9.3. Boot Problems

Boot problems are situations when your system does not boot properly (that is, does not boot to the expected runlevel and login screen).

9.3.1.  Machine Loads the BIOS Properly but Fails to Load the GRUB Boot Loader

If the hardware is functioning properly, it is possible that the boot loader has become corrupted and Linux cannot start on the machine. In this case, it is necessary to reinstall the boot loader.

To reinstall the boot loader, proceed as follows:

  1. Insert the installation media into the drive.

  2. Reboot the machine.

  3. Select Installation from the boot menu.

  4. Select a language.

  5. Accept the license agreement.

  6. In the Installation Mode screen, select Other and set the installation mode to Repair Installed System.

  7. Once in the YaST System Repair module, select Expert Tools then select Install New Boot Loader.

  8. Restore the original settings and reinstall the boot loader.

  9. Leave YaST System Repair and reboot the system.

Other reasons for the machine not booting may be BIOS-related:

BIOS Settings

Check your BIOS for references to your hard drive. GRUB might simply not be started if the hard drive itself cannot be found with the current BIOS settings.

BIOS Boot Order

Check whether your system's boot order includes the hard disk. If the hard disk option was not enabled, your system might install properly, but fail to boot when access to the hard disk is required.

9.3.2.  Machine Loads GRUB Properly, but Does Not Boot into a Graphical Login

If the machine comes up, but does not boot into the graphical login manager, anticipate problems either with the choice of the default runlevel or the configuration of the X Window System. To check the runlevel configuration, log in as the root user and check whether the machine is configured to boot into runlevel 5 (graphical desktop). A quick way to check this is to examine the contents of /etc/inittab, as follows:

nld-machine:~ # grep "id:" /etc/inittab 
nld-machine:~ #

The returned line indicates that the machine's default runlevel (initdefault) is set to 5 and that it should boot to the graphical desktop. If the runlevel is set to any other number, use the YaST Runlevel Editor module to set it to 5.


Do not edit the runlevel configuration manually. Otherwise SuSEconfig (run by YaST) will overwrite these changes on its next run. If you need to make manual changes here, disable future SuSEconfig changes by setting CHECK_INITTAB in /etc/sysconfig/suseconfig to no.

If the runlevel is set to 5, you might have corruption problems with your desktop or X Windows software. Examine the log files at /var/log/Xorg.*.log for detailed messages from the X server as it attempted to start. If the desktop fails during start, it might log error messages to /var/log/messages. If these error messages hint at a configuration problem in the X server, try to fix these issues. If the graphical system still does not come up, consider reinstalling the graphical desktop. For more information about X server configuration, refer to Chapter 14, The X Window System (↑Reference).

One quick test: the startx command should force the X Window System to start with the configured defaults if the user is currently logged in on the console. If that does not work, it should log errors to the console. For more information about the X Window system configuration, refer to Chapter 14, The X Window System (↑Reference).