 1 sectors at LBA = 0x001c8441 = 1868865

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  25 03 01 41 84 1c e0 00      00:06:44.000  READ DMA EXT
  ef 03 46 ff ff 00 e0 00      00:01:01.200  SET FEATURES [Set transfer mode]
  ef 03 0c ff ff 00 e0 00      00:01:01.200  SET FEATURES [Set transfer mode]
  c6 ff 10 ff ff 00 e0 00      00:01:01.200  SET MULTIPLE MODE
  10 ff 50 2f e2 05 e0 00      00:01:01.100  RECALIBRATE [OBS-4]

Error 2 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 3 hours (0 days + 3 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  10 51 01 41 84 1c e0  Error: IDNF at LBA = 0x001c8441 = 1868865

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  24 ff 01 41 84 1c e0 00      00:01:01.000  READ SECTOR(S) EXT
  25 ff 01 41 84 1c e0 00      00:01:00.900  READ DMA EXT
  25 ff 08 00 08 a0 e0 00      00:01:00.900  READ DMA EXT
  25 ff 08 28 34 37 e0 00      00:01:00.900  READ DMA EXT
  25 ff 51 d7 33 37 e0 00      00:01:00.800  READ DMA EXT

Error 1 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 3 hours (0 days + 3 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  10 51 01 41 84 1c e0  Error: IDNF 1 sectors at LBA = 0x001c8441 = 1868865

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  25 ff 01 41 84 1c e0 00      00:01:00.900  READ DMA EXT
  25 ff 08 00 08 a0 e0 00      00:01:00.900  READ DMA EXT
  25 ff 08 28 34 37 e0 00      00:01:00.900  READ DMA EXT
  25 ff 51 d7 33 37 e0 00      00:01:00.800  READ DMA EXT
  25 ff 57 80 33 37 e0 00      00:01:00.800  READ DMA EXT

SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
No self-tests have been logged.  [To run self-tests, use: smartctl -t]


SMART Selective self-test log data structure revision number 1
 SPAN  MIN_LBA  MAX_LBA  CURRENT_TEST_STATUS
    1        0        0  Not_testing
    2        0        0  Not_testing
    3        0        0  Not_testing
    4        0        0  Not_testing
    5        0        0  Not_testing
Selective self-test flags (0x0):
  After scanning selected spans, do NOT read-scan remainder of disk.
If Selective self-test is pending on power-up, resume after 0 minute delay.
  • 1
    To me it sounds like your disk drive is going bad. As I have unfortunately found, disks go bad without finding events or errors. I have had this type of behavior (i.e. long delays) happen and once the drive was replaced and imaged back everything was ok. – mdpc Dec 4 '14 at 6:34
  • Try running smartctl on the disc and post the results. – Anthon Dec 4 '14 at 6:39
  • 1
    NOTICE: Crossposted to askubuntu.com/questions/556458/… DO NOT DO THAT. – mdpc Dec 4 '14 at 6:40
  • I deleted the other post. – Nomad1984 Dec 4 '14 at 9:23
  • I've added the results of $ sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda to the end. – Nomad1984 Dec 4 '14 at 9:48
0

Based upon experimentation and some information I was able to scrounge up: If you experience the above symptoms and you are using an old laptop with a battery that is near death, then basically your battery has reached a point that it’s actually poisonous to you system.

The workaround I posted in update1, may work for you. But, if you have the coin, you should just go ahead and replace the battery. Or, if you are really flush, just get a new laptop and use the old one as a learner/test server until it finally dies.

For references/documentation refer to the post.

0

Your system should work properly with the battery out. Having to replace the battery sounds like a hardware issue.


Anyway, I've seen something similar happen in Ubuntu VMs, where the wrong framebuffer is being selected, which causes very, very slow console updates. In this case, try adding vga16fb.modeset=0 to your kernel boot options. 1

0

I'd think out of the box, just go for a cheap aftermarket battery on ebay or somewhere else, real performance and capacity doesn't matter very much as you don't have any right now.

Anyway on a 6-7 years old laptop any other component might fail before the new battery and you will enjoy a mobile laptop in the meanwhile which worth the $, not just a portable pc as you actually have.

Time is priceless mate :)

  • This is true. I've succumbed to the reality that I just need to replace the battery. All evidence now points that way and the workaround is a tad ridiculous. Also, it would be nice to have a mobile laptop again. – Nomad1984 Dec 4 '14 at 10:59
  • Cool. If you find it useful you can upvote the answer or furthermore mark it as accepted so others users won't go to read the whole thread thinking you haven't found a solution that satisfies you. That would free them to attend other mates as well. Cheers – Jaime Agudo Dec 4 '14 at 12:28
  • I appreciate your response but it's more of a comment. I went ahead and posted an answer based on the information gathered, but stack-exchange will not allow me to select it as the answer for two days. – Nomad1984 Dec 4 '14 at 13:07

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