Fix Kali Black Screen After Grub Boot-up

Fix Kali black screen after grub boot-up

Display misbehaving presentation includes:

  1. Blincking cursor at top-left corner
  2. Centered garbled lines of colorful squares
  3. A plain black screen (but this may be related to other issues)
  4. A kind but sticky message that X11 has re-started n times in n minutes
  5. The Linux Mint rotating ‘in process’ icon

Don’t tell me why but I have found this issue in several installations or reinstallations of Linux Mint (and other distributions) in previously working systems. It is related to failed detection of hardware, or by upgraded drivers (nouveau, spring 2011). Current video cards are willing to generate resolutions/frequencies over your monitor’s capabilites.

You will end your first install (and/or reboot procedure), with a black screen after several normal messages or disk activity just before getting the normal user prompt  (it will never come out).

It may even happen with the installation CD/DVD of some new distributions (Mint Mate 16, 17)

You will notice that the computer is working fine as it reboots gracefully if you click [Ctrl]+[Alt]+[Del] meaning that you have a working system but with a video problem. It mimicks a computer hanged (dead) but is not the case !

If the monitor is smart enough it will complain about wrong frequency or no signal.

Here is a simple and short fix that will allow to boot and configure the system from a graphical user interface (In Linux Mint will be Gnome).

  1. Reboot and wait to see the initial boot screen of GRUB with a list of operating systems. Tap a cursor key to avoid automatic boot.
  2. Select your choice (pe. LInux Mint) with the cursor and then press the [tab] key to get the full boot grub commad line. Don’t be afraid: is a long command. Avoid modifying it.
  3. Go to the line starting with the word linux and ending with the words: quiet splash
  4. Add one of the following ‘????.modeset=0’ parameter at the end of the long grub command line as is (type 1 space before). Use the parameter related to the brand or chipset of your video card . pe.: use nouveau  or nvidia for nvidia based cards (proprietary driver, just nv in some linux distributions, nouveau driver is the default in Mint) ), use radeon for amd/ati cards, i915 for intel based motherboards, ,,,  These are the most common examples.
    1. nvidia.modeset=0
    2. nouveau.modeset=0
    3. radeon.modeset=0
    4. i915.modeset=0 
    5. r128.modeset=0  (for very old ati rage 128 cards…)
    6. If you don’t know the brand you may use just one word:   nomodeset
    7. Your will find the full range of drivers and more info at wiki
  5. Press [Ctrl]+[X] to boot with this added parameter. This parameter will not be saved, just used in this single boot and nothing is damaged. To cancel without changes press [Esc].
  6. Hopefully, the system will boot into a default graphical environment and you will be able to install/reinstall driver or configuration packages. In my case I solved my issues in a old nvidia cards (Quadro NVS 280 and geforce 7300LE) using a legacy nvidia 96 or 173 drivers, respectively, in place of nouveau. And nvidia-settings package.
  7. Desperate Mode. If you cannot get a graphical user interface with this parameter and/or an ‘Monitor frequency error’  there is an alternate way (as always in linux). This situation may happen if you have replaced your video card, or the the driver needs additional parameters (I suffered it with a intel chipset)
    1. Use a lower resolution but highly compatible vesa driver. In the same line described in step 3 add this second video mode parameter (grub_gfxmode=). You may use one of them
      • grub_gfxmode=1280x1024x24      (in most large modern monitors)
      • grub_gfxmode=1024x768x16        (1024×768 is safer in older or smaller systems)
      • Many other settings are possible as: grub_gfxmode=vesa  (…or vga)
  8. For those brave enough, more detailed help may be found at Grub2 help in Ubuntu

(Solved) Update 2014: My Mint Mate LTS 17.0 re-install (Nvidia Quadro FX1400 dual monitor 19” 1280x1024x24)

  1. Let any Linux distribution ‘mature’: I waited 1 month before installing this new Mint version. Mate is just for me, and I will try to stick to this LTS. Live is too short to re-install too many times.
  2. Black screen or color squares in the first boot after install. Only able to run a ‘text’ login with nomodeset. Many restarts tried, but Nouveau was taking control over display even after blacklisting it in /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf: Ough!
  3. Solution as in this tutorial:
  4. While system booting menu (Grub) type e to edit the first grub line (Linux Mint …)
  5. add to the linux parameters line 2 flags:  nomodeset  grub_gfxmode=1280x1024x24
  6. You will boot with a Linux command line. Don’t be annoyed by error screens. Keep calm.
  7. Just in case (Linux is still maturing) update your system to get last fixes (this is the first run of the recent distribution !). Just do it.
    1. apt-get update
    2. apt-get upgrade
  8. Install nvidia propietary drivers: apt-get install nvidia-304 (the newest version supported by my ‘oldie’ card)
  9. Accept installation
  10. Just reboot.
  11. Done

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