Mission: Get photos off friends laptop that has had a rough time. There's approximately a years worth of unbacked up photos. Problem: HDD is probably damaged from a violent lid close. From then on the installed Windows OS fails to boot. Recovery mode also fails. Solution (or so I thought): No worries. Use Puppy Linux to get around the damaged OS files via usb boot. Pull off the photos. Become a hero. Problem: Can't get Puppy to launch.

Puppy startup screen launches fine. I'm able to change all of my boot options. With defaults boot process works normally. When process list has finished with green dones I get a blank flick (as expected just before X loads) and then this!

I've used pretty much all of the pfix boot options. Same issue even if I choose to not use X.

Apologies for missing specs. I've got those details from the BIOS and stickers on the lappy. If its critical I can ask my friend if he kept the manual to fill in the blanks.

  • Samsung Laptop
  • Model: NP355V5C-S01AU
  • Built: September 2012
  • Current installed OS: Win 7
  • HDD: Hitachi (don't know the size)
  • CPU: AMD A6-4400M APU with Radeon HD graphics
  • RAM: 2x2048MB
  • USB Booting with unetbootin
  • USB OS: Slacko Puppy 5.7

Crash screen

Any help will be much appreciated.

Cheers, James

  • when you're at the screen shown in your screenshot, can you Ctrl+Alt+F2 (or F3 or whatever) to get to a console? that looks to me like a failing X configuration, but if you can get to a text login you have options to fix X or work without it.
    – quixotic
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 0:25
  • Just gave that a go with all F keys. No result. I did try to boot into puppy without X loading at all. Same thing happens. You would think if it was a failing X config that should work?
    – koax26
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 1:22
  • ... hmm. seeing some reports of weird issues on Samsung UEFI systems of that age. ... you might do some research on the model and see if that's affected, if there are firmware updates available, known kernel boot options that might help coerce the system into functioning, etc.
    – quixotic
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 2:02
  • extracting the drive and using another system to access it should avoid issues with the hardware. otoh accidentally bricking the system will probably not wipe the harddrive, so extracting the drive after would still be an option.
    – quixotic
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 2:03
  • specifically re: same thing without X ... maybe the gpu isn't handling the default kernel modesetting properly, so both framebuffer console and X are hosed ... should be able to disable that from kernel boot option ... nomodeset or radeon.modeset=0 (or both)?
    – quixotic
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 2:08

2 Answers 2


As it seems that the hard drive is being read, it seems to work: In order from simplest:

  1. Use a pen-drive with a live version of Mint or other linux distro (Windows).

  2. Extract the disk from the computer and connect it via usb

If the hdd is broken, there is very little hope of recovering anything.

  • Hey Isaac, You're first solution is what I've done using Puppy. Are you suggesting that I try a different distro? Yeah I thought of taking the thing apart and pulling stuff directly off the hard disk. Trouble is I don't have the gear. Thanks for providing the link. I didn't realise the price had come down so much on them. Definitely something to look into if I can't get it to boot. Cheers, James
    – koax26
    Commented Dec 17, 2017 at 23:49

The issue was resolved by changing the modesetting to 0. In the puppy bootscreen specifically this was puppy radeon.modeset=0. Solution suggested by quixotic.

  • if you plan to use that hardware with linux longer term, research the specifics of the the gfx chipset (probably a RadeonHD 7xxx); you might find the Catalyst proprietary driver works better, or be able to find other radeon parameters that allow modesetting to work properly (see eg modinfo -p radeon). good luck with the data recovery!
    – quixotic
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 4:12
  • Thanks @quixotic. Got the vast majority of the data off. Pretty much all the photos bar a small handful that must have been on damaged sectors. Managed to pull all of the other documents, etc off too. The disk is just barely working. It took a long time to get it off. Left it going overnight. I'm afraid this ones going to be duke n nuked and binned.
    – koax26
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 1:46

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