I just installed Ubuntu 16.04.7 from mini.iso. It's a VIA Nano U3500 @ 1GHz with 1 GB RAM and 4 GB HDD and from my research it seems this is the most appropriate Ubuntu for such a machine.

On the menu screen where you select installable components I only checked the OpenSSH server, and I'm assuming it won't install any graphical environment then.

Now when I boot the machine I only see a black screen. Only when I press Alt+F1 I get a login prompt. There are 5 more terminals with F2 to F6. With Alt+F7 I get a screen with a slightly bolder font (I think it's called "the VGA font") that says /dev/sda1: clean ... files, ... blocks.

Alt+F8, F9, etc. do nothing.

I noticed that when I press Alt+F1 during the boot process (the machine takes about 10 seconds to fully boot) I get to see a few boot messages, like [<timestamp>] [sdb] assuming drive cache: write through and then immediately I get the login.

If I hold shift at the beginning of the boot process, I get the GRUB menu with "Ubuntu" selected, if I then confirm with Enter the booting runs again with a black screen.

What would I have to do to be able to watch the usual boot messages and see the login without pressing any keys after boot?

1 Answer 1


By default, Ubuntu will boot with the kernel parameters quiet splash. I found getting rid of these will avoid the problem you describe. I believe I only experienced this problem myself on UEFI based devices (and not on BIOS based devices which is all that the Ubuntu mini.iso supports).

This will clear the quiet splash parameters for the next boot.

sed -i -e 's/^GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=.*/GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=""/' /etc/default/grub

I have also experienced your problem when graphical libraries get installed. In that situation the solution was to change the boot target from graphical.target to multi-user.target.

systemctl set-default multi-user.target

Also, you should not be using 16.04. That version is End-of-Life. I would be surprised if 20.04 did not work just as well on the hardware. The mini.iso is a bit hidden as it is being phased out, but it can be downloaded from http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/focal/main/installer-amd64/current/legacy-images/netboot/

  • Good catch about the CPU. When I bought it the machine was listed as having a VIA Eden CPU which is 32 bit and I think 20.04 doesn't have a 32 bit version. However the VIA Nano CPU that is actually in the machine indeed seems to be 64 bit.
    – AndreKR
    Aug 3, 2021 at 22:55

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