Thursday, November 1, 2012

BackTrack 5 R3: Black Screen After Startx/Caps Lock Blinks/USB Thumb Drive Boot Problem

Well, I have to say up front, this took me a couple of hours to resolve.  It appears that this issue is quite common, but I found, literally no complete resolution to this issue anywhere on the Internet.  Here is what I tried to do:
I was trying to make a bootable USB drive with BackTrack 5 R3 on it.  Here is what I did to get that done:
1.  Get unetbootin and the ISO of backtrack.
2.  Run unetbootin and select the ISO of backtrack and the USB stick you want to use.
3.  Run the program and wait for it to finish.

This worked, except that it wouldnt boot after typing in 'startx".  It would just freeze up, black screen, and caps lock blinking steadily.  It wouldnt go any further.  From my research into this, it appears to be a video driver issue.  Im running a Dell Latitude E5410.  There appears to be fixes out there, but because Im running this on a USB drive, none of them were permanent fixes.  This is the fix that actually got me to realize that the my USB install was ok, and that this was a video driver issue (I found this in the BackTrack forums, posted by p0cTeam):
quote: insert DVD-live, in the grub press TAB to edit boot, you well see something like this file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.see boot=casper initrd=/casper/initrd.gz, add xforcevesa noapic nosplash irqpoll -- after initrd.gz          end quote.

Well, that worked, ONCE.  There was another fix I found as well, and it appears to be similar in nature, although the syntax was different.  It consisted of editing the grub.cfg file.  The only problem was that I could not do a 'update-grub' after editing the grub file.  Which apparently fixed people's issue IF it was installed on the hard drive of the pc/laptop.  Mine wasnt, again, it was on the USB.  So for some reason, when I did the update-grub command, it complained to me and it never would write to the grub.cfg file.  Bummer.
Well, I found that someone on the Internet mentioned the sys.cfg file.  I looked for it in the linux directory, but I couldnt find it anywhere.  Another bummer.  But, what I did do was boot back into Windows and look at my USB drive and found a file called 'syslinux.cfg'.  I opened it up and I edited as follows:
label unetbootindefault
menu label Default
kernel /ubnkern
append initrd=/ubninit file=/cdrom/preseed/custom.seed boot=casper text splash vga=791 xforcevesa noapic noapci nosplash irqpoll --

label ubnentry0
menu label BackTrack Text - Default Boot Text Mode
kernel /casper/vmlinuz
append initrd=/casper/initrd.gz file=/cdrom/preseed/custom.seed boot=casper  text splash vga=791 xforcevesa noapic noapci nosplash irqpol --

Highlighted above is what I added.  Notice its the same as what p0cTeam said to add, except that it was in the syslinux.cfg file on the USB stick instead of in the grub file on the hard drive.
Ive tested this above and it works well (in my scenario).  I appears that there is about 3 variants to this, according to the install you do.  Again, mine was a USB, while most appears to address an install on the hard drive.  Im not sure how you would edit this on a CD.  I hope this helps you.
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