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Harry Putnam 09-30-2011 01:00 PM

Todays Nasty little problem: Defeat the BIOS
 
Equipment: Older P4 3.00Ghz running wheezy.

I've got a nasty little problem here this morning... My debian box
will not show anything on the monitor. I fear the graphics card has
gone south... I have one side off the box so removed the card and
reinserted hoping it might fix things.. of course it did not.

Now the bios is being invoked on bootup (I think).

I suspected it may be a dialog I've seen where user is prompted to
either hit del for the bios or any key to continue... I cannot see any
of this but am just guessing.

I tried just hitting a key but the OS or at least the networking part
never became accessable... So I'm pretty sure its hung at the bios.

Is there any way to bypass the bios or get beyond that somehow..
Just anything to get the OS running so I can ssh in and salvage my
data?


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Terence 09-30-2011 01:58 PM

Todays Nasty little problem: Defeat the BIOS
 
Hi, Harry,

First, do you hear the boot bleeps from your pc speaker, and checked
the diagnostics from that? That would certainly help.

Then allowing that I have no knowledge/expertise in by-passing the
BIOS (I'm not sure it can even be done), but my "First Aid Response)
would be to remove the hard drive on which you keep your data, and
using another box (which I assume you have access to, as you have
emailed the list) copy all the data you need.

Again I am assuming that you are not backing up to a seperate drive,
so that before playing around wilth the problem you could just remove
that.

Then replace the drive knowing that whatever you do to try and
recover, you still have your data.

Do you have another monitor to check that it is not that? Do you
another video card to try?

HTH

Yours aye,

Saki


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Camaleón 09-30-2011 02:04 PM

Todays Nasty little problem: Defeat the BIOS
 
On Fri, 30 Sep 2011 08:00:05 -0500, Harry Putnam wrote:

> Equipment: Older P4 3.00Ghz running wheezy.
>
> I've got a nasty little problem here this morning... My debian box will
> not show anything on the monitor. I fear the graphics card has gone
> south... I have one side off the box so removed the card and reinserted
> hoping it might fix things.. of course it did not.

If you really think the VGA card has died grab another one and test with
it.

Is your monitor getting video signal (green light instead ambar) when you
power up the computer? Can you hear any beeps from the motherboard? Can
you heard the hard disk running and so loading the system?

If your motherboard can live without VGA it will boot despite having the
VGA card attached or not and BIOS will continue with the OS load. Your
board's manual will tell.

> Now the bios is being invoked on bootup (I think).
>
> I suspected it may be a dialog I've seen where user is prompted to
> either hit del for the bios or any key to continue... I cannot see any
> of this but am just guessing.
>
> I tried just hitting a key but the OS or at least the networking part
> never became accessable... So I'm pretty sure its hung at the bios.

If your BIOS is stuck with a message and waiting for some kind of user
interaction to proceed you will have to get a new VGA card if the current
one is really failing.

> Is there any way to bypass the bios or get beyond that somehow.. Just
> anything to get the OS running so I can ssh in and salvage my data?

At the moment there is not need to start worring about the data. You can
always remove the hard disk and attach it into another computer as a
secondary device and get the files from there. The important part is to
know what hapenned, what component is failing and replace it.

Greetings,

--
Camaleón


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Harry Putnam 09-30-2011 08:27 PM

Todays Nasty little problem: Defeat the BIOS
 
Camaleón <noelamac@gmail.com> writes:

>> I've got a nasty little problem here this morning... My debian box will
>> not show anything on the monitor. I fear the graphics card has gone
>> south... I have one side off the box so removed the card and reinserted
>> hoping it might fix things.. of course it did not.
>
> If you really think the VGA card has died grab another one and test with
> it.

Just reporting back. After pulling the card blowing everything out
and reinstalling the card, I got video back. Not only that but a DVI
outlet on that card that hasn't worked for a good while, began working
too.


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Terence 09-30-2011 08:48 PM

Todays Nasty little problem: Defeat the BIOS
 
On 30 September 2011 21:27, Harry Putnam <reader@newsguy.com> wrote:

> Just reporting back. *After pulling the card blowing everything out
> and reinstalling the card, I got video back. *Not only that but a DVI
> outlet on that card that hasn't worked for a good while, began working
> too.

Can you give us more details?

Like : what do you mean by:-

"After pulling the card blowing everything out"

It would be interesting to think what might have been the problem
apart from, probably, poor or dirty connections.

Yours aye,

Saki


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Harry Putnam 09-30-2011 09:29 PM

Todays Nasty little problem: Defeat the BIOS
 
Terence <terence.john@gmail.com> writes:

> On 30 September 2011 21:27, Harry Putnam <reader@newsguy.com> wrote:
>
>> Just reporting back. *After pulling the card blowing everything out
>> and reinstalling the card, I got video back. *Not only that but a DVI
>> outlet on that card that hasn't worked for a good while, began working
>> too.
>
> Can you give us more details?
>
> Like : what do you mean by:-
>
> "After pulling the card blowing everything out"
>
> It would be interesting to think what might have been the problem
> apart from, probably, poor or dirty connections.

I pulled out the video card, (an MSI nvidia FX 5700LE) took a can of
compressed air, and blew around the card seat. I went ahead and
blew out all around the cpu, rear fan, power supply vents and fan and
all other components I could get too.

It was not terribly dusty....I've seen much worse but I think I may
have performed that operation not so long ago.

I think now, that dust was not the problem... I suspect the card had
become dislodged to some small degree. That machine has been moved a
good bit recently. So I really think reseating the card was what
really did the work.... I'll never know for sure.



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Terence 09-30-2011 09:57 PM

Todays Nasty little problem: Defeat the BIOS
 
Thank you, Harry,

Cleaning never does any harm, providing it's done properly!

As you say, you may never know for sure, but cleaning contacts often
does, in my experience, solve a number of problems.

I noted the fact that card previously worked, but without the DVI
output. Perhaps the problem(s) was/were just the contacts.

Hope everything goes well now.

Saki


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Harry Putnam 09-30-2011 10:18 PM

Todays Nasty little problem: Defeat the BIOS
 
Terence <terence.john@gmail.com> writes:

> Thank you, Harry,
>
> Cleaning never does any harm, providing it's done properly!
>
> As you say, you may never know for sure, but cleaning contacts often
> does, in my experience, solve a number of problems.
>
> I noted the fact that card previously worked, but without the DVI
> output. Perhaps the problem(s) was/were just the contacts.

I've been very lazy about that kind of maintenance for yrs and yrs so
I just assumed that probably was not the problem since I don't recall
having a similar event... And this particular machine did not appear
that dirty. I leaned toward jostling and unseating but
really that would be quite hard to do.

I had a machine built in Calif. and shipped to Gary IN once. It had
apparently gotten hit hard enough to knock several hard drives clear
out of the runners they slid into and bent the frame of the case
somewhat.

That video card and all the rest of it (including the hardrives) still
worked with no more than putting the HDDs back in.

It may have had an earlier end of life but hard to say some 7-8 yrs
later.

If cleaning is as important as you say, its good to know it.


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Terence 09-30-2011 10:27 PM

Todays Nasty little problem: Defeat the BIOS
 
> If cleaning is as important as you say, its good to know it.
>

In one of your excellent country's sayings: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"!

It's just one other thing to consider when a possibly physical problem rocks up.

One thing you can be sure of : Your Mileage May Vary!

Yours aye.

Saki


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09-30-2011 11:39 PM

Todays Nasty little problem: Defeat the BIOS
 
----- Original Message -----
From: Harry Putnam
To: debian-user@lists.debian.org
Sent: 9/30/2011 9:29:48 PM
Subject: Re: Todays Nasty little problem: Defeat the BIOS



Terence <terence.john@gmail.com> writes:

> On 30 September 2011 21:27, Harry Putnam <reader@newsguy.com> wrote:
>
>> Just reporting back. *After pulling the card blowing everything out
>> and reinstalling the card, I got video back. *Not only that but a DVI
>> outlet on that card that hasn't worked for a good while, began working
>> too.
>
> Can you give us more details?
>
> Like : what do you mean by:-
>
> "After pulling the card blowing everything out"
>
> It would be interesting to think what might have been the problem
> apart from, probably, poor or dirty connections.

I pulled out the video card, (an MSI nvidia FX 5700LE) took a can of
compressed air, and blew around the card seat. I went ahead and
blew out all around the cpu, rear fan, power supply vents and fan and
all other components I could get too.

It was not terribly dusty....I've seen much worse but I think I may
have performed that operation not so long ago.

I think now, that dust was not the problem... I suspect the card had
become dislodged to some small degree. That machine has been moved a
good bit recently. So I really think reseating the card was what
really did the work.... I'll never know for sure.



Often when the card has been removed it is useful to run a pencil eraser over the pins to clean them.


Larry

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