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Mandriva 2010 [solved]


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I have installed Mandriva2010 on to a 5 years old Dell XPS containing an Nvidia Video card.

It is subject to intermittent freezing. When rebooting the initial boot screen shows rows of dotted lines and the numerous $ letters randomly scattered across the screen. When this occurs it will not fully boot past the point where the video driver cuts in and just sits there with a dark screen. On occasions when it does get past this point it presents a screen with a rainbow of coloured strips in a vertical plane and goes no further.

When I try the Safe mode to change xorg.conf from "nvidia" to just "nv" in case the driver is the problem, I find I cannot do so.


On the few occasions when the boot screen does not show the dotted lines and the $ signs all over the screen then the boot completes with no problems.


I seem to remember from the past that the $ signs and dotted lines and also the vertical multicoloured bands are an indication that the video card is on its way out.


Am I correct in this belief or is there another reason ???


Using a PCLinuxOS Live CD I have been able to gain access to xorg.conf and change it to "nv" successfully. I will see if the freezing stops.

When booting up PCLinuxOS, I have found also that if the dotted lines and $ signs appear all over the screen that it won't boot up properly either.

For this reason again I suspect the video card to be faulty but I stand to be corrected by more experienced people.


Help appreciated. Cheers. John.


Merry Christmas to everyone.


[Moved from Software - arctic]

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Just a bump.


Ideas, anyone ???.


Cheers. John.


Not so much a solution John, but the first thing that came up to me: a broken video-card yes.

Having any Windows around for testing?


And ehhhhh, Merry Christmas tot you too John.





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Merry Christmas John, Isadora.

John, I don't have a definitive answer but have you checked the card is seated properly, or the cable fitted snug. I would expect you to have looked at these. In all my computing years I have never had a video, sound or any other card go bad on me. I have had main boards go, but then it was the power supply at fault. So I'm afraid it's a case of waiting for someone to come along that could say what the the problem is, or try another card of course.

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Hi John,


I know nothing about your hardware, but assuming there is nothing wrong with it, I would suggest trying to run MDV 2008.1 or 2009.0. I found their performance much superior over newer versions for old hardwares.



Merry X-mess everyone!

Edited by yossarian
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Thanks sincerely to everyone.

It would seem that you generally agree with my assessment about the video card.

I had checked out the memory but that showed no errors (used Memtest.)

I truly suspect the memory on the video card so I think I will get a cheap nvidia card replacement since no one will be playing games on it.


Will post back later as to what ensues.


Cheers. John.

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I've never had the $ signs, but I have had the dotted lines from a faulty nvidia graphics card. I would suggest that you try using the kernel boot parameter


to get to a working gui DE. Then please post the output of

lspcidrake -v | grep -i display

so we can see what chipset you have and what driver it's using.


FYI- the 71.xx legacy drivers are no longer provided with Mandriva 2010.0.


Welcome to the USA, John – and Merry Christmas to you. :)


Also, don't leave Maine without trying the lobster. :D

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Thanks scarecrow and Greg.

I am finding that whether I try using Mandriva-2010 or PCLinuxOS-2009 live CDs I cannot get to a stage where I can select kernel Boot parameters. The dotted lines, or is it dashes, also shows up over the DELL intro logo so it appears to be before it even looks at the video driver info. In other words I think the initial bios activity is affected by the video cards condition. I am only surmising here.


I will try your suggestion booting into the installed Mandriva-2010-ONE and see if I have any luck there using the xdriver=vesa idea.


Greg. Thanks for the Welcome. Funny you should mention the Lobster. Was taken to another Family Christmas gathering party and someone had made a Lobster dish, Maine style and it was as great as I expected. :thumbs: I was more than partial to it since Aussie also produces some of the best Lobster in the world. :D .


Thanks to everyone for the warm Christmas greetings and the same to all of you.


Cheers. John.

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The dotted lines, or is it dashes, also shows up over the DELL intro logo so it appears to be before it even looks at the video driver info.

At this point in the boot process you aren't even using the Linux kernel generic framebuffer support, but you are using the BIOS support. So IMHO, you have a 99% chance of a graphics card hardware issue. Can you pull a card from another older system to check it with?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks to everyone who came in on this.

My perception proved to be correct and bolstered by your support I bought a new video card and the computer has been running like a dream ever since.


The new card is not a Video Game standard as was the original but the owner is happy with that.


Cheers to all. John.

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