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Thread: Nvidia driver issue caused system to become unbootable...next steps?

  1. #1
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    Nvidia driver issue caused system to become unbootable...next steps?

    This is not my first Linux rodeo but alas, Nvidia drivers have again bested me and I need some help. I have an older Dell Studio XPS 8100 and installed an Nvidia GeForce GT 1030 card, which required newer Nvidia 440 drivers. I used "ubuntu-drivers devices" to confirm that was what was needed, and then "ubuntu-drivers autoinstall" to install them. Things seemed to go well and then the system just hung. Eventually, after getting a cup of coffee and then going off to the store, I downed a stiff one and turned off the computer.

    When it turned on again, instead of a dark blue security screen for the entering of the decryption password, I saw a light blue screen with "Lubuntu 18.04LTS" in very old, unaliased lettering. Like DOS used to look. Four dots that progressively indicated "loading" but it boots only to a "BusyBox v1.27.2 built in shell" and the "initramfs" prompt.

    BUT MY KEYBOARD WON'T WORK.

    In the past I've typed "exit" and gotten somewhere or run fsck if needed...no errors are showing, but the keyboard doesn't work.

    Am I best off running Ubuntu from a boot disk or boot usb? If so, how do I go about repairing what's been effed up?

    Thank you so much. I really appreciate any advance help -- I am using someone else's computer so it's hard to do extended searching (and libraries are closed due to Covid!). If you know what I should do to reclaim my system please take a moment and share your expertise. THANK YOU in advance.

  2. #2
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    Re: Nvidia driver issue caused system to become unbootable...next steps?

    First of all try disabling Secure Boot.

  3. #3
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    Re: Nvidia driver issue caused system to become unbootable...next steps?

    Thanks, this computer is a desktop and I don't believe it ever had that. I don't think that's what's wrong here. Any other thoughts?

  4. #4
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    Hidden!
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    Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver

    Re: Nvidia driver issue caused system to become unbootable...next steps?

    What does this command yield ..

    sudo mokutil --sb-state

    ah! you can't type this command.

    then any tips here?

    Last edited by dragonfly41; May 12th, 2020 at 10:24 PM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Nvidia driver issue caused system to become unbootable...next steps?

    Right now I'm using a boot USB. Yeah. The problem is (well, the immediate problem!) is that when I get to the prompt, I can't use the keyboard at all.

  6. #6
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    Re: Nvidia driver issue caused system to become unbootable...next steps?

    Quote Originally Posted by goemonburo View Post
    Am I best off running Ubuntu from a boot disk or boot usb?
    Yes, you are. No boot and no keyboard makes fixing things tricky. From the live USB you'll have keyboard and Internet. Makes fixing things much easier.

    For fiddling with files you can just mount the partition with your installation on and fiddle away. For running commands you'll want to mount the partition then chroot (change root) to wherever you mounted it to: that will run commands as if whichever mount point was the root directory, exactly as if you'd booted to a command-line interface but with a working keyboard.
    None but ourselves can free our minds

  7. #7
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    Re: Nvidia driver issue caused system to become unbootable...next steps?

    Can you give me a little more hints as to WHAT I should fiddle with? I'm not sure if I need to just get the Nvidia drivers successfully installed or if there's more going wrong. Any help would be hugely appreciated...

  8. #8
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    Re: Nvidia driver issue caused system to become unbootable...next steps?

    Quote Originally Posted by goemonburo View Post
    Can you give me a little more hints as to WHAT I should fiddle with?
    Nope

    I've steered well clear of Optimus.

    I'm not sure if I need to just get the Nvidia drivers successfully installed or if there's more going wrong. Any help would be hugely appreciated...
    It's certainly a likely candidate. Purging all the nvidia stuff and adding nomodeset to your boot options might get your machine booting again, albeit at low-resolution and with no acceleration. Then you'd be able to try installing it again.

    Or it might be something else.

    Black screens or boots stalled with an error message are one thing - it gives you something to go on - but dumping to BusyBox is the I have literally no idea what to do now response from the boot process. Could be a messed up kernel module, could be a missing hard drive, but whatever it is it's caused the boot process to simply throw its hands in the air and give up.

    Oh, just spotted that you were using drive encryption. I don't have any experience of that, either.
    Last edited by CatKiller; May 13th, 2020 at 12:55 AM.
    None but ourselves can free our minds

  9. #9
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    Re: Nvidia driver issue caused system to become unbootable...next steps?

    Well, that's yes, a bit concerning.

    But let's say the issue is with the nvidia driver. Say, it didn't complete, or got interrupted mid-install, or maybe isn't compatible with my old system. Is there a chance I could try reinstalling the old driver and restoring the system at that point?

    A thread I was looking at said something about editing /etc/gdm3/custom.conf and uncommenting #WaylandEnable=false Might that work here? If so, how would I access the drive if I'm running a USB live version?

  10. #10
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    Re: Nvidia driver issue caused system to become unbootable...next steps?

    In reverse order:

    Quote Originally Posted by goemonburo View Post
    If so, how would I access the drive if I'm running a USB live version?
    The same sort of mount command that you'd normally use, of which there are many examples all over, followed by a chroot to wherever you mounted it to, will let you run commands as if you'd booted the system normally.
    Code:
    sudo mkdir /mnt/some-place
    sudo mount /dev/some-device /mnt/some-place
    sudo chroot /mnt/some-place
    If you're just playing with files you'd only need to do the middle one. It's possible that you'll need to do some kind of unlocking thing for your encrypted filesystem before you can mount it, but I don't know anything about that.

    A thread I was looking at said something about editing /etc/gdm3/custom.conf and uncommenting #WaylandEnable=false Might that work here?
    No. That's for if you can't start a normal session. Wayland on Nvidia is... problematic... because reasons, and it used not to work at all. Despite it not working at the time, Gnome used to default to a Wayland session even on Nvidia. That edit tells it not to do that. Your system is broken long before it gets to the display manager stage.

    But let's say the issue is with the nvidia driver. Say, it didn't complete, or got interrupted mid-install, or maybe isn't compatible with my old system. Is there a chance I could try reinstalling the old driver and restoring the system at that point?
    Sure. Like I said, in a chroot you can run any command as if you'd booted normally. That includes package management things or grub-configuration things that you can't do just by fiddling with files.

    You were there when you did the update, and you know about the hardware and software that you've got, and you've got the machine in front of you. You're much better placed than we are to work out what's up with it.

    It's also worth remembering that you can backup any files that you want to keep from a live session, too, in case you can't figure out what's wrong. Assuming you can decrypt it.
    None but ourselves can free our minds

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