Posts Tagged ‘notebooks’

xorg on Toshiba Satellite L40 14B with Intel GM965 video hangs up after boot and the worst fix ever / How to reinstall Ubuntu by keeping the old personal data and programs

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Reading Time: 4minutes

black screen ubuntu troubles

I have updated Ubuntu version 9.04 (Jaunty) to 9.10 and followed the my previous post update ubuntu from 9.04 to Latest Ubuntu

I expected that a step by step upgrade from a release to release will work like a charm and though it does on many notebooks it doesn't on Toshiba Satellite L40

The update itself went fine, whether I used the update-manager -d and followed the above pointed tutorial, however after a system restart the PC failed to boot the X server properly, a completely blank screen with blinking cursor appeared and that was all.

I restarted the system into the 2.6.35-28-generic kernel rescue-mode recovery kernel in order to be able to enter into physical console.

Logically the first thing I did is to check /var/log/messages and /var/log/Xorg.0.log but I couldn't find nothing unusual or wrong there.

I suspected something might be wrong with /etc/X11/xorg.conf so I deleted it:

ubuntu:~# rm -f /etc/X11/xorg.conf

and attempted to re-create the xorg.conf X configuration with command:

ubuntu:~# dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg

This command was reported to be the usual way to reconfigure the X server settings from console, but in my case (for unknown reasons) it did nothing.

Next the command which was able to re-generate the xorg.conf file was:

ubuntu:~# X -configure

The command generates a xorg.conf sample file in /root/xorg.conf.* so I used the conf to put it in /etc/X11/xorg.conf X's default location and restarted in hope that this would fix the non-booting issue.

Very sadly again the black screen of death appeared on the notebook toshiba screen.
I further thought of completely wipe out the xorg.conf in hope that at least it might boot without the conf file but this worked out neither.

I attempted to run the Xserver with a xorg.conf configured to work with vesa as it's well known vesa X server driver is supposed to work on 99% of the video cards, as almost all of them nowdays are compatible with the vesa standard, but guess what in my case vesa worked not!

The only version of X I can boot in was the failsafe X screen mode which is available through the grub's boot menu recovery mode.

Further on I decided to try few xorg.conf which I found online and were reported to work fine with Intel GM965 internal video , and yes this was also unsucessful.

Some of my other futile attempts were: to re-install the xorg server with apt-get, reinstall the xserver-xorg-video-intel driver e.g.:

ubuntu:~# apt-get install --reinstall xserver-xorg xserver-xorg-video-intel

As nothing worked out I was completely pissed off and decided to take an alternative approach which will take a lot of time but at least will probably be succesful, I decided to completely re-install the Ubuntu from a CD after backing up the /home directory and making a list of available packages on the system, so I can further easily run a tiny bash one-liner script to install all the packages which were previously existing on the laptop before the re-install:

Here is how I did it:

First I archived the /home directory:

ubuntu:/# tar -czvf home.tar.gz home/
....

For 12GB of data with some few thousands of files archiving it took about 40 minutes.

The tar spit archive became like 9GB and I hence used sftp to upload it to a remote FTP server as I was missing a flash drive or an external HDD where I can place the just archived data.

Uploading with sftp can be achieved with a command similar to:

sftp user@yourhost.com
Password:
Connected to yourhost.com.
sftp> put home.tar.gz

As a next step to backup in a file the list of all current installed packages, before I can further proceed to boot-up with the Ubuntu Maverich 10.10 CD and prooceed with the fresh install I used command:

for i in $(dpkg -l| awk '{ print $2 }'); do
echo $i; done >> my_current_ubuntu_packages.txt

Once again I used sftp as in above example to upload my_current_update_packages.txt file to my FTP host.

After backing up all the stuff necessery, I restarted the system and booted from the CD-rom with Ubuntu.
The Ubuntu installation as usual is more than a piece of cake and even if you don't have a brain you can succeed with it, so I wouldn't comment on it 😉

Right after the installation I used the sftp client once again to fetch the home.tar.gz and my_current_ubuntu_packages.txt

I placed the home.tar.gz in /home/ and untarred it inside the fresh /home dir:

ubuntu:/home# tar -zxvf home.tar.gz

Eventually the old home directory was located in /home/home so thereon I used Midnight Commander ( the good old mc text file explorer and manager ) to restore the important user files to their respective places.

As a last step I used the my_current_ubuntu_packages.txt in combination with a tiny shell script to install all the listed packages inside the file with command:

ubuntu:~# for i in $(cat my_current_ubuntu_packagespackages.txt); do
apt-get install --yes $i; sleep 1;
done

You will have to stay in front of the computer and manually answer a ncurses interface questions concerning some packages configuration and to be honest this is really annoying and time consuming.

Summing up the overall time I spend with this stupid Toshiba Satellite L40 with the shitty Intel GM965 was 4 days, where each day I tried numerous ways to fix up the X and did my best to get through the blank screen xserver non-bootable issue, without a complete re-install of the old Ubuntu system.
This is a lesson for me that if I stumble such a shitty issues I will straight proceed to the re-install option and not loose my time with non-sense fixes which would never work.

Hope the article might be helpful to somebody else who experience some problems with Linux similar to mine.

After all at least the Ubuntu Maverick 10.10 is really good looking in general from a design perspective.
What really striked me was the placement of the close, minimize and maximize window buttons , it seems in newer Ubuntus the ubuntu guys decided to place the buttons on the left, here is a screenshot:

Left button positioning of navigation Buttons in Ubuntu 10.10

I believe the solution I explain, though very radical and slow is a solution that would always work and hence worthy 😉
Let me hear from you if the article was helpful.

Must have software on freshly installed windows – Essential Software after fresh Windows install

Friday, March 18th, 2016

Reading Time: 4minutes

Install-update-multiple-programs-applications-at-once-using-ninite

If you're into IT industry even if you don't like installing frequently Windows or you're completely Linux / BSD user, you will certainly have a lot of friends which will want help from you to re-install or fix their Windows 7 / 8 / 10 OS. At least this is the case with me every year, I'm kinda of obliged to install fresh windowses on new bought friends or relatives notebooks / desktop PCs.

Of course according to for whom the new Windows OS installed the preferrences of necessery software varies, however more or less there is sort of standard list of Windows Software which is used daily by most of Avarage Computer user, such as:
 

I tend to install on New Windows installs and thus I have more or less systematized the process.

I try to usually stick to free software where possible for each of the above categories as a Free Software enthusiast and luckily nowadays there is a lot of non-priprietary or at least free as in beer software available out there.

For Windows sysadmins or College and other public institutions networks including multiple of Windows Computers which are not inside a domain and also for people in computer repair shops where daily dozens of windows pre-installs or a set of software Automatic updates are  necessery make sure to take a look atNinite

ninite-automate-windows-program-deploy-and-update-on-new-windows-os-openoffice-screenshot

As official website introduces Ninite:

Ninite – Install and Update All Your Programs at Once

Of course as Ninite is used by organizations as NASA, Harvard Medical School etc. it is likely the tool might reports your installed list of Windows software and various other Win PC statistical data to Ninite developers and most likely NSA, but this probably doesn't much matter as this is probably by the moment you choose to have installed a Windows OS on your PC.

ninite-choises-to-build-an-install-package-with-useful-essential-windows-software-screenshot
 

For Windows System Administrators managing small and middle sized network PCs that are not inside a Domain Controller, Ninite could definitely save hours and at cases even days of boring install and maintainance work. HP Enterprise or HP Inc.Employees or ex-employees would definitely love Ninite, because what Ninite does is pretty much like the well known HP Internal Tool PC COE.

Ninite could also prepare an installer containing multiple applications based on the choice on Ninite's website, so that's also a great thing especially if you need to deploy a different type of Users PCs (Scientific / Gamers / Working etc.)

Perhaps there are also other useful things to install on a new fresh Windows installations, if you're using something I'm missing let me know in comments.

Remove password prompt on GNOME Shutdown / Restart on Debian and Ubuntu Linux

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

Reading Time: < 1minute

It is ultra annoying, that in newest Debian and Ubuntu releases with GNOME 3 Desktop environment on every shutdown or restart you need to type in Super User (root) password, to authorize shutdown / restart.

Generally prompting for root password on GNOME restart is obviously a good think from security point of view, but from usability one – especially on notebooks it is useless annoyance…

So after changing this behavior I came up with this tiny article on how to get rid of GNOME Shutdown / Restart password prompt.

There is a click button (on left of Auth prompt on Shutdown showing URL to XML policy rule from where this behavior is controlled. A really good hint to where to look for to change those annoying behavior…

 Here is how to change this new annoying behavior to old GNOME 2 default restart with no root password prompt .
linux:~# gedit /usr/share/polkit-1/actions/org.freedesktop.consolekit.policy
 

Find in XML source sections:
 

Restart the system when multiple users are logged inSystem policy prevents restarting the system when other users are logged innoauth_admin_keep
Stop the system when multiple users are logged inSystem policy prevents stopping the system when other users are logged innoauth_admin_keep

To change Restart and Shutdown GUI behavior to not prompt for password, you need to modify in above code:

auth_admin_keep
To:

yes

After changes both sections should look like so:

<action id="org.freedesktop.consolekit.system.restart">
<description>Restart the system</description>
<message>System policy prevents restarting the system</message>
<defaults>
<allow_inactive>no</allow_inactive>
<allow_active>yes</allow_active>
</defaults>
</action>

<action id="org.freedesktop.consolekit.system.restart-multiple-users">
<description>Restart the system when multiple users are logged in</description>
<message>System policy prevents restarting the system when other users are logged in</message>
<defaults>
<allow_inactive>no</allow_inactive>
<allow_active>yes</allow_active>
</defaults>
</action>
 

That's all you finally get rid of the annoying prompt for root password. Enjoy 🙂

Universal way to configure a static IP address on ethernet lan (eth0) interface in Linux

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Reading Time: < 1minute
One of the most precious commands I ever learned to use in Linux is ifconfig and route .

They have saved my life in configuring the static IP based internet of numerous Desktop Linux computers & notebooks.

Though the usage is very much known by most of the people who are into Linux, I believe it’s likely that the newer people who entered the world of Linux or some Unix system administrators are still lacking the knowledge on how to manually configure their eth0 lan card, thus I thought it might be handy for someone to share it, I know that for most unix users & admins especially the advanced ones this post might be funny, so if you’re an advanced administrator just skip the post and don’t laught at it 😉

Now the universal commands (works on each and every Linux host) to configure manually static IP internet connection on Linux are:

linux:~# /sbin/ifconfig eth0 192.168.0.3 netmask 255.255.255.0
linux:~# /sbin/route add default gw 192.168.0.1
linux:~# echo 'nameserver 192.168.0.1' >> /etc/resolv.conf

I’ve used this simple commands on thousands ot Linux hosts and it’s still handy 🙂

In above example 192.168.0.3 is the static IP address provided by the ISP, netmask is the netmask and the second /sbin/route add default gw would set the default gateway to the example ip 192.168.0.1

The third final line would add up a resolver nameserver the Linux host would use.

Cheers 😉