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Thread: Monitor switches to illegal mode when X-Windows starts...?

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    Monitor switches to illegal mode when X-Windows starts...?

    Hey everyone! First of all, thanks for the wonder of Knoppix - after a week of depressed thoughts and trying every sort of XP software in existence, I found the solution to salvage over 80% of my dead hard disk - and it was Knoppix. Started on a backup computer, with the disk removed from the other PC and plugged in, Knoppix salvaged most of my data in two nights (and one day ).

    Seeing the power of Debian, the sleekness of Knoppix, and being ashamed of not knowing the OS so far, I decided it was high time to get to know it. I partitioned the drive in my first, now-equipped-with-a-new-harddisk, PC, installed the system from the Knoppix CD, newbied my way through menu.lst to have the bootup menu I wanted, and then... the bad things began. Or specifically, one bad thing. When Knoppix starts on this PC (with a GeForce FX7900 and a Nec 750FE+), everything goes well until X-Windows loads (from the CD) or until I type startx (from the HDD). Then the monitor instantly goes into, presumably, an illegal mode - the screen is filled with flickering fuzz, grey jumping lines, and a lot of noise. The only way out is punching reset.

    I've tried some ways of starting Knoppix or X-Windows with different resolutions or refresh rates, but that doesn't seem to change anything. Either I was using the parameters incorrectly (very possible, I'm a complete Debian newbie, as I said, unfortunately...), or they didn't help.

    I'd really like to keep the OS, and preferably in the Knoppix variant, but I need X-Windows. At least for the beginning, since the only command line OS I know is DOS (well, and C64Basic ). Is there anything recommendable? Should I try to remove the installation done from the Knoppix disc and install Debian and X-Windows again? Are there some newer versions than the ones Knoppix comes with? Some fixes, patches? (The software on the Knoppix CD would be nice in the system... as would be the way Knoppix is configured).

    By the way, if there is a multi-step way of doing this, and especially if it involves such procedures as removing the current installation of Debian and installing a new one, etc., etc., etc., I'd really love some pointers or perhaps a recommendation to some online guides that would explain the procedures in detail, maybe even step by step, so there's no chance of screwing something up - as I said already, I'm a newb of newbs in Debian )

    (I also have another BTW - when preparing the partition and swap partition for Knoppix, I used Partition Magic and chose to format it as "ext2", but when I'm trying to access the partition in XP, I see the messages of the partition being actually "Reiser" and therefore readable only to one tool (and not writable at all from XP). Partition Magic still lists it as "ext2". Perhaps someone who actually knows what I'm talking about - I probably don't - could tell me why this happens and if I did something wrong when repartitioning and installing the OS?)

  2. #2
    Administrator Site Admin-
    Join Date
    Apr 2003

    Re: Monitor switches to illegal mode when X-Windows starts..

    Quote Originally Posted by FredJetson
    .... installed the system from the Knoppix CD.....
    Knoppix is a Live CD. It is not recommended for a beginner to try to install it to hard disk, many known problems crop up when you do. If you want an installed Linux on your hard disk, I strongly suggest that you do a net-install of Debian, the OS that Knoppix is based on. You can then easily install any or all of the applications that are in Knoppix. And you'll avoid the common Knoppix hard disk install problems.

    As far as I can tell from a quick read of your post, the monitor problem that you are reporting only occurs after the hard disk install. If that's incorrect, then you're confusing the issue by getting into the hard disk issue, just focus on getting the disc version working. If it does only happen on hard disk install then it's something new that I had not heard of going wrong with a hard disk install before, but I'm not shocked by it. And not particularly concerned or interested either.

    There is a forum section for the people who install Knoppix to hard disk. I'm moving your post there. I would like to be able to tell you that the people who do think installing Knoppix is a good idea will find it and respond faster there, but in all honesty they seldom do that. They do seem to like to correct me for saying that Knoppix shouldn't be installed though, so perhaps my feedback here will help you get some extra attention.

  3. #3
    Senior Member registered user
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Re the partitioning - I don't know which Partition Magic issue you're using, but I have (ancient) PM 5.1 which 'understands' ext2 and reiser but not ext3 . It interprets an ext3 partition, which essentially comprises ext2 plus journal structure, as a 'full' ext2 partition.

    Now, the knoppix installer will have converted your ext2 partition to ext3. So *if*
    Partition Magic still lists it as "ext2".
    was *after* your attempted installation, then seems that it is behaving like my PM 5.1

    ... and it *might* be that XP mis-interprets your ext3 system as (also journalled) reiser. But that is conjecture on my part, as I am lucky enough not to be forced by any requirement to have XP

    Have you looked at what GParted reports instead of Partition Magic ? If I remember,it's on the Knoppix 5.1.1 CD and/or DVD, or you can download a dedicated live CD version.

    BTW I also find that pure Debian is better for a hard drive installation than Knoppix.

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