The "Black Screen" on Boot: A second Approach

This is a continuation of, and update to - The “Black Screen” on Boot … a Surprise !.

Environment: Intel i3/i5 mobile processors (“Arrandale”) with onboard graphics (“Ironlake”, aka “Intel GMA HD” or other Intel onboards). Platforms with switchable/discrete graphics selection capbility in BIOS should also review - Intel Arrandale graphics and kwin compositing issues in 11.3+KDE4.5.3.

After earlier findings, and exploring (b)leading-edge kernels and Xorg/intel drivers, I started from the beginning. Knowing that the liveCD boots, runs and (with a little assist) installs a workable oS 11.3, I did a fresh DVD install. The DVD installation proceeded up to the reboot “countdown”. At the re-boot, I received the “black screen”. At this point, I followed the “work-around” referenced in - The “Black Screen” on Boot … a Surprise !. Subsequently, the DVD install continued with the display proper and correct (1600 x 900). The install completed successfully, and created a bootable and working oS 11.3 system (subject to use of the workaround at boot).


The installed kernel was 2.6.34-12, and Xorg/intel drivers right “off the boat”. The display driver was "intel’, version 2.12.0. Subsequent maintenance was applied, leading to working 0S 11.3 system. Advanced kernel updates and/or Xorg updates were NOT required.

After realizing that the Intel “Arrandale” now worked correctly, I repeated the entire process. However, following the “black screen” during the installation first boot, I hard-booted, and restarted with the nomodeset option. The install continued, producing an oS 11.3 system that required nomodeset. (To rule out the possibility of gremlins tantalizing these discoveries, I repeated both processes (a total of four (4) installs from the DVD)).

Based on limited sample size (4), and limited knowledge of the internals of oS installation, I reached the conclusion that should the DVD installer be allowed to properly complete, a workable oS 11.3 can be achieved.


The liveCD (Gnome) boots, runs and installs correctly, and the “workaround” can be used to boot.

The DVD install functions subject to the above steps, including the work-around.

(I could not achieve any satisfactory results with the “network install”, and did not attempt a KDE liveCD. I added KDE to both the liveCD and DVD installations without incident).

While I realize that the following is more appropriate in the “Pre-Release/Beta” forum, the above findings were repeated on the 11.4 Milestone 4 liveCD. The 11.4 MS4 DVD may be attempted, time available, prior to the Milestone 5 release.

The problem is, IMO, in power management, particularly display power management, and handling the “eDP” facilities of the Arrandale platform. While more advanced kernels (I am running 2.6.37-rc5-15.1 on 11.3 and 11.4) and Intel drivers (running 2.13.0) do improve performance, neither are (IMO) required to resolve the “black screen” boot problem.

Other interesting findings:

The short workaround (lid closure/reopening) resolves “black screen” if performed prior to the “Login” screen. Once the Login is presented, the full workaround (workspace switch and lid closure) is required.

Display power management (turning off the display after a period of time) restores the display with a keystroke under KDE, but requires the short workaround under Gnome. (Other desktops and window managers have not been tested).

The most surpising finding was that simply unplugging the A/C-adaptor restores the display! (This fact further confirms that power management is deeply involved in this entire problem).

Future findings will be posted on this (or a linked) thread.

Interesting … I wonder if there is a bug report where you can feed these investigations into ?