Posts Tagged ‘hardware failure’

How to disable PC Spaker on Debian and Ubuntu Linux

Sunday, May 13th, 2012


How to disable pc-speaker on Linux / PC-Speaker Old Desktop Computer picture

A PC Speaker is helpful as it could be used as a tool for diagnosing system hardware failures (different systems produce different beep sequences depending on the machine BIOS type).
Using the instructions for the respective BIOS vendor and version one could determine the type of problem experienced by a machine based on the sequence and frequency of sounds produced by the SPEAKER.
Lets say a hardware component on a server is down with no need for a monitor or screen to be attached you can say precisely if it is the hard drive, memory or fan malfunctioning…

Generally speaking historically embedded PC Speaker was inseparatable part of the Personal Computers, preceding the soundblasters, now this is changing but for compitability sake many comp equipment vendors still produce machines with pc-speaker in.
Some newer machines (mostly laptops) are factory produced with no PC-SPEAKER component anymore.
For those who don't know what is PC SPEAKER, it is a hardware device capable of emitting very simple short beep sounds at certain system occasions.

Talking about PC-Speaker, it reminds me of the old computer days, where we used pc-speakers to play music in DOS quite frequently.
It was wide practice across my friends and myself to use the pc-speaker to play Axel Folly and other mod files because we couldn't afford to pay 150$ for a sound cards. Playing a song over pc-speaker is quite a nice thing and it will be a nice thing if someone writes a program to be able to play songs on Linux via the pc-speaker for the sake of experiment.

As of time of writting, I don't know of any application capable of playing music files via the pc-speaker if one knows of something like this please, drop me a comment..

As long as it is used for hardware failure diagnosis the speaker is useful, however there are too many occasions where its just creating useless annoying sounds.
For instance whether one uses a GUI terminal or console typing commands and hits multiple times backspace to delete a mistyped command. The result is just irritating beeps, which could be quite disturbing for other people in the room (for example if you use Linux as Desktop in heterogeneous OS office).
When this "unplanned" glitchering beeps are experienced 100+ times a day you really want to break the computer, as well as your collegues are starting to get mad (if not using their headphones) 🙂

Hence you need sometimes to turn off the pc-speaker to save some nerves.

Here is how this is done on major Linux distros.

On Debian and most other distros, the PC SPEAKER is controlled by a kernel module, so to disable communication with the speaker you have to remove the kernel module.

On Debian and Fedora disabling pcspeaker is done with:

# modprobe -r pcspkr

Then to permanently disable load of the pcspkr module on system boot:

debian:~# echo 'blacklist pcspkr' >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

On Ubuntu to disable load on boot /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist, file should be used:

ubuntu:~# echo 'blacklist pcspkr' >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist
Well that's all folks …

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Cleaning Packard Bell Hera GL laptop running Windows XP from Viruses and Spyware (Viruses / Spyware which can make CD drive and Wireless seem unworking)

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Packard Bell Hera GL Fixing Broken RaLink Wireless

Yesterday, one (girl)friend of mine brought me one Packard Bell notebook, which had a 2 years old Windows installed on it.
As one can imagine Windows XP on it is full of Spyware and Viruses. Besides the software problems the notebook had some hardware problems with the CD / DVD which is not reading CD / DVDs at all.

Initially I thought, the CD unable to read problems are caused by the infected Windows, however even restarting the PC with a bootable Hirens BootCD and a Whoppix liveCD and trying to boot from it failed this convinced me its a CD / DVD combo drive hardware failure.

By the way, I’ve just recently found out about Nixory – Is a nice Free Software Open Source AntiSpyware tool for Firefox, IE and Chrome.

Nixory Windows XP Screenshot

I hope it will get a sharp development and soon, when some friend asks me to fix his stupid non free-Windows PC, I would not have to use a trial version of Malware Bytes but directly use only Nixory

Anyways after using Nixory, MalwareBytes and Avira and thoroughfully scanned the system in Safe Mode and found and deleted some 15 Spyware / Viruses and tampered a bit with the Wireless Driver settings all the notebook devices started working fine again.

The wireless had also one really odd problem on this Packard BellHera GL, even though the notebook wireless antenna was capable of detecting all the wireless networks it couldn’t properly connect to any of it but failed to get proper IP addresses.
Partially the unable to grab an IP via wireless router dhcp server got fixed by using the Wireless restart Button (located on the Notebook corpus).
However even after cleaning up the Virus and Spyware the Wireless Networks connectivity problems on this Packard Bell continued, until I changed also few settings in the Control PanelI never thought Viruses / Spyware infected can have some bad impact on Wireless Card and CD drive make them unsusable though they showed like working correctly in Windows Control Panel -> System ??

In the meantime I reinstalled the Wireless Driver for the notebook, the Wireless card on the notebook was showing up itself under the name of Ralink 802.11n Wireless Lan Card in Windows Device Manager

After re-installing the wireless driver I had to also change few settings for the Wireless Network Connection using the menus Properties -> Configure -> Extended; therein everywhere for each Value I make it be Enable and for Power Saving Mode , I’ve choose the Value option of CAM

After a system reboot, everything started working finally fine. One last thing to add is that before I fixed the Ralink wireless to work under Windows, I tried to use a Bootable Linux LiveCD but even there the wireless was failing to connect to the wireless networks (maybe this shit wireless device has some issues with its Linux drivers).

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