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error: file '/grub/i386-pc/normal.mod' not found.
grub rescue>

What can I do? I just sit and stare at it.

I found my old netbook (Dell Inspiron 1010) which I have not used for about four years. I replaced Windows XP with Ubuntu 12.10. I used my bootable USB drive. I installed and rebooted. I got the message that normal.mod is not found.

What should I do? Type exit, reboot, or quit? Should I re-install?


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2 Answers

Solved this on a machine this afternoon. It seems that one cause of this problem is the installer thinking that you have EFI secure boot, when you don't and therefore loading the incorrect GRUB files.

What you need to do is install GRUB 2. To do this you need to boot to the live instance, mount your root partition and install.

From a live instance, find the partition on which your root partition is loaded. GParted will tell you this, or you could use

sudo fdisk -l

Go for the partition in which ubuntu is installed.

Once you have your partition you need to mount it. Assuming the root partition is on /dev/sda5, that'd be:

sudo mount /dev/sda5 /mnt

Then install GRUB 2

sudo grub-install /dev/sda --root-directory=/mnt [use copy and paste for this one as there are some spaces that you need to get right.]

Assuming this is your problem, then you should just be able to reboot and everything will work fine.

Original solution for this was from here: http://ubuntujournal.blogspot.com/2012/11/fix-new-install-of-ubuntu-1210-wont-boot.html

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Didn't work for me. I have the same problem and I'm still looking for a solution. –  ExpatEgghead Nov 7 '13 at 12:58
Worked for me. Thank you –  zzeroo Dec 19 '13 at 7:14
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I didn't find that information on forums, so I want to share some information despite the fact that this question was asked a long time ago:

If you have a large (e.g. 1TB) partition with Ubuntu installed and you didn't allocate additional one for /boot/, it could be the reason of such errors. When GRUB starts, it uses biosdisk driver for reading normal drivers from the /boot/grub/ directory. Sometimes, this directory could be physically located on the hard drive somewhere after the maximum supported by biosdisk sector. The issue could appear, for example, after system upgrade. Also, I am always face that issue after fresh installation Ubuntu 13.10, but it could differ, as it depends on motherboard/bios.

You can check that using grub recovery - after setting correct PREFIX and ROOT, try to ls /boot - if you don't see anything, but can see files there when booting from live cd/flash drive - than you have the issue described above.

You can do different things to make system bootable, but the only way to avoid that issue in future (during dist-upgrades) is to put /boot directory on a separate small partition.

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protected by Community Jan 22 at 18:45

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