Today I went to boot up the back up server I created from the Dell recently introduced only to discover that it wouldn’t boot. After hooking a monitor to it I discovered that BIOS had held it back because the time wasn’t set (the motherboard battery needs to be replaced), and after fixing that I let it run - only to discover that it would reach a point at which there was a blinking cursor for a short time, then the monitor displayed that there was no signal.

Research lead me to discover that other old Dells using onboard graphics seemed to have had the same problem, and I finally came across a reference to someone using an installer CD that had nomodeset as an option when they installed, resulting in a successful installation. Recognizing nomodeset as an option that could be appended to the kernel options on grub, I was able to access grub before it attempted to boot Ubuntu Server (if grub is configured not to show up before booting, hold shift throughout the booting) and adding nomodeset to the line starting linux /boot. The reason that it allowed the server to boot was because it prevented any modules that had to do with graphics from loading - and being a command line only environment that worked well. Having done this, I was able to boot into Ubuntu, where I was able to make the change permanent.

In order to add nomodeset to grub permanently, I had to edit /etc/default/grub and change the line beginning GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT to have nomodeset within the quotation marks at the end of that line. With this added, I ran update-grub to add this change into the actual grub configuration files.

These changes were all done in grub2 - the grub 1.5 version of this should be easy to implement with a little research about the configuration files of grub 1.5.