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After installing an update, my system no longer boots. I have full disk encryption (the one the installer sets up for you) enabled so it usually asks for the key only seconds after booting past GRUB. Now, it skips asking for the key, tries to load Gnome, and then goes to the screen pictured below. The system is a 64-bit System76 box running Ubuntu Gnome 13.04. This has happened to me once in the past however, on a Dell XPS 8300 64-bit running Ubuntu Gnome Remix 12.10. In that case I reinstalled the OS. However I want to actually fix the problem this time so I know how to handle it in the future. Also, it is extremely inconvenient to reinstall from scratch.

My suspicion is that something got screwed up in a config file in /boot such that it doesn't realize the disk is encrypted, but I didn't see anything when poking around in there. Do you have any ideas of how to fix it (besides re-installing the OS)??

enter image description here

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3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I got it fixed!!! For future generations so you don't have to go through the agonizing days and endless hours that I did:

Firstly, I was able to get the system to boot from the (initramfs) prompt by typing the following (I used this forum page as a crutch):

cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sda5 sda5_crypt
lvm vgchange -a y

This got my system to boot properly. Once booted, I modified /etc/crypttab to point to a different UUID than before. I picked the UUID from my /etc/fstab. Save the original UUID value. You will need it in a few steps. I then ran (from a terminal):

update-initramfs -k all -c

If you get a warning that looks like this or something similar:

WARNING: invalid line in /etc/crypttab

then go back to the beginning and instead of sda5_crypt, use what is in your crypttab.

I then rebooted. This time I got the prompt for the passphrase! But don't get too excited, because it didn't work. I entered the right password about 7 times and it rejected them all. It then went back to the (initramfs) prompt after about 90 seconds.

I repeated step one and got it booted again. I then restored the original UUID value to the crypttab, and reran step two. I then rebooted, and SUCCESS!

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accept your answer as the solution, so that question is marked as resolved. –  bkd.online Apr 27 '13 at 8:51
@bkd.online I can't until tomorrow. The system won't let me. I guess I don't have enough rep points... –  Freedom_Ben Apr 27 '13 at 17:32
Yes, you can't do it until one day, but its nothing related to rep. I guess its a general rule that one can't accept their own answer until one day passes, irrespective of rep points! –  bkd.online Apr 27 '13 at 19:52

With full-disk encryption an option in Ubuntu 14.04, I just wanted to point out how I solved this problem, since my initramfs terminal didn't allow me to use cryptsetup:

  1. Boot from a Live CD/USB (USB will be a lot faster.)
  2. Open a terminal and type the following:

    sudo -i

    cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sda5 sda5_crypt

    (do any lvm management you need here, I didn't need any.)

    mkdir /mnt/system

    mount /dev/mapper/ubuntu--vg-root /mnt/system

    mount /dev/sda2 /mnt/system/boot

    mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/system/boot/efi (May or may not be needed.)

    for i in /dev/pts /dev /proc /sys; do mount -B $i /mnt/system$i; done

    chroot /mnt/system

    update-initramfs -k all -c


    for i in /dev/pts /dev /proc /sys; do umount /mnt/system$i; done

    umount /mnt/system/boot/efi (If you have UEFI.)

    umount /mnt/system/boot

    umount /mnt/system

  3. Reboot and hope it works.
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Fix your grub via booting through a live-cd/live-usb. Refer this page for details of the process. Refer the section "via the LiveCD terminal" on the page.

Fixing the grub should fix any malformed file that you might have in grub configuration.

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Thanks for the tip. I tried all that you suggested but to no avail. I did just get it figured out though. It's pretty crazy... –  Freedom_Ben Apr 27 '13 at 4:04

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