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tfj tfj is offline
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Default How to get boot menu - 10-15-2011, 10:55 PM

How do you get the boot menu on a mini 9 - by which I mean, not the grub menu nor the bios setup, but where you can directly select which device to boot from? I know the screen briefly tells you to hit "2" or "0" for some such reason, but in the past only one of them worked, and now neither does anything - I'm just taken to the blue login rectangle.

If I hit esc repeatedly immediately after login, I occasionally see the boot-menu flash by. There must be a stable way to get it.
Thank you, tfj
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holmes4 holmes4 is offline
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Default 10-15-2011, 11:01 PM

Press 0 (zero) at the first BIOS screen. If that does not work, you have more serious problems.


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tfj tfj is offline
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Default 10-21-2011, 06:45 PM

Thanks.
Can you elaborate on my more serious problems? My main, installed system - Ubuntu 10.10 - is definitely semi-corrupted (it will only boot in a couple of recovery modes, for example). I've run numerous linux distros Unetbootin-loaded to the main flash drive, which apparently has really confused the machine with "leftover" code. If you could point me to a thorough, precise explanation of how to safely install a truly pristine OS or "live-cd" (without a cd drive), I would appreciate it.
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Default 10-21-2011, 08:26 PM

If you can't even get to the boot menu, then something is wrong with the BIOS which you can't fix by installing a new OS. What happens when you press 2 at the Dell logo screen?


Steve
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tfj tfj is offline
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Default 10-24-2011, 10:46 PM

Nothing happens (it's a boot screen of some type, offering "2" and "0", but I don't think the Dell logo shows); after the screen flashes by, I'm presented with a small blue login screen, same as if I press nothing; if I then hold <shift> and <enter>, I get the Grub menu, and can boot the "drop to root" recovery mode (some other recovery modes hang), then run startx or initx and have a fairly normal, usable GUI. Maybe all my Unetbootining-to-main-flash-drive has corrupted the BIOS? Note that my wifi-slot has disappeared (actually pci bus 03, where the wifi card lived, has disappeared). Is there a simple way to renew the BIOS, using Linux only?
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reflex reflex is offline
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Default 10-25-2011, 03:40 AM

The Dell splash screen can be disabled in the BIOS setup menu ("Boot-time Diagnostic Screen"). If it's disabled, you should just see a bunch of technical text instead (and the 0/2 prompt). So, a missing Dell splash screen doesn't necessarily indicate a problem.

Try holding down the zero key right after turning the power on (or go nuts hitting it a million times). You should get to "Boot Menu", with entries like "Hard Drive" (the SSD), "Diagnostics", "Enter Setup", etc. If you see a flashing cursor, GRUB or Ubuntu, you were too slow to hit zero... or you have a BIOS problem. But I think a BIOS problem is unlikely.

If it worked, boot off a USB drive and see if your wifi card is present.

As for your problem with startx/root-recovery etc, some software is screwed up. It might end up being easier to back up files and reinstall the OS, but you can try reinstalling/reconfiguring important GUI packages first. I dunno, maybe "sudo dpkg-reconfigure gdm" or "sudo apt-get --reinstall gdm". Something like that.


Mini 9 | Intel 5100 Wifi | Ubuntu 10.04 Netbook
Mini 1012 | SSD | Intel 6200 Wifi | Ubuntu 11.10 64bit
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tfj tfj is offline
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Default 11-11-2011, 09:23 PM

SOLVED

That did the trick - I need to start pressing "0" or "2" immediately after turning the machine on, rather than wait for the-boot screen to flash by. Holding "0" down, and releasing it after the boot-screen displays (to avoid filling up the login buffer) gives the small blue login window, then after logging in I'm at the small boot-device selection window; holding "2" down takes me directly to the BIOS-setup login screen.

My BIOS-setup has a page for re-arranging the boot-device order, so if you wanted to boot from, say, the USB drive, and can't access the boot-selection screen, you could try putting the USB first in line in the BIOS setup, and then rebooting.

It also turned out my wifi was disabled in the BIOS.

Thanks for the help.
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reflex reflex is offline
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Default 11-15-2011, 05:14 PM

Glad you made some progress.


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