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X Server GUI problem?


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#1 HeadDesk

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 05:42 AM

Hi, it's Headdesk again - more computer literate than last time but still a novice.


When my old hard drive died I installed a new blank one and put Linux Mint 10 onto that from a LiveUSB, and it's been working fine for months. But recently I've seen a strange appearance to the display. Here's a link to the image if you remove the xxxxx and spaces ----> http://farm9.staticflickr xxxxx .com/8299/7779918894_eaf8a7fca7.jpg


I noticed freezing, strange pixelation in the form of tan/blue cross hatching on the display, and on restarting after a freeze the normal menu popup hadn't fully loaded - it was just a blurry white box. I restarted and noticed a line horizontally across the screen. This led to seeing two identical displays stacked on top of one another including two cursors and menu bars (but with the bottom one cut off).

I've also noticed things like the options button disappearing and reappearing on Facebook. Also an error message about a child process which I should have screencapped but didn't. Restarting again didn't put the screen back to single.. leaving the computer off for a few hours then booting up did, but the split screen returned after I restarted to fix a freeze. I tried to put the resolution at a higher setting but it was as high as it would go.

UPDATE: The computer is now unusable because the display has deteriorated to an abstract blur and I can't see anything to do anything on it. (writing from my second computer)

A friend has told me it may be a GUI problem... he recommended I download the drivers for the Nvidia video card (which I did before the graphics broke down) and then change the X Server configurations to change it back from cloning itself... but the current pixelation and lack of cursor or icons to click mean I am unable to do this configuration. I can't get into terminal either (unless there's another way another user would know about).
Is is possible I could reinstall X server by booting from USB? Or some other solution bypassing the user interface? *derp*




I would provide a Speccy screenshot if I could, but I can't access saved files or take a new one. But the brand is Medion, it's an Intel Core2 Duo, OS is Linux 10 and graphics are by Nvidia.



Any help or suggestions to point me on the right track will be appreciated.
Thanks, Headdesk

Edited by HeadDesk, 15 August 2012 - 06:35 AM.


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#2 stiltskin

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 07:37 AM

I can't answer all of your questions. But as for getting into a terminal, when the screen goes graphical, hit Ctrl-Alt-F2. That will get you to a curses (terminal) login where you can do your work.

I'm not going to blame Mint for this one because it may actually be the driver. But I've had numerous problems with Mint in the past, some of which you are also experiencing (white boxes instead of popups, freezing, disappearing icons, etc). Mine weren't even remotely related to the driver, though, so those things may just be coincidental. Anyway, I refuse to use Mint one one netbook I own because of the problems I had. I also can't use it in 64-bit version on one desktop because of a series of different problems.

It didn't used to be that way. But a lot of things didn't used to be the way they are. Things change, sometimes for the better and sometimes not.

#3 HeadDesk

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 10:20 AM

Really? I was recommended Mint because it's meant to be noob friendly :( I downloaded the driver, but didn't get a chance to do anything beyond that so it could be.

Thanks for the tip about Ctrl-Alt-F2, I'll try to figure out what I need to do once I'm in terminal.


If all else fails and I can't fix this I was going to just wipe the Medions drive so I can partition it and dual boot Linux/Windows. I'll go learn how to do formatting of drives and hope it can work in this case >.<

(I want to keep this heavy old Medion at home to use like a desktop, so I can leave the more portable and basic Asus in my backpack. I want Windows on the Medion in addition because for some reason even though I did the sudo install for the Minecraft.jar file and can launch from terminal - the game still crashes immediately in Linux.)

#4 HeadDesk

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 10:59 AM

I tried pressing Ctrl-Alt-F2 but it didn't do anything..


After going through information on forums about these kinds of problems I thought to start directly into terminal, but that seemed to be a chosen option rather than an emergency one, and required changig settings and making preparations I can't.

I tried to restart in recovery mode or open the GRUB menu, trying different suggested options such as pressing Esc during boot, pressing F2 and F1. Still no terminal or menu came up.




I'm pretty ignorant about this, so is it possible to plug in a USB with new X Server software on it and boot from it? Could I put the Medion drive in another laptop and slave it? Any suggestions on bypassing X Server are welcome as fixing the GUI without access to its features is a Catch-22.

Headdesk

Edited by HeadDesk, 16 August 2012 - 10:59 AM.


#5 HeadDesk

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 02:15 PM

Ok, I've fixed the pixelation and got a normal looking desktop with icons back by reinstalling Mint from the Live USB I used for the initial installation... but the display is still seeing double.

How do I configure it to change it back from cloning itself?


(And yeah, I am about to look into Ubuntu)

Edited by HeadDesk, 16 August 2012 - 02:29 PM.


#6 stiltskin

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 05:45 PM

Still sounds like it might be a driver problem. Not sure where to go with that since I haven't experienced that one. Maybe try reinstalling the driver, downloading and installing the proprietary driver or whatever.

I'm very surprised Ctrl-Alt-F2 didn't work. Ctrl-Alt-F1 will take you to the default terminal, but you can't do anything in there because it's tied up with the GUI running Ctrl-Alt-F2/3/4/5/6 should all take you to logning screens. Ctrl-Alt-F7 (on some it's F8) will take you back to the original GUI you had.

For future reference, always give root a login password in case you need to do a rescue. Just open a terminal and type

sudo passwd root

The first prompt will be for your login password. The next two will be the new password for root. Then if you can get into a rescue shell, you'll be able to login as root. If root doesn't have a password, you'll be stuck unable to use rescue mode. Unless they screwed up the security - entirely possible - root can't login with a passwordless login. And you can't login and then issue root commands either.

#7 HeadDesk

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 04:26 AM

Thanks for your help stiltskin :)

Now that you say that... I forgot that between writing that entry and reinstalling Mint I did get frustrated and press all those buttons fast in a series... then did get a typable screen and was unable to do anything because it wanted another password (forcing me to turn the computer off). Only once though. On the other times I just got a black screen.

It's working now, just went to terminal and assigned a password for root :)

I'll have a look on the net for what I need to update and what the drivers are called for the 'sudo apt-get install'. Should I remove the drivers first or can I just update?


Following the amazing tech support guide ;) ( http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/tech_support_cheat_sheet.png )I've gone to the Control Center and tried to change interface setting but see nothing there about cloning.. same with Desktop and Display. I think I'll Google 'how to clone screen' and work backwards.




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