Saturday, November 26, 2011

[TEMPORARY SOLUTION] Ubuntu 11.10 bug: Kernel panic with Purple screen of death

Last night, again I tried to update my Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) to 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) and landed up in a soup, which after 4 hours of dedicated research, is a bit clear now. I updated from my update manager and it took about 5 hours to download 800 mb of installation files (internet connection in India is not on the high speed side).

Once downloaded, it installed into my system without any trouble. But, when I restarted, it won't allow me beyond the purple screen "of death". The new linux kernel 3.0.0-13-generic was unable to load to my system. Even the same thing happened last time (couple of weeks ago) and I reinstalled Ubuntu 11.04 to my system. Seems like 3.0.0-13 kernel is a bit unstable.

This time I was determined to solve the puzzle. Now it is partially solved, but I am sure some more research will help me to solve it fully and have a stable version of Ubuntu 11.10 on my Asus Eee PC 1101HAB.

First I restarted the system, select Ubuntu (from the dual boot) and then press Shift till the grub menu showed. In the grub menu, I selected Ubuntu, Linux 3.0.0-13-generic (recovery mode) and then put the following commands:

#mount -oremount,rw /
#sudo nano /etc/default/grub

Now the grub opens and edit to the following configuration

GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR=`lsb_release -i -s 2> /dev/null || echo Debian`

Remove all instances of "quiet" and "splash" and ensure all other codes apart from the above are commented (start with #). Save grub configuration by Ctrl+X then Y and Enter.

Then update grub: #sudo update-grub
followed by #sudo reboot now

Your system would restart now. Choose the default kernel and not the recovery to update.

If the purple skin still persists then your system is unable to boot on Linux Kernel 3.*.*. Better to go back to 2.*.* version on which you were running Natty. I had to do the same, as well.

Again restart with Ctrl+Shift+Enter and choose Ubuntu followed by pressing Shift. On the grub, you'll get the option previous versions. Choose the version Ubuntu, with linux 2.6.38-8-generic and not the recovery one. It may take you again to a terminal console (also called kernel panic, even with the 2.* version of Linux), don't get disheartened.

Enter your Ubuntu login and password when prompted and then type
sudo service lightdm start

It would take you to the Ubuntu 11.10 login screen and allow you too login to the system with your password. It worked for me! Also, I need a way to stop the kernel panic and not type command to load lightdm. Let me check and put it in another post.

Now I am researching a bit how to load linux 3.* version. Right now I am running my system on Linux 2.* with Ubuntu 11.10.

Note: To make the 2.* version of Ubuntu 11.10 as default, download a startup manager from the Ubuntu software center. And then select the option as shown below, on reboot Ubuntu with Linux 2.6.38-8-generic would be your default kernel.

Startup Manager


  1. I am having the same problem with Kernel panic, happened after I did some updates and restarted. I can not even come to boot menu. The problem is that i have installed some important tools, and i do not want to reinstall again my os. I am using Macbook Pro, and Ubuntu has to be running on VMWare.

    I am pressin Shift key, but nothing has been changed.s

    so pleas any help??

    1. You can try the instructions after selecting Ubuntu in safe mode. Please check the initial grub screen that comes when you start your Macbook - there would be a safe graphics mode option below Ubuntu. Safe mode will take you to the terminal and where you can change the grub entries.

      Let me know if it worked for you.