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I have been struggling with a laptop of mine. I added Ubuntu to an old laptop that is used at my business, I already had Windows 10 installed and let Ubuntu's installer automatically install alongside Windows. I did not manage any of the install locations or paritions myself. The laptop has two hard drives, an SSD in the primary slot, and I replaced the disk drive with a HDD.

Now, the laptop will not boot to GRUB unless a USB drive is inserted. I have tried many different solutions for fixing this issue. I have recently tried automatic boot-repair on "Try Linux", and that did not solve the situation. I then decided to just start over from scratch and use a Windows boot USB, but when I try to boot from USB, the laptop just opens the GRUB and I am not able to access the USB.

I have included one of my logs from boot-repair for reference.

I am really lost on what to do to fix this issue.

https://pastebin.com/3Wz0gacY

  • Your grub was put on wrong disk, Boot installer USB, select Install, select Something else, confirm drive for bootloader installation, Select Ubuntu partition, (should be on same drive as bootloader), click Change, select Use as: Ext4..., Format and Mount point: /. confirm only Format box for this partition is checked, click Install now. Make sure your Windows partitions are not on the list of drives set for formatting. Proceed. – C.S.Cameron Feb 24 '19 at 6:13
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Normally this process - installing Ubuntu on top of Windows works perfectly. However, the boot disk fixer often - in my experience- messes it up. Furthermore Windows uses UEFI not MBR disks now, and so should you. Assuming Windows boots properly, you may still be able to get the MBR disk to work, but its going to be a little painful. I would delete everything you did with the Ubuntu install and get back to a stable Windows. If you can get Windows off the second disk, thats going to simplify a bit. Then I would carefully install Ubuntu on the second disk, and let the installer take care of putting Grub in the boot sector of the first disk.

The second disk can be wiped and installed UEFI by the Ubuntu installer.

Confused already? The best tool to manage your disks is gparted, which can do everything for disk structure, but needs Linux. So you need a bootable Linux stick, with gparted which runs as an X application. Gparted will show you disk structure and allow you to delete the new partitions, and expand any you wish to.

Warning Grub is notoriously finicky, so try to use the automatic tools once the disks are cleaned up and Windows is backed up. Oh yeah backing up Windows is also notoriously difficult, but there are two free USB-stick tools that absolutely will do a disk image backup- ActiveBoot for Windows ( the linux tools in it are crap) and clonezilla, which can do everything but make you breakfast. I've used both these tools for our 2000 strong fleet of windows devices.

Here's hoping it all. just. works. but if you take a disk image backup first, you'll be able to get back to point zero if things aren't what you want, and try again. I strongly advise this disk-image practice for taking the fear and frustration out of a messy job.

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