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I've been using and enjoying eOS on a 2007 MacBook for about a month now, but as the fans often run at full speed for simply having a single HTML5 YouTube tab open in Firefox, I found myself scouring the web last night in search of potential optimisation solutions. I installed what I thought to be a missing proprietary graphics driver from Intel (as well as the colour profile from another Mac, but that's definitely unrelated), but upon an eventual restart my trackpad and keyboard suddenly stopped working. Everything loads as normal and the system is responsive - I'm even able to enter my encryption password with the keyboard -, but no amount of interaction with the keyboard or mouse gets me anywhere once eOS is fully active.

In such a situation, my first instinct is to boot into some sort of recovery or safe mode to troubleshoot, but all that gets me is GRUB, which as a novice is completely bewildering, with nothing more than "grub>" being displayed. I've no prior experience with this, so I enter "help" and get a bunch of commands I don't understand, and even my computer-engineer dad is stumped.

I know I want to boot to a recovery mode, but I've found no easy guide online and have no idea how to get there from here, so... Where do I go from here?

Thanks in advance

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I have a 2007 MacBook3,1 myself. I’m afraid you’re probably expecting too much from a machine that Apple decided was obsolete way back in 2012 when macOS 10.8 Mountain Lion came out. It was stuck on 10.7 Lion and getting pretty useless as far as current web browser support. It’s kind of a miracle that it still works as well as it does. It only has the basic Intel integrated graphics so it’s unlikely we can get more performance by looking for different drivers. Try watching YouTube at a lower bitrate instead, like 480p or even 360p. It doesn’t really make that much noticeable difference with most video content but it will drastically decrease the work the GPU has to do.

That being said, are you aware that you can upgrade the MacBook3,1 all the way to 10.11 El Capitan? It actually works surprisingly well. But I don’t think it works any better with heavy video content than eOS does. Probably even worse actually, because full graphics acceleration isn’t working yet in the patched El Cap. The installer patcher is at https://github.com/rmc-team/osx-patcher in case you want to check it out. It’s at least a lot more useful with El Cap than with Lion, and its fun to dual boot El Cap with eOS to compare them on the same hardware.

Also if you are missing the Mac-style keyboard shortcuts in eOS try to look up a new project called Kinto. You’ll find it by googling rbreaves-kinto. It’s not perfect but it’s progressing well.

With my still limited knowledge of Linux here is what I would try to fix your problem. Let the desktop start up, then try to access another tty “console” using the function keys. How you do this seems to vary a bit between distros, but usually it’s either Ctrl+Alt+F1 (or F2, F4, F4, up to F7) or just Alt+F1. Since you’re on a MacBook, you will probably need to use the “Fn” function key to actually activate the function keys.

If this works you get a black screen with a text login prompt, where you can log in and try to troubleshoot.

If you can’t get to another console because the keyboard is truly unresponsive, you’ll have to boot from some kind of live Linux media like the USB stick you may have used to install eOS in the first place. Of course then you’d have to figure out how to mount your encrypted drive partition. It shouldn’t be too difficult but I’ve never done it.

If you did get to another text console you can do a couple of different things. One is you can try to uninstall the package that installed the Intel driver you thought you needed. If you can’t recall the exact package name you can try “sudo apt search packagename” (use some relevant word like “intel” instead of “packagename” obviously) and then when you find it you can try “sudo apt remove packagename”. Then if it’s successfully removed, do “sudo reboot”. See if the desktop comes back after the reboot and the keyboard and mouse work again.

If that didn’t get the keyboard back, the next thing I would try is removing the configuration file that tells the graphical interface what driver to use. Using the same procedure from above to get to a text console, type this:

sudo mv /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.broken

This just renames the xorg.conf file to xorg.conf.broken.

If for some reason you ever want to put it back, just reverse the file names or make a copy like this:

sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf.broken /etc/X11/xorg.conf

But don’t do that right now.

The current Xorg server can supposedly auto-configure itself in the event that there is no xorg.conf file found. To see if removing the xorg.conf file will let it fix itself, do “sudo reboot” again.

If that still didn’t work, you will need more expert help than I can provide, or you may need to try reinstalling eOS. That should be possible without destroying your data, as long as you can manage to mount your encrypted drive. But again, I’ve never really done that.

Another possible solution, after uninstalling the extra Intel package and removing xorg.conf, is running “X -configure”. I’ve tried that on other machines and Linux distros without much luck, but maybe it will build a new working xorg.conf for you.

Good luck.

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