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Black screen with blinking underscore

By raytownsend
Jul 31, 2013
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  1. I have a Desktop Dell W3503, I have a bit of knowledge of computers. I am trying to install linux on my computer but after every installation on any favor of linux; I get one of 2 things when I boot from Hard Drive. A black screen with a blinking underscore for when I type it beeps at me once per key stroke, or a black screen with a blinking underscore that I can type in but it will do nothing.

    I have checked to see if plugged in and reseated my cords, RAM, Hard Drive, and CD/DVD Drive. I also have spare RAM and tried them.
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,410   +315

    B&W + Blinking cursor -> No Bootable image found, so booting from HD is not possible.

    Did you format the HD and then attempt to install OR were you attempting an install that failed?
  3. raytownsend

    raytownsend TS Rookie Topic Starter

    When I install I choose to format the whole drive and I tried setting up the partition table myself and leaving to the cd to setup and the installation completes itself every time.
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,410   +315

    Hmm; I recall that you need to write the MBR before completing and clicking FINISH. Also eject the CD before rebooting.
  5. raytownsend

    raytownsend TS Rookie Topic Starter

    It writes the MBR during the installation and I take out the CD after every time I complete the installation.
  6. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 4,378   +98

    Is it booting from the correct hard drive? How many hard drives does the system have?

    What distro of Linux are you installing?
  7. terry5880

    terry5880 TS Enthusiast Posts: 527

    No bootable device 1 either windows is corrupt 2 windows is wiped off and needs to be reinstalled or 3 it is not on the right boot order
  8. misor

    misor TS Maniac Posts: 1,013   +150

    The best way (in my own little way) to have two or more operating system running flawlessly side by side is not running the OSes in a 'single' multiboot gui.

    it can be done if you have two or more hdds.
    turn off computer, unplug wall socket.
    the first hdd (with primary windows OS) data (sata/pata) cable and power cable will be unplugged leaving the second hdd to be formatted and installed with the 'new" preferred OS.
    after confirmation of successful installation of the second operating system, turn off computer, and unplug wall socket again.
    then connect data (sata/pata) cable and power cable to the first hdd (with primary windows OS).

    now you can select the order of bootable hdds when bios loads. no hassle of missing mbr or corrupted bootable drive as each hdd is bootable by itself.

    in my ecs g41-tm mobo, the function key F11 is used to select hdd to boot from. other function key may be pressed for different motherboard makers or motherboard models.
  9. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Addict Posts: 1,060   +20

    Hi raytownsend, Can you say where you are getting your Linux distros from?
    Download from a site? I would suggest the best chance of a successful install is to buy a Linux magazine with several distros on CD/DVD, where you can run them off the disc, 'live' (no install) or install them from the icon that shows on the desktop of the 'live' version.
    I have had several failures that way, but mostly they do install and run as you would expect, the only 'downside' being the cost of the magazine. My image is Firefox in 'Mint'
    Firefox_in_Linux_Mint.png
    misor likes this.


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