I'm trying to install Ubuntu 19.04 on my ThinkPad T420. I would like to install the server edition, so I can configure a custom GUI. I don't want GNOME, and I don't want the trouble of manually purging it from the desktop edition.

The problem is that a fresh 19.04 server installation doesn't boot. Yet, a fresh 19.04 desktop installation boots perfectly.

Setup steps:

  1. On my Macbook Pro, I downloaded the standard 19.04 server & desktop .iso files from the Ubuntu home page.

  2. I downloaded coreutils via brew install coreutils to obtain gdd, then ran the following command to produce a bootable USB.

    sudo gdd if=./ubuntu-19.04-live-server-amd64.iso of=/dev/disk2 bs=4M conv=fdatasync status=progress

    I ensured that /dev/disk2 and all of its partitions were unmounted prior to the command, if that means anything.

    Also, I used the same command when trying the desktop installation, but with the desktop .iso of course.

  3. I inserted the USB into my ThinkPad, chose to boot from it, then proceeded with a very regular installation process. I used the entire internal drive for the installation, and I chose the guided partitoning step in both the server & desktop installations, which created one 1MB grub partition and one 298GB ext4 partition mounted at /. This was the same in both the server & desktop installations.

  4. I finished the installation process, removed the USB drive, then pressed ENTER. The system rebooted. At this point in the server installation process, it could not boot. Even if I manually selected to boot from the drive that it was installed to, it would not boot. Yet, for the desktop installation, it booted just fine automatically.

It's puzzling to me that the server installation cannot boot, but the desktop installation can.

Additionally, I've been able to successfully install Ubuntu 18.04 via the minimal .iso available here. I believe that installation is even more barebones than the 18.04 server installation, so I'm surprised that I'm having issues with a server installation.


There is defininitely something wrong with the 18.04.02 and possibly newer server install iso's. After installing 18.04.02 and saying use the q whole dies, the Thinkpad T420 won't boot and the BIOS keeps coming back to ask which device you want to boot from.

I got around the problem by installing the 16.04.3 64 bit servber ISO and the doing a do-release-upgrade. Ubuntu people: please fix this problem!


On my T420, I simply changed boot options to "both UEFI and bios" and was able to boot Ubuntu server on it.

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