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I have just installed 64-bit Debian 9 on my old Pentium Dual Core laptop with 4 GB of RAM and 60GB SSD. This system ran Windows 10 quite well a while ago and hadn't been used for about a year.

Installation ran smoothly, but after it's finished, every attempt at boot ends up in system reboot. I had GRUB installed during setup. If I pick "normal" boot, the system reboots consistently after the second line of text appears on the screen (but I can't read what it says). If I pick recovery mode, the boot process goes further, but also ends up rebooting, and it doesn't seem that it's always at the same point.

At one occasion it stopped at "Started Flush Journal to Persistent Storage" and on another, earlier at "Freeing SMP alternative memory: [...]", which is what I was able to get by filming the boot screen in slow motion.

How would I go about troubleshooting what's causing the reboots? Is there a fail-safe mode (well, better than recovery mode) that I could enter in order to access logs or try to change some configuration?

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    Run a memtest. Does the problem still happen with a LiveCD? Do a disk check from the LiveCD if there is no problem.
    – Tigger
    Sep 11, 2017 at 9:28
  • Did you ever find a solution to this? I am having the same symptoms with Debian 9 and some hardware I have, and booting a SystemRescueCD has the same problem. I was able to run memtest86, but did not find any errors.
    – jkt123
    Jul 26, 2018 at 18:10
  • No, I didn't. Ended up installing Ubuntu, which worked. Jul 26, 2018 at 18:31

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I had this same problem, and it was fixed by not installing the firmware-linux-nonfree package. Once I had reinstalled without this package, the system would boot properly, but with an additional error about radeon. Additionally, the screen resolution would not increase during the boot process.

This problem seems to be specific to certain sets of hardware, as I have other systems installed with the firmware-linux-nonfree package (and otherwise identical software installed) that work fine.

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