Sometimes, when I boot up my PC, I find that after the logo screen, an _ (underscore) is blinking and the machine does not boot. After that I have to unplug it from the mains and restart it and then it runs fine. So, Please tell me what has happened to my PC? My specifications are

Debian 7, 512 MB RAM 3 GHZ PENTIUM D PROCESSOR 256 MB GRAPHICS
up vote 3 down vote accepted

This has nothing to do with Debian, the problem you are experiencing happens long before the operating system is started. What is strange is that it only happens sometimes.

One possibility is that you have a failing hard drive. Check the output of

sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda

You should see a line like this:

SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED

If your GRUB is not installed on /dev/sda, replace /dev/sda with the correct device. You may need to install smartctl:

sudo apt-get install smartmontools

UPDATE

The output you posted contains these lines:

 ATA Error Count: 1652 (device log contains only the most recent five errors)
[...]
 Error 1652 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 5265 hours (219 days + 9 hours)
When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

After command completion occurred, registers were:
ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
-- -- -- -- -- -- --
40 51 00 2d 51 60 e0 Error: UNC at LBA = 0x0060512d = 6312237

Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC Powered_Up_Time Command/Feature_Name
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- ---------------- --------------------
c8 00 01 2d 51 60 00 00 00:16:03.660 READ DMA
27 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00:16:03.660 READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS EXT
ec 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00:16:03.651 IDENTIFY DEVICE
ef 03 46 00 00 00 00 00 00:16:03.644 SET FEATURES [Set transfer mode]
27 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00:16:03.643 READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS EXT

Error 1651 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 5265 hours (219 days + 9 hours)
When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

After command completion occurred, registers were:
ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
-- -- -- -- -- -- --
40 51 00 2d 51 60 e0 Error: UNC at LBA = 0x0060512d = 6312237

Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC Powered_Up_Time Command/Feature_Name
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- ---------------- --------------------
c8 00 01 2d 51 60 00 00 00:16:01.486 READ DMA
27 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00:16:01.486 READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS EXT
ec 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00:16:01.477 IDENTIFY DEVICE
ef 03 46 00 00 00 00 00 00:16:01.470 SET FEATURES [Set transfer mode]
27 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00:16:01.470 READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS EXT

Error 1650 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 5265 hours (219 days + 9 hours)
When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

After command completion occurred, registers were:
ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
-- -- -- -- -- -- --
40 51 00 2d 51 60 e0 Error: UNC at LBA = 0x0060512d = 6312237

Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC Powered_Up_Time Command/Feature_Name
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- ---------------- --------------------
c8 00 01 2d 51 60 00 00 00:15:59.544 READ DMA
27 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00:15:59.544 READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS EXT
ec 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00:15:59.535 IDENTIFY DEVICE
ef 03 46 00 00 00 00 00 00:15:59.528 SET FEATURES [Set transfer mode]
27 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00:15:59.528 READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS EXT

Error 1649 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 5265 hours (219 days + 9 hours)
When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

After command completion occurred, registers were:
ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
-- -- -- -- -- -- --
40 51 00 2d 51 60 e0 Error: UNC at LBA = 0x0060512d = 6312237

Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC Powered_Up_Time Command/Feature_Name
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- ---------------- --------------------
c8 00 01 2d 51 60 00 00 00:15:57.486 READ DMA
27 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00:15:57.486 READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS EXT
ec 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00:15:57.478 IDENTIFY DEVICE
ef 03 46 00 00 00 00 00 00:15:57.478 SET FEATURES [Set transfer mode]
27 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00:15:57.478 READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS EXT

Error 1648 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 5265 hours (219 days + 9 hours)
When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

So, it looks like you have problems reading from the drive. If this started recently, your drive has probably been damaged. I recommend you make a backup quickly and buy a new drive.

Before changing drives, make sure that your cables are correctly connected (the HDD cables) and try with a different cable just in case.

  • wait let me do it – user49418 Oct 17 '13 at 15:55
  • this is coming help please freetexthost.com/4z6lfhorpc – user49418 Oct 17 '13 at 15:57
  • @user49418 see my updated answer. – terdon Oct 17 '13 at 16:46
  • YOU SAID "If this started recently, your drive has probably been damaged." Wha tdo this mean that it has started recently? – user49418 Oct 18 '13 at 2:24
  • @user49418 I mean that if this did not happen before and is happening now, if something changed, then you probably have a hardware problem. – terdon Oct 18 '13 at 13:29

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