[syslinux] Syslinux Text menu not redrawing/resetting the screen

Bhasker C V bhasker at unixindia.com
Sun Jul 10 06:27:12 PDT 2016

On Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 11:46 AM, Ady Ady via Syslinux
<syslinux at zytor.com> wrote:
>> Hi,
>>  I have been using syslinux on my portable disk with success on many
>> types of machines  (both bios boot and EFI boot)
>>  I however hit a small issue recently
>>  If I use menu.c32, on some UEFI systems (HP) the menu does not appear
>> after the vendor splash screen. The system however goes ahead and
>> after the timeout configured in the menu system syslinux boots the
>> kernel. I can then (after kernel is loaded) see the kernel messages
>>  If I change menu.c32 to vesamenu.c32, the menu is now displayed.
>>  I think menu.c32 must reset the display which is missing ?
>> Is there a config line where I can explicitly reset the display so
>> that the text menu is shown compulsarily ?
>> Thanks
>> Bhasker C V
> UEFI tries to replace the traditional VGA BIOS standards with something
> else (UGA in some implementations, GOP in newer ones).
> My guess would be that your UEFI implementation doesn't completely /
> correctly support the default display mode for menu.c32.
> There might be some setting in your firmware, such as "fastboot" or
> some additional / similar names; have you tried disabling / changing
> their status?
The bios/firmware does not at present show any  secure boot or similar
menu options.
> Is this HP model capable of booting in Legacy BIOS (CSM) mode, or only
> in UEFI mode? This might give us a clue about its video capabilities /
> support.
Legacy BIOS boot shows the menu properly. It is only the UEFI boot
which does not show the text menu
> What is the screen resolution being displayed when you are using
> vesamenu.c32? Do you also use a menu background image and/or the MENU
> RESOLUTION directive?
When I try a vesamenu.c32, the screen appears and the menu appears.
But any attempt to set
the MENU BACKGROUND leads to a black screen with brown menu. The menu
works but no-matter what I do, the
image does not get loaded. If someone has a working image, please can
then send me so that I can try it out directly
on my system.
I am also not sure how to find the screen resolution used.

> Have you tried updating your firmware?
> Are you able to boot to the Syslinux boot prompt instead of using a
> menu?
the boot prompt does not show up.
> Are you able to boot into a UEFI shell and then select syslinux.efi
> from it?
Yes. If I use UEFI boot from file or shell, the menu shows up properly.
> In the past we have seen some people from HP(E) posting in this
> Syslinux Mailing List, although I doubt they are following it. Their
> input / comments might be helpful, not only for this particular case
> but for others, and for improving both, the UEFI implementations in HP
> machines and (vesa)menu.c32 under UEFI.
> Regards,
> Ady.
> PS: MS requires 1024x768 32bpp as minimum GOP mode in WHQL. I would not
> be surprised if some UEFI Class 3 systems end up not supporting
> 640x480.
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