Grub2 and tty characters illegible white blocks

Bug #797543 reported by roderikk
This bug affects 3 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
grub2 (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Binary package hint: grub2

After a fresh install of Natty on my new PC I noticed that upon booting the characters of grub and the 'scrolling list of messages' were completely illegible. Updates were made but it only showed white blocks where there should be messages. Boot up commenced successfully however.

After logging into the normal unity shell I typed Ctrl-Alt-F1 to go to tty1 and found the situation there similar. I could not read anything.

After some searching I found the following post: and followed the following instructions:

"For example i use Debian within VirtualBox at a resolution of 1280x800 for the console and also for the Xorg server. If you want you to start with this resolution also for GRUB 2 (remember in the past was very limited this feature, and if you are using VirtualBox or other virtualization programs the annoying result was in resizing the window and than enlarging upon the system goes into graphical mode, for example, with the splash screen: usplash, splashy and others), very nice, no more discrepancies between modes: the line to change into the /etc/default/grub file is GRUB_GFXMODE=1280x800 and then issuing update-grub. The resulting action is to write the line set gfxmode=1280x800 into the grub.cfg file."

I used a gfxmode=1280x1024 as this is the resolution of my screen. After this both the tty, grub and scrolling list of messages were legible again.

I think the problem is that the 'gfxmode' was set to a property that my new ATI card could not handle?

If any more information is required please let me know.

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 11.04
Package: grub-common 1.99~rc1-13ubuntu3
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 2.6.38-10.44-generic
Uname: Linux 2.6.38-10-generic x86_64
NonfreeKernelModules: fglrx
Architecture: amd64
Date: Wed Jun 15 08:59:29 2011
EcryptfsInUse: Yes
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 11.04 "Natty Narwhal" - Release amd64 (20110427.1)
SourcePackage: grub2
UpgradeStatus: No upgrade log present (probably fresh install)

Revision history for this message
roderikk (roderikk) wrote :
Revision history for this message
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in grub2 (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Revision history for this message
houstonbofh (leesharp) wrote :

Just installed Ubuntu Server 14.04 on an older Compaq desktop for a POC. Install goes fine with no trouble, but I am glad I installed ssh during install because the screen was unusable. The answer here does not work.

Revision history for this message
Hooman Zamannejad (hooman-zaman) wrote :

I just installed Ubuntu Server 14.04, (and before that I had the same problem with Ubuntu Server 16.04) on 386 Pentium 4 + Ge-force Nvidia graphic card and I have the same problem, I can connect with SSH but it stops VGA after a few seconds on start up,
I could not solve with with
#GRUB_GFXMODE=640x480 to

The problem is not with GRUB cuz I can see few lines of starting codes on Display.

Revision history for this message
Hooman Zamannejad (hooman-zaman) wrote :

I found a SOLUTION !

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:xorg-edgers/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

ubuntu-drivers devices | grep recommended

That should produce output similar to this:

driver : nvidia-337 - third-party free recommended

After that :
sudo apt-get install nvidia-337 (or what ever it gaves, mine was 173!)

Revision history for this message
Hooman Zamannejad (hooman-zaman) wrote :
Revision history for this message
Hooman Zamannejad (hooman-zaman) wrote :


For Ubunbtu 16.04 you should use this :

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:xorg-edgers/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

As before, and then,

# install the latest version
$ sudo apt-get install nvidia-current

And restart your server.

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