Chapter 22. Ten Troubleshooting Tips

In This Chapter

  • Dealing with frozen installations

  • Changing your boot environment

  • Recovering when you see a black-and-white text screen!

  • Escaping a hung GUI

  • Using multiple resolutions

Troubleshooting is like reading a mystery novel: You have some facts, symptoms, and details, but you don't know whodunit. You have to take whatever information you have, work with that data, weigh the various possibilities, and then narrow them to a single suspect. Finally, you need to test your theory and prove that your suspect is the guilty party.

Troubleshooting problems in Linux (or any operating system) can encompass many hardware and software issues. Whether the problem is the operating system, the hardware, or a service giving you fits, you can use some basic troubleshooting techniques to start your investigations:

  • Document the problem. Write down any and all symptoms that the system is showing, including actions you can and can't do. Jot down any information you see in error messages.

  • Examine the Linux log files. You can find most of these in the /var/log directory. Look for the word error.

  • Compare your problem system with a working system running the same distribution and version. Sometimes comparing configuration files and settings may uncover the problem or narrow the possibilities.

  • Check connections. Check to make sure that all the hardware is connected properly and powered on. Verify that all cables and connections are attached properly. There's always someone, ...

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