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After installing Debian Jessie on a System76 Gazelle laptop I was presented with the classic "black screen with blinking cursor". I figured this was some problem with X so I tried startx - it gave me this error:

(EE) Fatal server error:(EE) no screens found(EE)

I ran Xorg -configure as root and then X -config /root/xorg/conf.new, only to get the same error. The new conf file has the following section for Screen:

Section "Screen"
        Identifier "Screen0"
        Device     "Card0"
        Monitor    "Monitor0"
        SubSection "Display"
                Viewport   0 0
                Depth     1
        EndSubSection
        SubSection "Display"
                Viewport   0 0
                Depth     4
        EndSubSection
        SubSection "Display"
                Viewport   0 0
                Depth     8
        EndSubSection
        SubSection "Display"
                Viewport   0 0
                Depth     15
        EndSubSection
        SubSection "Display"
                Viewport   0 0
                Depth     16
        EndSubSection
        SubSection "Display"
                Viewport   0 0
                Depth     24
        EndSubSection
EndSection

So it appears that X cannot understand the laptop's screen - it has only the default screen, I am not sure what resolution. I have access to a full backup of this laptop before the fresh install and there is no 10-monitor.conf in /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d, so I do not know if it previously needed to be worked around.

How can I fix X to properly recognize this laptop monitor?

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In my case it was not a question of missing firmware, unsupported hardware, etc. I ran a postinstall script from d-i preseed that grabbed the latest kernel from backports, but for some reason did not install the latest X as it usually does. Running apt install xserver-xorg-video-intel -t jessie-backports fetched the correct version of X for this kernel and it worked perfectly after a reboot.

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