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Thread: 12.04 won't boot after being turned off overnight

  1. #1
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    12.04 won't boot after being turned off overnight

    After upgrading to 12.04 LTS, my desktop is now acting very strange with booting. Rebooting using the system "restart" option always works without any problem. Booting fresh (by pressing the power button) after a normal system "shutdown" within about 5-10 minutes works without any problem. But booting fresh after a normal system "shutdown" when the computer has been inactive for some longer time results in a hang before grub, before even the manufacturer's BIOS splash screen. I'm not sure exactly the time period required for this to happen, but I normally shut down the computer overnight. At first, I could get it to proceed after a hang by poking the tiny "reset" button under the power button, but that is now acting up, too, often requiring several tries before it works. I am worried that it will stop working altogether and/or I will harm something by using the hardware "reset" so often.

    I had over 3 years of reliable behavior with this desktop using 10.04 LTS and never experienced anything like this.

    Browsing the forums, I found a post similar to my problem that involved a faulty BIOS setting - something to do with trying to read the hard drives before they had fully spun up to speed. I did not change any BIOS settings when upgrading.

    Is there something in the shutdown procedure that could be causing this to happen? I have tried to look at log files, but am inexperienced with that and cannot find any obvious error or warning messages.

    My system: ---dual pentium E2180 CPU ---no nVidia or other proprietary drivers ---2.0GiB memory ---12.04 32-bit, kernel 3.2.0-38 (latest update, same problem with earlier 12.04 kernels) ---gnome 3.4.2 (using gnome metacity)

  2. #2
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    Re: 12.04 won't boot after being turned off overnight

    Here is the clue that what is happening may be just coincidental to the upgrade to 12.04.

    results in a hang before grub, before even the manufacturer's BIOS splash screen.
    If the problem is happening before the Grub menu is loaded and not after it then it is not an issue with Grub or Ubuntu.

    With my motherboard I can press a key that will show the BIOS POST (Power On Startup Tests) messages. They may indicate where the issue lies.

    It may indicate a failing BIOS CMOS lithium battery. Do you unplug the machine from the mains supply over night? Try leaving it in as a test. Even though the power switch is off, with some motherboards (such as mine) power is still getting to the motherboard and charging the CMOS battery. Until a switch on the PSU is thrown or the plug removed from the mains supply.

    Funny things happen. Just lately I have been getting BIOS messages when I boot after leaving the machine off all night. Sometimes the message says over-clocking has failed. But I am not using over-clocking. Another time it is that the date and time need setting. So, I am beginning to think that my machine needs a new CMOS battery. It just might be the case with you.

    You could also try setting the BIOS to the default settings. Test the machine and then make what changes to the BIOS that you usually have. Such as boot priority.

    Regards.
    It is a machine. It is more stupid than we are. It will not stop us from doing stupid things.
    Ubuntu user #33,200. Linux user #530,530


  3. #3
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    Re: 12.04 won't boot after being turned off overnight

    Thank you, Graham, for your kind attention.

    It is hard to accept that this is simply an unrelated coincidence, since the problem went from completely nonexistent to causing trouble at the precise moment that I upgraded. But, as you say, funny things can happen.

    I've just tried to educate myself as to what CMOS and the CMOS battery are. The "battery" was described as one or 2 button batteries on the motherboard, which could be something that a non-techie like me might have a chance of replacing, though it is rather intimidating.

    So, before I attempt that, I'm hoping you or some other savvy person can help me pin my problem down more solidly. I think you were saying that some computers keep charging to the CMOS battery when the computer is off? I have never unplugged my power cord when the computer is turned off, so if I had such a set-up, it would seem that I ought to have charged battery even overnight.

    In the most recent test I did, the problem happened after the computer had been off for an hour. It was very hard to get it started again, but after about 6 tries of pressing the power and reset buttons, it finally came back. If it is the CMOS battery, I'm confused because the references I read said once the CMOS lost power, the information in it was also lost. Since it does eventually work, wouldn't that indicate that the problem is not loss of CMOS data?

    One last bit of info: I've noticed that the hang happens before the little "beep" that I normally hear a second after pressing the power button when everything is OK. Browsing around, I find that that the single beep means "POST normal", any other pattern would indicate a problem - I have not heard any other beep patterns, just that single beep when it finally gets going again. I don't know of any keys I can press to get POST information.

  4. #4
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    Re: 12.04 won't boot after being turned off overnight

    Normally the BIOS splash screen has info on it to access various functions
    My BIOS Post action is TAB, but they are all different.

    Have you tested a live CD?

    It does sound though like your problem is not the OS
    In which case a Live CD should yield similar results to your installed system;
    Ubuntu Member Always something different. Promoting Ubuntu and System 76 at TUXPC

  5. #5
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    Re: 12.04 won't boot after being turned off overnight

    It is tempting to fall into the trap of Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc -- "After This Therefore Because of This." Temporal relationships do not imply causal relationships.

    If you are hearing the normal POST beep but are seeing nothing on the screen, I am wondering about an intermittent thermal fault in your monitor. When it's warm, it works. When it's not, it doesn't. Several cycles of the reset button could give it time to warm up. That or a capacitor about to give up the ghost. It might even be a cap on the motherboard. Sometimes they will pass the POST with a capacitor blown.

    If you have access to another machine, you might want to see if the if the monitor is at fault. If it works fine when it is cold, move to the graphics card.

    I'm pretty sure you have a hardware problem and not an OS problem from the description you have provided.

  6. #6
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    Re: 12.04 won't boot after being turned off overnight

    Regarding changing the CMOS battery. It is not a technical thing. In my case the need to reset BIOS settings has not happened for three days. like I said, funny.

    Before you change the CMOS battery not only power off the machine but power off the Power Supply. Either by a switch on the back of the PSU or by unplugging the mains power plug. I always do both. You never know, do we?

    The CMOS battery just slides out. That is a little clamp that holds it in place. Move that aside and the battery will slip out. Images of CMOS batteries

    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=co...w=1267&bih=819

    Regards.
    It is a machine. It is more stupid than we are. It will not stop us from doing stupid things.
    Ubuntu user #33,200. Linux user #530,530


  7. #7
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    Re: 12.04 won't boot after being turned off overnight

    The monitor/graphics card do not seem to be the problem - if I can get past the POST beep, the monitor comes up fine no matter how long things have been turned off. (I tried the check with a borrowed laptop, just to be sure, no problem with monitor)

    With the clues all of you have been giving me, I've had good guidance on what to research and found out:

    >>> my BIOS (Zotac) troubleshooting web page says that if there is hang with power button lit but no BIOS splash screen, it could be:

    -- a problem with the display card or it is not configured propery in CMOS , the POST beep will change to long-short-short. This has never happened.

    -- RAM install or compatibility problem, POST beep will change to long-long-long. This has never happened.

    -- loose power supply or component/modules.

    >>> BIOS troubleshooting also says that if problem is CMOS lost, corrupted or changed by accident; RAM failure; or BIOS checksum error, the hang will occur at the BIOS splash screen. This has never happened. But changing the battery isn't too much for me to handle, so I've got nothing to loose by trying it.

    >>> general info on capacitors seems to indicate that if they are failing, the computer's performance will be affected during computer up time, not just at boot. Once I've got it booted up, it seems to be stable and running flawlessly. Also, the methodology for changing capacitors might be too much for me with removing the motherboard and soldering, so I'm hoping that's not it. But fortunately, they have visible signs of venting/leaking if they are failing, I can at least look at them.

    So, my strategy right now is going to be to open up the box, wiggle connections and make sure they are good, look at the capacitors for signs of venting/leaking, and change the CMOS battery. It might take me a day or two to get the replacement battery(ies), but I will post back here with results.

    Many, many thanks to you guys for leading me in the right direction, and to Graham for giving me more tips about poking around in there since it's obvious I'm not real comfortable with it - you guys are GREAT!

  8. #8
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    result of CMOS battery replace, etc

    OK, the short answer is: the problem persists. Long answer is below.

    I am wondering if the power supply might be the cause. But that is described as usually being either a total loss of power, or power troubles that happen during use, too, neither of which describes what my computer is doing.

    The reset button no longer works at all. To get the computer going I am using the power button on the front of the box, pressing it on and off at different intervals until it finally "catches", and sometimes using the "on/off" power toggle switch at the back of the box. Just trying different things until I get that POST beep.

    I may be at the point of looking at a new computer. Frustrating, though, as all the components seem to work just fine as long as I never turn the durn thing off. On the plus side, if I get a new computer up and running, perhaps I can use this one to finally poke around inside enough to become familiar and comfortable with the hardware.

    Again, many thanks to you who have helped me troubleshoot my problem.

    THE LONG ANSWER:

    -- Normal shutdown, no problems.

    -- Opened box and vacuumed light dust (no worse than I normally see when I vacuum it once or twice per year)

    -- Checked all power connections, memory slots, etc. Everything snug and fine.

    -- Looked at capacitors, all smooth and shiny, no signs of breaks or leaks.

    -- Looked at motherboard for any small dark streaks, none found (I read that a short could show up that way - this computer's power cord is plugged into a surge protector, but not a UPS.)

    -- Replaced CMOS battery.

    -- Kept the box open and turned on, same fussing with the power button needed to get it going, then went straight to BIOS screen with CMOS checksum error, with asking me to re-enter information. The only thing obvious to me on that screen was the incorrect time, so I entered the current time, and hit save.

    -- Boot proceeded with some error messages that flashed by - I found them later in the boot log: " fsck superblock last write time is in the future... probably due to hardware clock being incorrectly set - FIXED. " Got on the internet, used a few programs, everything seemed to be working normally. Shutdown normal.

    -- Waited an hour, turned on, which required fussing with power button, got more than one POST beep so hit DEL to go into BIOS. Set to "Fail-safe defaults" and continued. Booted right up. Used computer for a couple of hours. Shutdown normal.

    -- Waited overnight. Turned on, more fussing with power button, when finally got going, procedure seemed normal: one POST beep, everything smooth after that. Used computer for about half hour, then normal shutdown.

    -- Waited an hour, then turned on. Same old thing: fussing with power button, finally gets going, one POST beep and everything normal. It's still on now, no funny things happening with power. I've got it set to suspend, and the hard drive always spins back up without hesitation. The fans are humming along. Can't find any problems during operation.

  9. #9
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    Re: 12.04 won't boot after being turned off overnight

    AKusr,

    Did you ever find a solution to your problem? I am having the same issue, however I just built a new system fresh with all new hardware. If I do quick reboots, shut down and reboot in a short time period, everything is fine, but if I leave the PC overnight, it has boot problems in the morning.

    My problems are, it will cycle through several times, power on, back off, on, back off etc, until finally it will turn off for good, or stay on, but with no video. Once it stays on with no video, I have to turn it off again, unplug the power supply, turn everything back on, and it will boot fine and work all day.

    It is really a bizarre problem. Here are my system specs, please let me know if you have similar hardware.

    Motherboard: ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77 1155
    Video Card: EVGA GTX 670
    CPU: INTEL CORE I7 3770K
    PSU: PSU CORSAIR HX750 750W RT
    SSD: Samsung 256GB 2.5-inch SSD 840 Pro Series
    RAM: 8Gx2 GSKILL 1600 Ripjaws
    OS: Windows 7 Ultimate

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