Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Looks like my EeePC 901 is dying

A while ago I reported a keyboard problem in my EeePC 901 which miraculously cured itself without me having done anything.
After this I was able to get it set up to work extremely well and this blissful condition persevered for nearly three months.

Then about a week ago, strange symbols started appearing when typing in Ubuntu 11.04 (such as ^[[[B) and when booting (the most common during boot was OQ).
This escalated over a day or two to where it was impossible to boot any of the three Ubuntu-based OSes (Ubuntu, ZevenOS and LinuxMint) as the boot seemed to become overwhelmed by these symbols.
Amazingly Haiku (nightly r42825) was still bootable without problem. Nevertheless, it proved impossible to type anything.
Although, writing something in a terminal or StyledEdit showed no problem with any of the keyboard keys.
However, typing a password, where what's typed doesn't appear, proved impossible and always gave errors.
For example, I just couldn't scp to my MacBook because the typed password was never accepted.
It seems this was due to "hidden" symbols "contaminating" the typed password.

Nevertheless, deterioration continued as next, even getting to the grub boot menu became impossible.
First, booting the machine always showed the BIOS although I certainly never hit F2. However, getting out of BIOS was easy but what showed up next was

error: no such device: 57354d77-a10d-4ee0-988d-3fb2ad8a29e8
grub rescue>

So, looks like Grub is corrupted.

Then I tried booting to three different usb keys:
1) parted magic booted although, once again, many symbols (principally ^[[[B) showed during the boot.
While in Parted Magic, I tried to use grub-install to reinstall it in the mbr. However, this just produced errors.
2) Haiku nightly also booted although I still had the same problem typing passwords
3) Ubuntu 11.04 started to boot fine but always stopped short of showing the Desktop from where it was my intention to erase everything and clean-install Ubuntu as well as Grub to the mbr.

Other attempts to recover my machine included:
1) Reset as described here. Result was zero -- no change.
2) Attempted to remove keyboard as I'd seen that some keyboard problems may be resolved in this machine by ensuring the ribbon cable to the keyboard is retightened.However, I had tried this before and just like it didn't move on that occasion, it remained immobile this time too.

There seems to be very few options left to get this thing working, so tomorrow, I'll delete everything using Parted Magic and then try once again to install Ubuntu and Grub.
If that doesn't work I'll install Haiku.
Otherwise, have to start thinking about the funeral arrangements.

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