Install freezes with blank screen (Dell Optiplex 780)

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Jan 4, 2015, 3:21:28 PM1/4/15
Howdy. I'm new to Qubes. My install is failing. I'm trying to install Qubes R2 rc2 onto a blank partition on a machine that also has Windows and Ubuntu partitions.

I'm booting off of the install DVD. The installation screen appears. I started with the installation option on that screen. When that didn't work, I went under the Troubleshooting section and tried all of the different kernels in there.

All of those are failing the same way. The screen soon goes dark, the DVD drive stops turning, and then nothing. I then have to do a hard reset to shut down the computer and restart it.

What I hope will be enlightening is what happens when I try installing using the basic graphics option.

I select "Install Qubes in basic graphics mode". Various text flashes by. Eventually, it displays:

"Starting installer, one moment..."
"Anaconda 20.25.16-7 for Qubes R2-rc2 started"
"Not asking for VNC because we don't have a network"

At that point, the screen goes blank, the monitor goes to sleep, the DVD stops turning, and nothing more happens. Time for the hard reset.

The computer is a Dell Optiplex 780. The CPU is an Intel Core 2 Quad (Q6600). The CPU has integrated video, so I don't have a separate video card.

Hakisho Nukama

Feb 10, 2015, 9:22:02 AM2/10/15

this could be a graphic driver problem, or some misbehaviour correlated to VT-d.
Can you try to disable VT-d in your BIOS? Try another graphics card,
disable internal one?

Can you try installing with latest Qubes R2 image?

You can edit the grub menu and remove the quiet boot option, which
might tell you more about the problem.
'e' on the highlighted grub entry and then navigate to "quiet" and
remove it with 'backspace' and boot with F10.

Have you also verified your installation medium [0]?
Does your boot medium work on other hardware?

Best Regards,
Hakisho Nukama


Feb 18, 2015, 2:09:20 AM2/18/15

Thank you for your reply. That's what I needed. I've got it installed now. Its capabilities are apparently a bit crippled on this machine, but at least I can try Qubes and at least get some of its benefit.

For the benefit of anyone else attempting to install on this same hardware, this is what I had to do:

Go into the computer's BIOS (Power up the computer and press the F12 key while the Dell logo displays.).

Inside the BIOS, expand the "Virtualization Support" heading. You'll see two entries, "Virtualization" and "VT for Direct I/O". I didn't know which of the two was the offender, so I punished both.

Under "Virtualization", you will see one checkbox, labeled "Enable Intel Virtualization Technology". It is already checked. You want to UNCHECK this.

Under "VT for Direct I/O", you will see one checkbox, labeled "Enable Intel VT for Direct I/O". This is also already checked. You want to UNCHECK this as well.

Then save the changes and reboot the computer.

When the installer menu appears, I was able to use the regular installation choice (no need to choose an alternative kernel or the basic graphics option).

I was able to run through the entire installer without incident and installed Qubes successfully.

I haven't had a chance yet to play around inside the OS, so I don't know whether all the functions are working. I assume the VT-d is disabled.

I will try to run the HCL script this weekend and upload the results.

One final question: Am I correct in assuming that I have to leave both of those checkboxes in the BIOS turned off? Does anybody know if it's possible to reenable one of them (which?) to restore at least some of that capability? I did not test the checkboxes independently. I turned them both off, because I wanted the install to work.


Hakisho Nukama

Feb 19, 2015, 9:09:47 AM2/19/15
Hi Ron.

Enable "Intel Virtualization Technology" and let "VT for Direct I/O"
a.k.a. "VT-d" disabled.
Then you should be able to run a HVM (Windows, etc).
If this works, you might turn VT-d on again and test, whether this works.
Otherwise you've to live without added security in separation of netvm
and usbvm through VT-d.

You might be able to enable VT-d, if you plug in another graphic cards.
That was my solution on such buggy hardware.

Best Regards,
Hakisho Nukama

Feb 19, 2015, 10:51:37 AM2/19/15

Just so I'm clear, you're saying I can, in all probability, reenable "Intel Virtualization Technology" without a problem? According to the HCL, that corresponds to HVM.

You're also saying that there's no way in hell I can reenable "Intel VT for Direct I/O" on the machine as is? According to the HCL, that corresponds to IOMMU.

It looks like I can get a video card for around $50. I suppose it's worth taking the chance, since IOMMU is important. My only hesitation is that I also need to upgrade the RAM on this machine (under $100 to take it from 6 GB to 12 GB). The more I spend on this machine, the longer I have to keep it. I was hoping to replace it in 6 months.


May 12, 2017, 6:24:46 AM5/12/17
to qubes-users
Fix your issue by following instructions.
Start the computer
Tap 'F8' on the keyboard immediately and every one second until the Dell logo screen disappears. From there you will see the Windows Advanced Options Menu on the screen. (If the Windows Advanced Options Menu does not appear, restart the system and try again.)
Select Safe mode with Networking and press Enter
Log on as the administrator or as a user with administrative access
For more help visit Dell Optiplex 780 Manual-
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