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[ubuntu] Fresh install boots to low-graphics mode, hangs on "Stopping System V runlevel"

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http://ubuntuforums.org – I'm prepping a new Samsung 840 Series SSD to replace my current laptop hard drive. It's connected via USB adapter. I successfully partitioned and clean installed 12.04 from live disk with d/l updates and third-party software sources. At the end of install I got a warning that some software did not install completely, so I'd have to fix it. The problem is the new drive boots to low-graphics mode. It can't find screen, graphics card, or input device settings and I can't get a command prompt. I've found solutions to install a new graphics driver, but I've never needed to do so for previous (Hardware)