May 052019
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After upgrading a computer from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS or Ubuntu 18.04 LTS to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, during boot the screen goes blank (turns black), all HD disk activity halts, and the system becomes frozen. This event can also occur on a fresh installation or when updates are installed.

This is due to a video mode issue that causes the system to halt or freeze. It’s much like the issue I described here on a Fedora Linux system.

Temporary Fix

To get the system to boot:

  1. After turning on your PC, hold the right SHIFT key to get to the GRUB bootloader if your computer uses a BIOS. If your computer uses EFI or UEFI, continuously tap the “ESC” (escape) key after turning on your PC.
  2. Once GRUB is open, press the “e” key to edit the first highlighted entry “Ubuntu”.
  3. Move your cursor down to the line that starts with “linux”, and use the right arrow key to find the section with the words “ro quiet splash”.
  4. Add “nomodeset” after these words.
  5. Feel free to remove “quiet” and “splash” for more verbosity to troubleshoot the boot process.
  6. Press “CTRL + X” or “F10” to boot.
  7. The system should now boot.

Permanent Fix

To permanently resolve the issue:

  1. Once the system has booted using the temporary fix, log in.
  2. Open a terminal window (Applications -> Terminal, or press the “Start” button and type terminal).
  3. Either “su” in to root, or use “sudo” to open your favorite text editor and edit the file “/etc/default/grub” (I use nano which can be install by running “apt install nano”):
    nano /etc/default/grub
  4. Locate the line with the variable “GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT”, and add “nomodeset” to the variables. Feel free to remove “splash” and “quiet” if you’d like text boot. Here’s an example of my line after editing (yours will look different):
    GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash nomodeset"
  5. Save the file and exit the text editor (CTRL+X to quit, the press “y” and enter to save).
  6. At the bash prompt, execute the following command to regenerate the grub.conf file on the /boot partition from your new default file:
  7. Restart your system, it should now boot!

Please Note: Always make sure you have a full system backup before modifying any system files!

  81 Responses to “Ubuntu Linux – Black screen and frozen system after upgrade and/or install”

  1. When i push the right shift key nothing happens

  2. my computer stays on a black screen when i restart for an update

  3. Worked for me after upgrade to Xubuntu 19.10. The only difference is Esc key to enter grub menu.


  4. Thanks a lot, it solves my blackscreen issue after booting !
    (HP Probook 4740s + Unbuntu 19.10)

  5. Worked like an charm!!!!
    Thanks for sharing!!! Literally two days and it solved.

  6. Perfect, thanks!

  7. Thanks a lot, worked for me (Samsung SF 510)

  8. Had this happen to me between package linux-image-5.3.0-28-generic (5.3.0-28.30~18.04.1) and linux-image-5.3.0-40-generic (5.3.0-40.32.~18.04.1).

    The machine is a HP laptop model 17-ca1006no with Ryzen 3 CPU.

    $ uname -a
    Linux hp-laptop-17 5.3.0-40-generic #32~18.04.1-Ubuntu SMP Mon Feb 3 14:05:59 UTC 2020 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
    $ cat /proc/cpuinfo
    processor : 0
    vendor_id : AuthenticAMD
    cpu family : 23
    model : 24
    model name : AMD Ryzen 3 3200U with Radeon Vega Mobile Gfx

    $ sudo lspci -v

    04:00.0 VGA compatible controller: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] Picasso (rev c4) (prog-if 00 [VGA controller])
    Subsystem: Hewlett-Packard Company Device 85b3

    Capabilities: [320] Latency Tolerance Reporting
    Kernel modules: amdgpu


    With the new kernel the system halts, with black screen and not responding to anything. With the older kernel, it works as it should with full HDMI resolution.

    With the nomodeset, the new kernel boots, but only with the 1027×768 resolution.

    So my solution will be to have the old kernel and see if next will fix this, and look for bug reports at

  9. During install of16.04, the system encountered an error, supposedly from the original disk write. Ubuntu tried to send error message, no go. Tried another disk, nothing. Machine is Toshiba Satelite A15 AMD Turion.
    Bios splash appears then nothing but a nonresponsive flashing cursor.
    Tried Windows rescue, nothing.

  10. After dual booting Ubuntu into system, I shutdown the system after a day and on restart, the goes into black screen. So I added nomodeset after quite splash in the grub and pressed ctrl+X, but now the system falls into PCIe bus error. What do I do? I even tried by removing quite splash and added nomod set but still it goes into PCIe bus error. There were solutions on internet to add pci=nomsi or noaer but then system goes into clearing orphaned inode . So I completely reinstalled the Ubuntu but still the same thing happens again black screen, PCIe bus error, etc.. can anybody understand my problem and give me solution to this mess? I have been trying the solutions all over the internet since a week. But this doesn’t seem to get resolved. Please help!

  11. This happened to me after upgrading from Ubuntu 18.04 LTS to 20.04 LTS. I’m now able to at least boot into the operating system. Thanks!!!

  12. I tried with adding nomodeset and removed quiet and splash. But after pressing F10, system not booting
    please help

  13. Hi anjana,

    It sounds like your issue is different from the issue in the blog post. I’d recommend troubleshooting the issue to attempt to find out what’s going on so that you can try to find a solution once the issue is identified.

  14. Ubuntu 20.04 fresh install black screen and upgrade black screen your article helps get my computer back up.

    I have a GeForce GTX 550 TI from the video and that seemed to be the problem but how do I get my graphics back or do I wait.

    At least I’m inside everything’s fine, but my graphics suck should I upgrade to the driver 4:40 or just leave it alone?

    Thanks a bunch.

  15. Thanks a lot.
    I’ve not performed both sequences, only the temporary fix.
    That’s because I’ve knowed that the NVIDIA grafic is the reason for the black screen after login, I’ve installed the propriete driver from NVIDIA after the successful login.
    After installation and rebooting the system (then without the modification “nomodeset”), after the login, the desktop has appeared as it shall.
    Since it isn’t described 100 %: Before and after “nomodeset” there shall be a blank or rather space to the other words (no idea if it’s really required, but initially I was unsure if or if not).

    For your information:
    My support request with Dell has gone over weeks. I’ve asked if there are special drivers necessary. Also I’ve asked for a Dell specific image for installation, but for both I’ve got a “NO”.
    With help of a forum I found out that NVIDIA is the reason. And once again I’ve asked the Dell support how to solve this. After many “Try this link”, “do that”, they’ve sent me the link to your instructions. Seams that they are not able to generate such a description, or rather to solve this problem in total with Canonical or NVIDIA, for all the other users which are having this problem.
    Well done – thanks.

  16. This is working fine for me and solved my problem. Thank you very much

  17. Working fine. Thanks a lot

  18. Have the same problem, followed instructions by adding nomodeset but the same black screen again after F10. What to do please?

  19. Hi Abou,

    I’m not sure what you’re referring to with “F10” but if the fix isn’t working, your issue may be with something else and unrelated.


  20. Thanx alot dude. This resolved my issue.
    -HP PoBook 4520s
    -upgraded Ubuntu 18 to 20

  21. I have done what you have said for temporary fix it displayed message
    EFI stub: UEFI Secure Boot is enabled
    And it got stuck there

  22. Hi Dhruv,

    It appears you’re entering in to the UEFI boot. You need to get in to the GRUB bootloader.


  23. after I pressed F10, it shows command line
    [ 0.7236331] —[ end kernel panic – not syncing: VFS: Unable to mount root fs on unknown-block(0,0) } —-
    kindly explain to me what to do next. thanks.

  24. Hello,

    It appears that your issue is unrelated to the issue covered in this post. In your case, it sounds like the Linux kernel and initial ramdisk are having trouble mounting your root fs (root filesystem).


  25. Upgrading 18.04 to 20.04. It has been running for 48 hours and is still running. Is this normal? Was able to find only one internet comment that noted “hours” to upgrade not days. Is there a function that will tell progress and estimated time to complete?

  26. Hi Douglas,

    I don’t believe it’s normal. On modern equipment it should take 30 minutes to 2 hours. Older equipment may take 2 to 6 hours.

    If you’re doing the graphical update method, I’m not sure if there’s a way to find out the progress.


  27. Yes, thank you very much sir, this fixed my freezing desktop problem on Ubuntu 20
    You deserve a medal!

  28. Great, the above mentioned steps both temporary and permanent. Thank you Stephen.
    Following are the model details of my HP Laptop:

    Model: HP ZBook 15 G6 Mobile Workstation
    Intel® Core™ i7-9850H Processor
    16 GB DDR4
    1 TB PCIe NVMe SSD

  29. Using ubuntu 18,4 blank screen still persist after entering nomodeset ..I’m using amd processor desktop

  30. You rock Stephen!! I have been struggling with it and had reinstalled it 3-4 times till I thought to look for a solution online. And Bingo, this is the first solution I found and worked like a charm.

  31. Glad it helped Ajay!

  32. Thanks a lot, it solve my black screen issue

  33. I am getting error writing /etc/default/grub: permission denied while saving in terminal. how can i save it?

  34. After following all steps black screen changed to purple and aero sign started to appear but no log in option appeared. I waited for half hour nothing changed.

  35. Hi Mihir,

    You need to modify this file as root. Either using “su” or “sudo”.


  36. Hi Ankit,

    It sounds like you’re having a different issue than discussed in this post. You’re going to have to research your issue and find out what’s causing it.


  37. Thanks , was thinking to uninstall Lubuntu because of this display issue !!

  38. Thank you so much! I’ve been stuck on this problem for a solid week!. That’s 8 days of hair pulling emotional agony. I was honestly loosing hope. LOL. Thanks man. You ROCK!

  39. My LUbuntu 18.04 VM goes into frozen state if no activity is done for some time..subsequent to this only power off is the only option left and have to retart the machine

  40. Hi Vishal,

    I think your issue is different than the one covered in this post.

  41. Good advice – this got me past the video driver problem but left me at CLI only. No desktop environment.
    Now I gotta figure out how to get GNOME to start.

  42. Try “startx”

  43. Sorry Stephen, I wasn’t clear. I can make gnome run (startx). htat isn’t my problem.
    gdm is misbehaving.
    It has always been in rc.d but post the upgrade gdm in rc.d isn’t doing the right thing.
    I’m thinking something in the new Ubuntu version is overriding it

  44. I’ve done temporary fix but after boot desktop opened and the resolution has changed. How to get the resolution back to normal? Also instructions aren’t clear for the permanent fix. What file to I have to open to edit?

  45. Thank you for the tip. I had this issue after upgrading Ubuntu from 18x to 20x and tried your fix but unfortunately it didn’t fix my Ubuntu running on VMware Workstation 15x. I am posting this in case it might help someone else. While Ubuntu is powered off > go to VMware Workstation > Virtual Machine Settings > Display > 3D graphics > uncheck “Accelerate 3D graphics” > OK > boot Ubuntu.

  46. Thank you so so so much

  47. I have a Dell XPS 15 and had the black screen problem. Your nomodeset solution fixed that but I am now operating at lower resolution. I was wondering if it was significant that when I start up using the Ubuntu 20 USB boot disk and use the try option I am in higher resolution all the way.

  48. I have my pc in which ubuntu 18.04 is installed and when i upgrade my ubuntu to 20.something version then it stuck on black screen . When i close my pc and again open it then it shows ubuntu 18.04 on the black screen. when I press “esc” key then it shows-> “A start job is running for hold until boot process finishes up (20min 40 s / no limit) ”
    and this is showing from past 20 minutes and nothing will happen . Will anyone please help me how I am successfully able to open. I am stuck and by this I am very tensed.

  49. Thank you, it works on UEFI

  50. I have upgraded ubuntu from 18 to 20 and having the same problem that after boot the system it is showing a black screen, unable to see the login screen just get displayed ubuntu logo at the bottom of the screen and that set a black screen.

    I have gone through your above answer and have done all these steps, and also have upgraded the grub configuration file. Still having the same problem.
    Can you please suggest me anything different for it. I’m unable to detect the root cause for this.

  51. I did these steps. No luck. However, I noticed that my computer is NOT hung. It merely shows a blank screen. If I carefully type a password, I can log in and the screen works perfectly. So it appears that whatever displays the login program is failing to display the login screens contents properly.

  52. Thank you. While the machine was in the blank screen state, I was able to ssh in from another machine. I made the edit to “grub” you suggested, update-grub, and reboot, and the screen stays.

    Low resolution, but good enough to get back to work.

  53. Worked for me in Lubuntu 20.04. Thank you.

  54. Dear sir, I upgraded from ubuntu 16 to ubuntu 18, I had a black screen. So followed the steps indicated by adding nomodeset to the grub so it looks like: quiet splash $vt_handoff.. but the problem persists

    any suggestion

    Thanks in advance

  55. this was brilliant, thx. you’re the only one who mentioned the ESC key (which is what i needed). though the first time i kept tapping and ran right past the grub menu.

  56. Hey Michael,

    Glad I was able to help!


  57. Hi, mine says “ro quiet splash nomodeset” already and when I try to change it to just nomodeset or to just “no splash” it remains in the black screen once I press crtl x. Can you help? Thanks

  58. It sounds like you’re having a different issue. I’d recommend looking at your logs to find out what’s causing it.

  59. After doing this, it throughs revalidation error, I installed ubuntu thrice but I can’t resolve this problem.
    I always end up on a blank screen when I first boot the pc and then when I restart it, it works fine but I have to choose the ubuntu option from the black grub menu.
    is there any solution for resolving this issue

  60. Hi Gourav,

    I think your issue is unrelated to this post. You might have to google the symptoms to find a resolution. Sorry the post couldn’t help!


  61. Second stage doesn’t work for me.
    2. Once GRUB is open, press the “e” key to edit the first highlighted entry “Ubuntu”.

    I installed Ubuntu 20.04 to my new laptop. Installation went well, until I press “restart/reboot”. I got into black screen.

    Lenovo-Legion 5P
    CPU: intel core i7-10875H CPU 2.30GHz
    GPU: nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Bios Version: EFCN38WW
    GNU Grub version: 2.04

    What should I do ?
    Thank you

  62. Sounds like a different issue. I’ve heard of issues with laptops with hybrid graphics. Someone mentioned changing a graphics setting in the BIOS fixed their issue.

    I’d recommend checking that.

  63. Thanks a lot.

  64. Hi, i got this black screen issue with my server setup (ubuntu 16.04). I managed to get in to the GRUB but not sure how should i proceed. I don’t understand 2nd step and how to get to editing part. I can type in commands, so i expect that i need to type in some command. Running GNU GRUB version 2.02^beta2-36ubuntu3.28

  65. Hi Chris,

    If you’re talking about step 2 for the permanent fix, and you don’t have a GUI, you can use nano or vi as a text editor.


  66. After following the temporary fix section my ubuntu didn’t boot but a command promped did appeared.
    Then I followed the permanent fix instructions and the system booted perfectly!
    Thank you so much for this guid! I thaught I lost my ubuntu system for good because other guids did not help.
    Thanks alot!

  67. Hi,

    Thanks for the article. I could not edit the GRUB (Step2). The ‘e’ option is not working for me. My laptop is HP 14dg1039wm. ‘

    Once GRUB is open, press the “e” key to edit the first highlighted entry “Ubuntu”. Can you please help.

    Thanks in advance.

  68. Thanks a lot it solved my issue with permanent fix! [using hp laptop after upgrade to ubuntu 20 i faced this issue]

  69. after installing kodi my ubuntu 21.04 has black and white i access everything but black and white

  70. It worked! Thank you so much 🙂

    I directly followed the permanent fix (Terminal mode + modifying the grub file with vi)

    Had this problem while installing linux-oem-osp1 to solve my “No Wi-Fi adapter found” problem on Ubuntu 18.04.

  71. had problem with my acer swift 3 , followed these steps and boom, now its working flawlessly

  72. Thanks for the tip, this worked for me on following combination:
    – OS: 20.04 LTS

  73. Thank you!

  74. Stephen, thank you soooooo much! I’ve been going round and round with getting ubuntu installed on several different computers, and running into tons of issues. I settled for the HP Pavilion gaming laptop and ran into this blank cursor screen issue on start up. Your fix worked flawlessly! Thanks again, you rock!!

  75. Really worked, I was stuck and tensed as I was working on the lab computer. And live chat with Stephen Wagner eased the process

  76. Thank a lot, following your instructions, I fixed my eeepc Lubuntu boot.

  77. I need to help.. ii just install ubuntu and its frozen.

  78. I had the same issue with release 20.04 LTS black screen could be gotten past with temporary fix listed here but would revert to black screen after login. Running AMD RX 480 video card and AMD 3950x processor. Found that the issue was using a DVI cable to my older monitor. Used an HDMI cable out of the video card to a HDMI to DVI adapter for the monitor and the issue was resolved on boot and after login with no other changes. Hopefully this is helpful for someone else as I did not have issues with DVI out in bios screens or with Windows 10.

  79. I was trying to update Ubuntu 16.04 to Ubuntu 18.04, when I encounter the issue. The temporary fix worked for me. However, after that, it is not allowing me to login by rejecting my correct password. What should I do?

  80. Still a lot of frustration.

  81. Thank you so much !
    I have been searching for answers for 2 days !

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