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Blinking Screen

Community Veteran
Posts: 1,128
Thanks: 8
Registered: 28-08-2007

Blinking Screen

More of an annoyance than anything else. When I login from boot up to my account just after the desktop kicks in my screen goes blank for 2/3 seconds. This doesn't happen if I were to login to my daughters account so I'm guessing it's something I have running in my particular desktop.
Noticed this seems to happen as well when running something under wine quite severely. What would the starting point be for me to look into? Are there any logs I could look into that would show what's wrong?
Running 12.04 Unity with a nvidia 6800gt card and using the g drivers that comes with the OS.
41 REPLIES
Community Veteran
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Registered: 18-01-2013

Re: Blinking Screen

If you change the screen resolution, does the screen exhibit a similar behaviour ?
Community Veteran
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Registered: 16-02-2009

Re: Blinking Screen

Have a look in ~/.config/autostart to see what starts up when you log in, you could try removing them one at a time (or adding one at a time) to see what causes the delay.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,128
Thanks: 8
Registered: 28-08-2007

Re: Blinking Screen

Quote from: DomS
If you change the screen resolution, does the screen exhibit a similar behaviour ?

Yes the same happens when I change the screen resolution.
I've done a little vid so you get the jest of it.



Screenshot from 2014-01-16 21:15:28 by AWB70, on Flickr
These are the files in my auto start folder. Bare with me it's been a while since I've had to mess about with my set up, it's easy to forget how to do the simplest tasks (hidden folders) So is it safe to cut all of these out of the folder and see if it still does it then copy them back one at a time to find the culprit? What's the difference in using say the startup manager for instance? I notice that there are files in the startup folder in the image that I have disabled through the startup applications app.
Just going to check now and see if my daughter has different ones in her account.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,128
Thanks: 8
Registered: 28-08-2007

Re: Blinking Screen

Ok, so before trying deleting all these files I decided to try going back to the 4.0.3 (recommend drivers) instead of the post release ones just in case although I'm pretty sure they are the same driver after realising that my daughters account does the same blinking thing.
Rebooted and now I'm stuck at desktop login boot screen, did the alt/ctrl f7 and it says light dm fail. Nice! I can see this is going to be a long evening. Any ideas?
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,128
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Registered: 28-08-2007

Re: Blinking Screen

Issue seems to be kernel module has 304.108 but the driver has version 304.88 if that helps.
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,773
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Registered: 16-02-2009

Re: Blinking Screen

Ok you have a driver missmatch.
Try from a terminal:
sudo apt install -f nvidia-current
then reboot and see if it fixed it.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,128
Thanks: 8
Registered: 28-08-2007

Re: Blinking Screen

I made a complete rocks of it mate. I came across a similar situation on ubuntu help and someone there solved the problem with reinstalling unity from the boot screen which I tried  Shocked don't know what I was thinking of tbh. Anyway I purged the drivers and re-installed the desktop from the boot screen. What I should have done was, as you say at that point just purged the drivers and installed the new ones from that screen and I would probably have been ok.
Current situation I can boot back to my old working desktop now and login as guest, logging in in either mine or daughters desktop is just blank. The guest screen I can only use the top bar buttons but nothing seems to work. Can't bring up terminal, can't access any files or folders! I sort of resigned to the fact and thought maybe I should just go clean install. There was a few little niggles on the system which has probably been running for about 3 years that I sort of wished I had did differently so thought now would be a good time to do it. Now I'm having flash backs of installing a live cd using a USB drive.
Same old DRM nouveux I've always been plagued with on this system. A live cd of ubuntu 12.04.2 gets stuck at the channels bit and won't get any further and a usb of 12.04.3 I created last night using startup disk creator on my other ubuntu machine last night wouldn't boot this morning! I'm at work on a windows machine using unetbootin in and trying 12.04.3 to make a usb livecd in the hope that the g driver issue may be solved on 12.04.3
If you could get me back in to my original desktop that would be awesome and I could take it from there. If not the alternative is to get some distro working on a liveusb stick and get anything off that I hadn't put in my ubuntu one folder for cloud syncing and go for clean install. Thanks to your advice in my previous calamities at least my home folder is on a separate hard drive to the os    Wink
From memory the only way I can usually get 12.04 installed on this machine is to burn an alternate CD but obviously that's going to wipe stuff before I have chance to back it up. Any suggestions on which is the least troublesome distro to get a live usb stick from?
Edit* just realised I'll also have to set my VM's back up again  Crazy
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,773
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Registered: 16-02-2009

Re: Blinking Screen

OK you could try a chroot if you can get a live cd to boot.
NB it has to be the same arch. as your normal system (x64 or x86)
Boot from live cd and then follow the instructions on here (https://help.ubuntu.com/community/LiveCdRecovery )
Then try the re-install of the video driver. OR download the latest one from NV and install that while in the chroot env.
Failing all that. Then do you have /home on a seperate partition? If not we are in for a slog.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,128
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Registered: 28-08-2007

Re: Blinking Screen

Yeah Mate home is on separate drive and partition. The usb stick didn't boot on this system but that's not to say that it won't on the one at home. I have booted from a usb stick before on that one. If I could check there wasn't anything on my home system from a livecd or at least get it took off onto a stick I would just go clean format and start again.
I'll try your suggestions and see where I go from there, I think it was lubuntu that I managed to get running live usb stick last time. It all comes back to ubuntu and these drivers, I get caught in a vicious circle where the livecd drivers don't work. I tried last time but never got to the bottom of, ideally I could do with a usb stick with livecd on and the correct drivers built in for times just like this.
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,773
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Registered: 16-02-2009

Re: Blinking Screen

Never had the issue with Mint, haven't booted an Ubuntu cd for years now. Had similar issues with Suse and video drivers, would boot but no graphics.
If you get the cd/usb booted, do a chroot :
Press Ctrl-Alt-F1
Enter :-
sudo mount /dev/sda1 /mnt <- check this is your boot drive
sudo mount --bind /dev /mnt/dev
sudo mount --bind /proc /mnt/proc
sudo mount --bind /sys /mnt/sys
sudo chroot /mnt
then
sudo apt-get install -f nvidia-current
then reboot and see if it lets you in. If that fails then reboot from the live-cd.
I tend to copy /etc to a backup folder so I can see what mounts/extra ppa's I have installed.
Any additional bits you may have added (scripts not in your home folder) copy them to the backup folder.
Then do the chroot again and
sudo dpkg --get-selections ><backup folder>/app-backup-list.txt
this will backup all your installed apps to a list.
type exit to exit the chroot.
unmount the drive(s) and do an install with / as your old root (full format) and /home as your home partition (without format)
After you boot, you can do an:
sudo dpkg --get-selections < <baclup folder>/app-backup-list.txt
sudo apt-get -y update
sudo apt-get dselect-upgrade
this should restore most of your apps, execpt any you have installed via ppa/manually.
You can restore your ppa list by
sudo cp <backup folder>/etc/apt/sources.list.d/* /etc/apt/sources.list.d
sudo cp -r <backup folder>/etc/apt/trusted* /etc/apt/
that should work, if it doesn't then you have a list of your ppa's and can manually add them.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,128
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Registered: 28-08-2007

Re: Blinking Screen

I'll give it a shot later and let you know how I get on. Out of curiosity what do you set your bios to boot from when booting from usb? Struggling so far and I have booted before, not sure if it's the sticks I'm using. Usb hd, cdrom, zip. 
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,773
Thanks: 257
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Registered: 16-02-2009

Re: Blinking Screen

I usually just use the f12/custom boot option. Otherwise try all the usb options.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,128
Thanks: 8
Registered: 28-08-2007

Re: Blinking Screen

Had  a stroke of luck this morning. I booted up and logged in my account and just left it for five. The DE came up but I couldn't seem to click on any of the task bars,then I had a bit of a brain wave, if I've destroyed unity by rebuilding it I wonder if I can still login to gnome classic, voila, realised my Gcard drivers weren't running so I updated them using the above and logged out, went back to unity and every things working.  Smiley
Seems even though I did the wrong thing when I was stuck at the boot screen, purging the drivers hasn't done any harm. Probably no need to rebuild unity though. Should have just ran the purge command then the update drivers when the DE wouldn't start.
Got everything backup up now and guess what, yes, the blinking screen is still there. Going to try when I get home to see if the blink happens when I login to gnome. Just wondering if it may be a Unity effect that's causing it.
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,773
Thanks: 257
Fixes: 20
Registered: 16-02-2009

Re: Blinking Screen

Can't help you with Unutty, never used it  Cheesy
At least you have a working (ish) system again, without the need of rebuilding.  Grin