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This is a weird problem. I think the main thing that's stopping me from fixing it myself is that I can't Google it because I have no idea what terminology I should use.

So I installed Debian today as a first Linux OS (not counting Ubuntu - but I didn't use it extensively and wasn't familiar with terminal commands anyways).

After installation, I found the system resolution to be 800x600. My monitor supports up to a 1920x1080 resolution, so I decided to try and find out how to increase the resolution (because the preferences only had 640x480 and 800x600...)

So the first thing I find is cvt 1920 1080 and then xrand or something. That winds up not working. I troubleshoot some more and decide that I need to find NVIDIA drivers for my computer.

After looking for those, I find a very informative page on installing NVIDIA drivers. Turns out there are two ways: The Debian way and the NVIDIA way. I end up doing the following:

  1. downloading amd64 version of NVIDIA Graphics Drivers (latest 71xx version)
  2. trying to run the .run file
  3. finding out you need to use sudo sh
  5. find out I need to stop gdm from running
  6. try sudo service lightdm stop
  7. try sudo service gdm stop
  8. after browsing for a while, find out to use file path and gdm3
  9. sudo /etc/init.d/gdm3 stop ends up working
  10. now sudo sh NVIDIASTUFFHERE works, but I need to switch gcc from 4.4 to 4.3
  11. find out I need to use update-alternatives to switch it
  12. find out I need to use export to switch it
  13. after using both, I can now finally run the NVIDIA drivers installer!

Okay, so I've finally installed the drivers. Now I have no idea what to do with them. I find out I should make an xorg.conf file in /etc/X11/. I make it, and it says something like driver: "NVIDIA" and not much else (can't remember because, again, I can't pull it up to look at it... I think it was about 4 or 5 lines long.) I do some more Googling (I try to solve most everything by Googling it) and find that I should use some invoke-rc.d something something gdm3 or something command to fix it. The reason I don't remember the exact command for this is what happened after...

Something crashes. Debian shows a screen with a jittery console on it. I do some research and find that another page told me to use different commands after installing the driver, but it was too late now. After rebooting Debian with various commands that I had to use earlier for troubleshooting, nothing works.

(for reference, the commands I tried booting with were xforcevesa and i915.modeset=1. Also, Debian won't boot (stops after a little console stuff to show absolutely no display) UNLESS I add nomodeset in the grub console you get after pressing e on an OS.

So... Now that I know how to properly use these NVIDIA drivers... how do I get out of this thing? To describe the symptoms of the jittery console:

Debian shows a Loading, please wait.... After this, it says some other stuff, ending with Starting Common Unix something-or-other. Then, I get a console. It's not a normal console. It won't let me type in it unless I continually spam the key. Won't let me backspace anything. There is no prompt. It constantly switches between showing the key(s) I've typed and showing a blank console (hence the term 'jittery'... it's hard to describe without seeing it).

I've looked it up on Google but can't seem to find a response that responds to the exact question I have. I think the problem was caused by either the xorg.conf or the invoke-rc.d command, but I'm leaning towards the invoke-rc.d, because I got the jittery console immediately after and booted right back into it no matter what I tried.

I hate to come here with a problem without good details, but I tried my best (couldn't look a lot of things up because they're on the system and I can't boot into it). If you need the info, I'm running Debian 6.0.7 ('Squeeze'?) alongside Windows 7 (dual booting) on an (obviously) NVIDIA graphics card. If you need any other info, please just ask and I'll do my best to provide it.

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If you press <ctrl><alt><f1> or <alt><f1>, can you get a console? Can you ssh into the box? Is there a serial port that you can connect a null modem cable to? – Barton Chittenden Apr 13 '13 at 2:55
<ctrl><alt><f1> doesn't work for getting consoles. Don't quite know how to ssh into the box, and a serial port? No idea what that is. =/ However, just so you know, it was previously an All-In-One computer (computer is literally CONNECTED to the monitor, there is no separation) – Arnav Apr 13 '13 at 2:58

First you have to boot with init=/bin/bash in order to have a "real" terminal, it's like a rescue mode, witch let you edit your files.

I recommend removing your xorg.conf file and optionnaly: update-rc.d gdm3 remove

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