Backtrack 5 is out! Do you get a kernel panic when you startx? The FIX is here!

by on May.18, 2011, under Hardware, Security, Tutorials, Whining

So, being someone who used Backtrack daily for my career, I routinely make sure I’m current with Backtrack.  So Backtrack 5 is out, I went and grabbed x64 KDE version, backedup up my PSKL directory on BT4R2, and blew it away…

First thing, startx didn’t load from the DVD until I removed some cache files…
rm /root/.kde/cache-root/icon-cache.kcache
rm /root/.kde/cache-root/plasma_theme_Volatile.kcache
rm /root/.kde/cache-bt/icon-cache.kcache
rm /root/.kde/cache-bt/plasma_theme_Volatile.kcache

So finally startx loaded and I was able to use the graphical installer to install it to my hard drive on my laptop.

When I rebooted, I did startx, and got a kernel panic (blinking caps lock light).   So I’m like, “M’kay, x64 kde is borked…” so I grabbed x64 gnome, repeat process, same things, x32 gnome, repeat process, same thing.  ok, it’s NOT borked, I’m just not doing it right.

so I searched and searched, found nothing immediately useful.  (I could bore the heck out of anyone with some of the searches I did to get at this one…)

Finally, I found this kernel parameter: i915.modeset=1

they should rename that to “setbrokentofixed=1”

So, put that at the end of your GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT in your /etc/default/grub and update-grub!

Boom, I appended that and now startx works and I can enjoy the BT5 goodness…   Now I just gotta configure my metasploit account on there and put my pskl directory back with all out awesome scripts.

Enjoy BackTrack 5!

Update (June 15th 2011): Talking with a few others, including the great comments here, you might need this like in your /etc/default/grub
Alternative line from Daveonator:
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=”text splash vga=791 i915.modeset=1″
then update-grub.

Try it, and let us know.

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22 Comments for this entry

  • Daveonator

    Awesome post! Saved me a ton of work, like you I tried KDE and moved to Gnome. I’m now writing you from the install of BT5 you helped me with. 🙂

    I only had to do one more thing to make this work on my HP630 laptop… remove the no mode set argument. In the end my line looked like this:

    GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=”text splash vga=791 i915.modeset=1″

    Thank you again, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without you!!

    • Bill

      Excellent, I’m glad this helped you and I’m glad you shared your fix as well. Hopefully, this will get “auto fixed” in the future, however, until then, I hope anyone else that runs into this will be able to find these posts pretty quick.

  • Setsuna

    Same kernel panic problem (blinking caps lock light).
    But your solution doesn’t work for me…
    I’m desperate…

  • help

    im a first timer in linux can u guide me step-by-step? i tried everything from 32 to 64 bit gnome to kde still having the same problem. please a step by step code T_T

  • Whiskey

    You saved me big time, thanks a lot. Now, to find out why the sound doesn’t work. 🙁

  • robert

    no sound in my backtrack5 kde?
    tried the usr/bin/pulseaudio trick and it did not work?
    any ideas?

  • greyspider

    Thanks i solve it using the “text splash vga=791 i915.modeset=1”

  • deuZige

    omg omg omg… thanks for this fix people! I first had to go through the process of solving that issue with the startx error (removing those cache folders from somewhere in something .root something to get bt5 to install to hd. Then i had to run the apt-get update/upgrade and upgrade-distro (or something) and than i found an even more irritating error: Blinking ledz and black screen!
    I’ve been at it with this bt5 kde since 22:00 and it’s now 04:15 am.

    Oddly now there’s another distro upgrade being pushed to my laptop. Kubuntu 10.10??

    Am i going to have more issues after that’s finished??

  • Monty Mole

    Thankyou. Fixed mine

  • Jack

    HEy i am new in backtrack can you explain me how i can save what i change in grub menu?

  • Jacob

    Man, you`re great! This fix probably saved me hours of work.
    And what`s funny I had to remove those cache files anyway…

  • van7hu-freenode

    sir, what about gnome 32-bit?

  • Richi

    why they dont fix the iso they uplaoding?

  • trib

    Getting the following when trying to run update-grub on live usb BT 5 R2:

    /usr/sbin/grub-probe: error: cannot find a device for / (is /dev/ mounted?).

  • Mike

    I’m getting the same issue as trib. Installed on a live USB using ‘Linux Live USB Creator’ and allowed for 1024MB of “persistence”. Tried both versions of the command line changes and both times received the “cannot find a device for…” error.

    Was excited to try BT5 but the way it’s looking I may be rolling back to my BT4 live usb… 🙁

  • Mike

    Ok… so after playing with it some I finally got it working:
    At the boot selection screen select Default-Text-Mode (1st option) and hit Tab. Change the end of the line to:
    text splash i915.modeset=1 vga=791

    Hit Enter. BT5 should start to load.

    I’ve successfully used this twice. It seems the i915.modeset=1 needs to be before vga=791 in my instance. Here’s my system info:

    Dell Vostro 3500
    Intel i5
    Integrated Intel Graphics
    BT 5 R2 32-bit

    Hope this helps anyone having the same problem.

  • Will

    I used Mike’s approach from above but I couldn’t get it to work until I changed it to:
    “quiet splash i915.modeset=1 vga=791”

    So I went into boot selection screen, hit tab on the first one and entered it in as above. Mine had “–” at the end. I removed that as well.

    After that I was able to get in and get it installed.

    Acer 5742
    Intel i5
    Integrated Intel Graphics
    BT5 R3 32-bit GNOME

  • Dave

    Annoyingly, startx works just fine when running under VirtualBox. After nuking my Ubuntu partition on my HP EliteBook and attempting to install BT5…I got a nasty crash with a total failure of graphics. Purple broken lines everywhere. Reminders of the Commordore 64 era 🙂

    Thanks to you guys I’ve stopped ripping my hair out.

    “…text splash i915.modeset=1 vga=791” FTW!

    Great stuff!!!

  • Chris

    Mike, you freaking rock! Worked like a charm :).

  • Kushal

    Hello, I am new to linux and recently downloaded BT5R3-GNOME-32.iso and checked md5sum also and its correct also. when I tried to run that iso in virtual box, first instead of backtrack screen, a isolinux:….came with black background. Then after giving link to kernel file by typing /casper/vmlinuz, after somewhat loading, it sticks at kernel panic…unable to mount…..unblock (2,0), with keyboard lights flashing. I tried it also by burning the iso into dvd, but same problem is there. Can you suggest anything for this problem..

  • blackball

    So I’m not getting a kernel panic anymore since changing the boot info (using a live CD of BT5R3 for Gnome 64), but once I startx, it just sits on a black screen. Anyone else running into this?

    Lenovo T410

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