How To: Fix Black Screen with Nvidia drivers and Linux Kernel 3.10+

I’m running Arch Linux with a Nvidia graphics card, and after doing a system update back in March 2014 any kernel past 3.10.x would cause X / Xorg to fail to start; instead there’d be a black screen and the fans on the graphics card would spin up to full speed so my machine sounded like a hovercraft. I initially got around this by running the linux-lts (Long Term Support) kernel, until that too exhibited the exact same issue and I was forced to boot the system from USB, chroot into it and switch out the nvidia driver for nouveau (the open-open source, 2D accelerated nvidia driver).

However, as I happen to quite like accelerated 3D graphics and occasionally playing games, I’ve been digging around for a fix for this for ages – and it turns out that the fix (which is now added to the Arch Nvidia wiki page) is to add the following kernel parameter to your bootloader’s kernel line:

If you’re using GRUB, when menu shows up just move the selection to Arch or your Linux distro exhibiting the issue, then hit the e key to edit the line, and change the linux kernel loading line from, for example:

To include the rcutree kernel parameter, something like this:

At which point you can hit F10 (again, assuming you’re using GRUB) to boot using your newly added kernel parameters. Don’t worry if your kernel loading line identifies your partition by UUID value instead of plain ‘ol /dev/sdx – that’s fine and mine does too (I changed it to /dev/blah to make the line shorter) – just add the parameter and try your luck – hopefully your distro will now boot into X without issue, and you can stop swearing and cursing like a drunken sailor. Or perhaps that was just me.

Further reading about the issue on the nvidia development website:


P.S. If you need to chroot into your Arch system to change the drivers also, then here’s a quick run-down of the process. Make a bootable USB from the Arch ISO (I could only get this to work by using the dd command from another Linux distro – Rufus and UNetBootin would make a USB I couldn’t boot from – google or search this site for “dd iso usb” for instructions), then, when you’ve booted into the live USB/CD-ROM or what-not, run the following commands (the “<---- optional" lines are optional, don't actually enter that into your files, obviously!):

With any luck you'll have now transitioned the drivers successfully and have a fully working system - fingers crossed, good luck!

How To: Fix Wii Virtual Console Black Screen Problems

If you’ve tried some Wii Virtual Console stuff out and the game appears to start – you hear things happening, but there’s just a black screen, and if you pause the game using the Home button on the Wiimote you can see the game screen – this is the problem we’re talking about.

The reason for this is that you’re using Component cables (likely to connect your Wii to a LCD or Plasma TV) and for bizarre Virtual Console-y reasons, the game isn’t set to use, or doesn’t support, Wii Component Cable Interlace Mode. Some games do, some games don’t – you can find a list of Component Interlace Mode Compatible titles here.

The bad news is that if your game doesn’t support interlace mode, the only way you’re going to be able to play it Wii VC style is to use your composite cables.

The good news is that if your game does support interlace mode you can switch it over as follows:

– Pause the game by hitting the Home button on the Wiimote
– Go to the Operations Manual for the game
– Plug a Nunchuk into your Wiimote
– To enable Component Interlace mode, hold down: Z, A and the 2 button at the same time
– To disable Component Interlace mode, hold down: Z, A and the 1 button at the same time

If the game supports it, and you’ve done it right, you should hear a chime-type sound indicating the game has switched modes. Now just get out of the operations manual and unpause and you should be able to play away to your hearts content.

Update 2013: Another option, as pointed out by The Dude in the comments below is to change your Wii display settings from 480i to 480p. You might consider doing this anyway (if you haven’t already) to get the best picture quality as possible out of your Wii.