Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ubuntu Server Text Mode

[Originally posted June 5, 2012]

Ubuntu Server supposedly lacks a GUI, but it still uses FrameBuffer by default. I was seeing the following error on a picky Dell monitor when booting to a fresh install of Ubuntu 12.04 LTS:
Out of range signal.
Cannot display this video mode,
change computer display input to 1600x1200 @60Hz
Disabling FrameBuffer
  • Boot off the installation CD and use rescue mode.
  • Open the file:  /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-framebuffer.conf
  • Append the line:  blacklist vga16fb
  • Save the file and exit, then run:  update-initramfs -u
  • Reboot
Credit to this guy for showing me the fix.

Text Mode GRUB

I didn't like my video signal going out of range during the GRUB stage, so...
  • Open the file:  /boot/grub/grub.cfg
  • Uncomment the line:  GRUB_TERMINAL=console
  • Save the file and exit, then run:  update-grub
  • Reboot


  1. I'm having the same problem with a fresh install of 12.04.02 on an older Dell Optiplex GX240 with an AMD/ATI Rage 128 Pro Ultra TF ... I'm borrowing a newer Dell monitor from another system. While the monitor may be able to handle this resolution (1600x1200), I doubt the video card can support it. Not sure where the system is getting these values from.
    When I try to boot from the hard drive, I get the blank screen with the above video error ... nothing seems to be functional, all I can do is reboot.
    I made your suggested edit above but when I run 'update-initramfs -u' it throws the following:
    Generating /boot/initrd.img-3.5.0-23-generic
    grep: /boot/config-3.5.0-23-generic: No such file or directory
    I've been struggling with this for a few days this week, I've tried all the grub edit suggestions with no luck. I read about some video driver suggestions but I don't have an x11 directory, so I'm not sure if that's still valid. I can only edit files with vim ... gedit and nano don't work.
    As you can see I'm a bit new at this, but all I can do is go into recovery mode and edit files. Any suggestions greatly appreciated.