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Thread: Can't start Ubuntu without monitor

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
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    Can't start Ubuntu without monitor

    Hello.

    I've been trying to set up a headless server for a week now. But no matter what I do, Ubuntu refuses to start without a monitor connected. It just reboots the computer.
    I've tried using a vesa xorg.conf, I've tried disabling some Intel driver. It's not the BIOS, as I've disabled halt on errors.

    Starts fine with monitor connected. Using 16.04 (ubuntu-16.04-server-amd64.iso).

    Any help?

    I'll also mention that I have no GUI installed. It's a purely cmd line install, as the computer is supposed to be in a closet.
    Last edited by howefield; July 21st, 2016 at 05:26 AM. Reason: posts combined.

  2. #2
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    56,559

    Re: Can't start Ubuntu without monitor

    Thread moved to the "Server Platforms" forum for a better fit.

  3. #3
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    Re: Can't start Ubuntu without monitor

    Quote Originally Posted by dragen2 View Post
    I've been trying to set up a headless server for a week now. But no matter what I do, Ubuntu refuses to start without a monitor connected. It just reboots the computer.
    That is strange.
    Quote Originally Posted by dragen2 View Post
    I've tried using a vesa xorg.conf, I've tried disabling some Intel driver. It's not the BIOS, as I've disabled halt on errors.
    With no installation of xserver, an xorg.conf file is not going to do anything... You said you tried to disable an intel driver? With xserver not installed, how did you try to disable an Intel driver?
    Quote Originally Posted by dragen2 View Post
    I'll also mention that I have no GUI installed. It's a purely cmd line install, as the computer is supposed to be in a closet.
    Here is the deal with Ubuntu Server Graphics. It is thought of as being text, but is basically vga graphics to do the colors and fonts used for the virtual consoles of your tty sessions. In that respect, there is also a facility to change the VGA pallet for you console. You can also force the console to be text only, but I like having the color contrast. So video/graphics drivers are not used. Technically, the only graphics drivers are low-level frame-buffer drivers.

    I have 14 servers in a server rack. All are administered remotely from my Remote Admin Console... but they are also connected locally to a series of KVM switches to a rack-mount HP TFT5600 RKM. As how KVM switches work, only one is active at a time, but is not connected if the cover is down and pushed into the rack... So all 14 are headless.

    This is what I do. I set the video settings in grub, vai kernel boot options.

    Open /etc/default/grub
    Code:
    sudo vim /etc/default/grub
    Press <Insert> then go to the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT line. Change it to
    Code:
    GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="nomodeset video=uvesafb:mode_options=1024x768-16@60,mtrr=0,scroll=ywrap,noedid"
    What that says is turn off kms mode switching in the kernel; Use the uvesafb frame buffer; Set it to a resolution of 1024x768, with a depth of 16 at 60 mHz sync rate; Disable the memory type range registers for the framebuffer; Enable display panning in a wrap-around mode, using VESA protected mode; Do not probe the display to check for edid data. When you switch over to it or connect it to a monitor, then it should be set to that mode (already).

    The last part makes that all work while being disconnected. It's sort of like UTP... in that it sets it all up as if something is there (in this case manually), but doesn't care that it is not connected.

    Then do
    Code:
    sudo update-grub
    To pick up the changes. Shutdown/Reboot with your monitor disconnected to test.

    If that does not work. then take that back out, and change to
    Code:
    GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="nomodeset text"
    That will force the console to text mode

    Then uncomment this line:
    Code:
    #GRUB_TERMINAL=console
    Which will force the Grub Menu from graphics mode to text mode.

    Remember to do an update-grub to pick up the changes before rebooting.

    Tell me how it goes.

    EDIT-- If all that fails... then tell me what your hardware is: Brand, model, video GPU... so I can look to see if there might be a BIOS or other quirk that might cause that...
    Last edited by MAFoElffen; July 21st, 2016 at 07:39 AM.
    Concurrent coexistance of Windows, Linux and Unix...
    Ubuntu user # 33563, Linux user # 533637
    Sticky: [all variants] Graphics Resolution- Upgrade /Blank Screen after reboot

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    22

    Re: Can't start Ubuntu without monitor

    Install dummy monitor
    Code:
    sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-video-dummy
    Backup xorg.conf
    Code:
    sudo  mv /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.bak
    Create a new xorg.conf
    Code:
    sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf
    with


    Code:
    Section "Device"
        Identifier  "Configured Video Device"
        Driver      "dummy"
    EndSection
    
    
    Section "Monitor"
        Identifier  "Configured Monitor"
        HorizSync 31.5-48.5
        VertRefresh 50-70
    EndSection
    
    Section "Screen"
        Identifier  "Default Screen"
        Monitor     "Configured Monitor"
        Device      "Configured Video Device"
        DefaultDepth 24
        SubSection "Display"
        Depth 24
        Modes "1152x864"
        EndSubSection
    EndSection

  5. #5
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    Ubuntu Development Release

    Re: Can't start Ubuntu without monitor

    @OP- Do not Install the package the last poster recommended.

    @Ellizine
    Sorry, but installing xserver-xorg-video-dummy would only work if the OP was using XServer, which is not even installed. He is not using, nor will he be using a local, nor any remote XSession. (Note- "No GUI")

    In fact, using apt-get to install of that single package would cause the complete Xorg Server to be installed ... Which would kick-off a landslide of extra packages to be installed on his text-console server, which he would not use, and would have no affect on what is happening. He stressed the point that he is not using, nor has X11 installed.

    Please carefully read the OP's original post, and my response again. This has nothing to do with X11. (not installed)
    Concurrent coexistance of Windows, Linux and Unix...
    Ubuntu user # 33563, Linux user # 533637
    Sticky: [all variants] Graphics Resolution- Upgrade /Blank Screen after reboot

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
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    8

    Re: Can't start Ubuntu without monitor

    Quote Originally Posted by MAFoElffen View Post
    Tell me how it goes.

    EDIT-- If all that fails... then tell me what your hardware is: Brand, model, video GPU... so I can look to see if there might be a BIOS or other quirk that might cause that...
    Neither of those worked.

    The hardware is a Gigabyte GA-Z68p-DS3 rev.1 with an i5 2300. Not using a dedicated GPU, as I don't see the point.

    Did a reinstall of the OS, so I could be sure I didn't forget to rollback any changes before trying yours. Only packages other than default is SAMBA and OpenSSH.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
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    8

    Re: Can't start Ubuntu without monitor

    Also, sorry for the delay. Had to deal with people​ all day.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Kubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver

    Re: Can't start Ubuntu without monitor

    disable the GPU in BIOS!? It's porbabyl a desktop motherboard so it expects monitor. similar issue with some ubuntu/Linux sticks.
    Read the easy to understand, lots of pics Ubuntu manual.
    Do i need antivirus/firewall in linux?
    Disk backup (works on newer PC): Clonezilla
    User friendly full disk backup Redobackup is now back as Rescuezilla

  9. #9
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    Mar 2010
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    Ubuntu Development Release

    Re: Can't start Ubuntu without monitor

    I'm looking at the spec's on that board now. Yes, a gaming board that is wrapped around the support of fast graphics, Which is going to show a video error in BIOS as a Video failure. Looking through the BIOS options to see if there is a way to disable video in BIOS... Went through the board manual. It switches internally looking for video or you can set to a source manually. No option to have none.

    Mastablasta was right, it is a desktop board, that thinks that no video is an error. No way to disable that feature in that board. My apologies, in that, I deal mostly with server hardware, for headless. Sometimes I forget, that other eople use 'other' hardware. But luckily, I have a lot of legacy and 'other' experience...

    ^ *** There is a somewhat inexpensive workaround for you. Get an ATI Rage Pro or XL (Radeon) video card. That GPU chip is basic GPU graphics that has been a standard for onboard server graphics for years. It is also "dirt cheap." Is has a standard 15-pin Analog VGA port (Your board has only digital video ports.) Then buy a 75 ohm VGA dummy termination plug (like this one). Then in the OneTouch BIOS > Advanced BIOS Settings > Init Display First, set it to "PCI". That way the first display it looks for is that PCI Video, instead of onboard. With the dummy plug attached to it's port, it carries the signal across the pins, thinking it has an attached monitor...

    That is the best commercial recommendation I see for you. (For your work.) I could explain or point you to how to make a VGA dummy plug, but for commercial, you want someone to blame, liabilities and guarantees... right? Besides, with your first one, learning to pin it out, the cost of the kit, resistors, your boss paying your labor... It's cheaper to just buy one.
    Last edited by MAFoElffen; July 22nd, 2016 at 04:31 PM.
    Concurrent coexistance of Windows, Linux and Unix...
    Ubuntu user # 33563, Linux user # 533637
    Sticky: [all variants] Graphics Resolution- Upgrade /Blank Screen after reboot

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Beans
    8

    Re: Can't start Ubuntu without monitor

    Really? It'll halt even when I've told it to not halt on error?

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