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I have installed Debian 8.5 in an old pc, following the graphical interface installation. The same procedure I've done with another pc and it's ok. But, with that pc a problem arise. When starting Debian, a black screen with a static cursor appears, and seems there's nothing to do to skip this. What could I do to prevent this problem?

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  • What is the difference between the machines? Is one of them a UEFI motherboard and the other isn't?
    – grochmal
    Sep 18, 2016 at 23:17
  • Can you interact with your boot loader at least? Can you see messages from the booting kernel? What happens if you add debug single to your kernel command line? Sep 20, 2016 at 6:51
  • @grochmal How can I know if it is UEFI? In BIOS settings does not say anything about this...
    – abarazal
    Sep 24, 2016 at 21:26

2 Answers 2

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I found a solution. The disk had been used in a RAID array, so I had to erase the metadata. Running Lubuntu from an USB, I opened a terminal and wrote:

sudo dmraid -E -r /dev/sda

Then, the installation program see my hard drive unpartitioned and I was able to install the distro the right way.

Thanks for your suggestions.

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It's hard to say what exactly is wrong, as you have nothing to go on other than the black screen.

So your first task is to try to see exactly what is wrong, and also possibly to try to start in a less complex mode so you can collect more information.

First, I seem to recall that there are two versions of Debian, the normal one, with all free drivers, and the one with more, and non-free device drivers. I would suggest you try to install that one.

Also as a test it might be good to install Ubuntu and see if that works on that box. It installed much easier for me, and it helped me understand what I needed to do to get Debian installed.

Also possibly you can chroot in I think from a usb stick which puts you actually running your new file systrem, in text mode, so you can examine the logs, and try commands out to investigate what is going on. Also from there you can load drivers, like video or other drivers, that might help you boot.

Also you can change the kernel parameters from grub by hitting ^C rather than selecting an entry if you are dual booting.

Another thing is create a USB stick that works. I keep one with ubuntu on it that I can boot, and then mount my laptop drives to fuss with them and see what is going on.

Another thing is to carefully think thru the order of boot steps (as better described elsewhere), and to try to determine where exactly it is stopping, i.e. divide and conquer is a much faster debugging method than try one thing at a time. I can't emphasize this enough. Try to break the problem in half first, rather than to try this, and try that. See which part of it is working, and which part is not. Divide in half, then divide the broken part in half, and over and over till you find it. When I first started troubleshooting computer over 30 years ago, I didn't know how to do this, but I've become a big believer in this general technique.

From my recent experience with similar problems, I strongly suspect it's a missing driver, but determining which one is going to take some work on your part. I spent several weeks getting it to work on my box, but in that time I learned a ton about what to look for.

Now I know I've just given you a bunch of ideas, but feel free to update your post as you go along and try things. You'll get it if you stick with it.

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  • I tried Lubuntu live and it works. However when I tried to install it, the installation program did not recognize my hard drive. However, if I do "sudo parted -l" (from live USB) my hard drive is there... That's really weird.
    – abarazal
    Sep 24, 2016 at 21:35
  • @abaraza First, it's best to prefix any personal comment here with the users's id, otherwise I might not ever see your comment. Next, I haven't used Lubuntu, but I would guess it is missing the correct driver for your hard disk. So first, what about testing with regular Ubuntu which comes with more drivers? Next, you should looks at something like lshw and poke around in it to see what it thinks your hard drive is. If you can get Lubuntu to boot to a place you can get a command line then from there you can load the appropriate driver package. I know this is not so easy. But stick with it Sep 26, 2016 at 0:58

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