Linux Tip | Troubleshooting Hardware Problems

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In this video, I talk about hardware problems and show you how to do a full reset of your machine.

1. If your desktop becomes unresponsive, hold down Alt+Ctrl+F1 or
2. Login with your user name and password.
3. Issue the command ‘sudo reboot’ or ‘sudo poweroff’

1. If the computer will not respond to keyboard input, Hold down the
power button for longer than five seconds.



  1. Thanks so much for this video. I was having a hard time getting my Linux Mint 17.3 laptops to SEE my windows 7 homegroup. I shut them down, pulled the batteries, waited and bingo both units could see it. So simple so effective.

  2. As a tech myself this is a really weird approach to resolve a driver issue. In his case I would ask them if it was working previously. If so I would have them restart the machine.

    I would then verify the firmware is correct inside hardware manager and a simple reinstall with a reboot should resolve the issue. If not then it's either incompatible or bad hardware.

    I liked the video regardless because it was sound advice but the connection to the email is what confused me.

  3. awesome video. i really enjoy the content here. just thought i would mention that some rare cases resetting your bios will work if a cold start does not do it. i have worked with pcs for years and have needed to do that on rare cases

  4. Joe I don't understand how to install to a USB drive. I don't want to create a live drive for testing. I know how to do that. I want to install for using it. Could you do a tutorial for that?

  5. Perfect timing!!
    Watching this video this morning let me solve a friend's no-boot issue just minutes ago LOL.
    I knew that some of the 5V circuitry was always hot (ethernet ports with status lights make it obvious) but this wasn't part of my troubleshooting routine before today. Thank you bunches!!

  6. Interesting. I had something similar happen last night. I have multiple distros (Shark, Peppermint 8, Mint 18.2) and Win 7 loaded on an HP Elitebook 8440. All installations had been working fine. I was then working on installing MX-16.1 on to a USB stick when Firefox would no longer recognize the internet. It saw the SSID of the router fine. I tried each of the other Linux distros on the HD and they all exhibited the same problem. The Win 7 installation, however worked fine, so I assume no problem with the router. When I tried using the hotspot on my Jetpack, everything was normal. I tried a different laptop (8470) with many distros and Win10 and they all worked fine.

    I can think of no explanation unless the kernel in Linux distros were not able to handle 5 ghz while Win 7 somehow was. (The router is a Comcast dual band router). Why they would all quit recognizing the Internet after working fine is a puzzle unless something happened to the wireless card that did not affect Win 7. But it must also be a hardware issue because everything worked fine with any Linux distro on two other machines (a Dell 6400 also). I plan on replacing the wireless card in the 8440. Do you think that will fix the problem?

    Thanks for the videos.

  7. Another good thing about toggling your power bar power switch to the off position after you shut down for the night, is that if you still run an operating system from a certain unnamed OS manufacturer, the unattended update Dumbassery is thwarted. Thanks for another excellent tutorial.

  8. Hiya Joe! Really quick question…

    Running Mint 18.2 on an Asus X555YA using a Logitech G602 usb wireless mouse… When I ran Mint 18.0 using the same mouse, everything worked PERFECTLY. I then upgraded to Mint 18.2 Sonya through the Update Manager and now, 9 out of 10 boots, I'll get an error of
    [XX.XXXXXX] USB 1.1-3 device descriptor read64, error -110
    (^^can't remember first set of numbers)

    I'm not sure WHAT is making it throw this error. Initially, I thought it was I had the USB 2.0 receiver in an USB 3.0 port, so I switched sides to the USB 2.0 ports, but I was still getting the error. I tried the Cold Reset as much as I could, since this laptop doesn't have a removable battery, but it didn't really work. Even powering the system on without the wireless mouse being on would throw the error.
    Any help would be AWESOME! Thanks in advance for a reply!

  9. Hey Joe, another avid subscriber looking for some assistance here; I got a Brother HL-1111 Laser printer that I just can't seem to get working with any Ubuntu based distro; I have tried on multiple Ubuntu/ Mint desktops and I encounter the same problem every time; The printer is recognized and proprietary drivers are available on the official repository. The driver installs just fine and the printer seems to work perfectly until you actually print which goes through but when the page comes it's mostly blank with a some random blots of blackened paper. I have tired to manually download and also tried to install the windows driver through wine but nothing works.

  10. Another excellent video, Joe. I appreciate the time and effort you put into your videos.
    I've been working in and around IT since 1975 and have used many operating systems from mainframes to micros and beyond, but always find I learn something from each and every one of your videos that I get to watch. Keep up the great work, and please ignore the trolls – they are by far in the minority, although they seem to be the most vocal.

    Regarding the difference between hardware and software, there's an old saying: "If you can kick it, it's hardware. If you can't, it's software." Anything in between (e.g ROMs) is firmware.

  11. This video is making me go into sleep mode LOL it is so boring for someone like me who already knows about this I wonder how many people are actually watching this video who are subscribed to his channel thinking this video is tedious why don't you show us more of Linux 18.2

  12. I will add my guess for the reason behind the cold reset and that is to let all remaining charges in the circuits to clear. Some of you might not know this but I'm sure Joe does and will correct me if I am in error. You are letting the capacitors release their charge. They are designed to build up a charge and at a certain point they will release it. They're found in most circuits and you will find plenty in power circuits. For example, the LED on the power supply for my Acer laptop will stay lit for a few seconds after I unplug it from the wall outlet and then fade off. That is the capacitors inside releasing their remaining stored current. So whenever you're working on a PC it's always wise to heed the advice of unplugging it and waiting a minute for the "chips" to clear. They mean the capacitors because they have to release their charge otherwise you could do damage to the circuits and get a nasty shock in the process.

  13. Nice little guide!
    1) Not only you unplug your machine from the power sources. You wait your minute and then you press the power button while a machine is disconnected from the power sources. This empties all the charges that might still remain on your machine (some say this eliminates the need for that one-minute wait).
    2) The experts in the matter explain why a proper File System (like BTRFS or ZFS) is considered to be way more robust "RAID" solution than the actual hardware RAID. You can search for this even here on youtube. Good thing that lots of such cards could be re-flashed to act as SAS SATA controllers.

  14. ghys relax all of you say microsoft die microsoft acount delete and all this of stuf,every os have his reasons and flexibility to specific thinks, linux is great for thinks like networking programming troublesooting and for a lot more thinks but microsoft has 95 % of personal computer in these days he runs softwares who did specific thinks more clearly and better tha free open source i use autocad,after effects and photoshop for almost a decade and i cant find open source softwares with the same functioalities,or i cant play call of duty in linux. but i have linux in my personal computer i have a deticade debian vpn server in my old pc and is great. dont compare forks with spoons

  15. Thank you so much Joe, for this video. I had a similar problem, back a few months ago and you also helped me out. I have been able, little by little to fix all my problems, the best advice is to search before buying a new laptop. Get hardware that is known to be compatible with Linux. My mistake on my part. Linux is simply awesome! Loving every moment, I have also deleted my Microsoft account this week. All because of people like you Joe, who help little nerds like me.

  16. Joe, a question. Does not having a battery in the laptop and removing the power cable after every shutdown affect in a negative way said laptop? (linux mint 17.3 64bit cinnamon)
    I never had an issue with it, but I would like to know if there is a possibility.

    P.S. Thank you for your nice videos. Trying to convince a foreign friend to move to mint and your videos are very helpful.

  17. Hi Joe!

    Can you please create a video that shows how to completely remove Mate desktop environment? I'am asking this question because, after I install latest ubuntu 17.04 unity I installed Mate desktop environment to check how its looks like. after playing with Mate desktop enviroment few hours, I thought to remove it and I did. most of the parts of MATE desktop environment got removed but login screen still exist even I switched to unity or gnome.

    I tried allmost all tutorials on internet regarding this issue. but non of them helped.

    Thanks 🙂

  18. Once upon a Domain network, 2 workstations kept failing to find the network, either one or the other wouldn't connect, re-imaged tested OK, next day same thing! This went on for a few days until we discovered that they both had the same MAC address on their NIC's, first one booted up worked other one missed out. Fortunately this could be changed in BIOS, solved but most unusual.

  19. I recently had a weird memory issue on my main laptop: After using Xubuntu for over a year, I want to switch to something more challenging, fun and customizable (void linux or arch linux, haven't decided yet). So in preparation to this, I wanted to do a hardware check, to see if my computer was still running fine. For this I used a tool integrated in my bios. After running the tests, my computer wouldn't turn on again and instead notify me that the RAM is bad. I wanted to check that twice and inserted the RAM into my other laptop, in which it worked fine. A little puzzled, I put the RAM back in my main laptop…and it worked…I have run the test multiple times in the next few weeks and everything was fine… I guess it was one of these random errors (I don't think there is error correcting RAM for laptops yet)

  20. I was also mulling about replacing the WiFi card, to be honest. Just before I made my mind, you replied and it fixed the problem. I didn't even think about a cold reboot, despite knowing how helpful it is. Well, hard lessons learned here. Thanks, Joe, for your help ! And thanks for all these tips here !! I'll take a printout of it for sure……

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