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My Acer laptop (Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS) fails to boot with new kernels 5.0.0-23 and 5.0.0-25. It boots normally with the old kernel 4.18.0-25.

Kernel 5.0.0-23 was installed prior to rebooting on 8/6/19. Kernel 5.0.0-25 was installed today (8/13/19).

I had been periodically booting with kernel 4.18.0-25, running Software Updater, and seeing if that fixed the problem. It didn't. (I am currently using a different computer for most purposes.) Today Software Updater installed the newest kernel, 5.0.0-25. When I restarted the laptop after the update, booting failed in the same way as it did for 5.0.0-23.

Now I will keep the laptop disconnected from the Internet, and not allow any more updates until I find out how to prevent updates from removing old kernels. I don't want to lose 4.18.0-25. I expected it to be gone today after the update, since updates had been saving only one old kernel, but fortunately it is still there. (Three kernels are present.)

Here is a short description of the problem.

When I boot with kernel 5.0.0-23, the screen goes dark and the power light turns off about 20 seconds after I select Ubuntu from the Grub menu.

When I boot with kernel 5.0.0-23 in recovery mode, the same thing happens after about 80 seconds, which is well after the Recovery Menu appears. The Recovery Menu screen has a few boot messages scattered diagonally across it, and has some other display problems.

History: On Tuesday 8/6/19, Software Updater appeared, and told me that it had updates and that the computer needed to restart to finish installing previous updates. I selected "Remind Me Later" but went ahead and restarted the laptop, which failed when booting, as described above.

This is dual-boot with Windows 10. Windows boots normally. The Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS boot/install USB stick that I used for installing Ubuntu boots normally.

Acer Aspire 3 A315-51-361T (purchased new about a year ago)

Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS

Secure Boot is enabled

What might be causing this problem? And what should I do about it?

  • Use the 4.15 kernel, that will get updates till Ubuntu 18.04 EoL. – Pilot6 Aug 13 at 19:14
  • Or better yet, report a bug? – dobey Aug 13 at 19:33
  • Boot to 4.15 and in terminal type sudo dmidecode -s bios-version to get the current BIOS version. Then go to the Acer web site and see if there's a newer BIOS for your computer. Report back. – heynnema Aug 13 at 19:52
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    @heynnema I'm hesitant to update the BIOS. I've never done that. Linux has worked for me for almost 20 years without me having to do that. I also don't think I've ever had a time in all those years when Linux failed to boot. – bnjsfdls Aug 13 at 20:21
  • @Pilot6 Thanks. I'll look into that. I need to find out more about installing old kernels. – bnjsfdls Aug 13 at 20:28
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From the comments...

I strongly suspect that your problem booting with the 5.x.x kernels is due to you possibly having an older BIOS that needs updating.

Boot to the 4.18.0-25 kernel, and in the terminal type sudo dmidecode -s bios-version to get the current BIOS version. Then go to the Acer web site and see if there's a newer BIOS for your computer.

Until we hear back from @bnjsfdls we'll never know what version BIOS they have now.

According to https://www.acer.com/ac/en/GB/content/support-product/7210?b=1 BIOS 1.14, released 3/29/2019 is the current version.

Update #1:

The user has reported that their current BIOS is version 1.05.

  • Both AMD & Intel based (Actually almost all CPUs) systems need updates: Systems need UEFI updates, anyway, for mitigation of Meltdown and Spectre CPU vulnerabilities from cpu speculative execution and caching. Ubuntu kernel & Windows have had updates for these issues, but new variants seem to be found so future updates may also be required. – oldfred Aug 13 at 21:54
  • @heynnema Thank you for the info. My laptop's BIOS is version 1.05. I might eventually try updating the BIOS. But before I risk bricking my laptop by doing that I'll need to find out more info about it, since I've never done it before and am not comfortable with it yet. I'll look into it some more. – bnjsfdls yesterday
  • @bnjsfdls Good for you. As always, it's a good idea to make good backups first. Assuming that it's done correctly, as per the manufacturer's instructions, BIOS updates are simple and quick... and hopefully it'll solve your boot problem. Report back. – heynnema yesterday
  • @bnjsfdls If you do the BIOS update, and it does solve the booting problem, please remember to return here and accept my answer. Thanks! – heynnema yesterday

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