About 1/3 of the time that I boot my laptop, I get an error message that says

Error: Malformed file.
Press any key to continue...

I press a key, and then my computer boots up and I can't discern any negative effects.

It's kind of disconcerting, and does delay the boot process.

How do I resolve this error and ensure my system is stable?

  • Is that the only error message you get? If yes, any clues in /var/log/syslog or in /var/log/boot.log? – jobin May 28 '14 at 4:32
  • @Jobin, that's the only text on screen. I didn't see anything in either log that seemed related. However, /var/log/syslog is huge, so maybe I missed it. Is there a command I can run that would help refine a search for anything helpful? – Questioner May 28 '14 at 5:24

It is a bug in Grub, see Launchpad bug #1311247 - error: malformed file, press any key to continue. The upstream bug report is at bug #42134: loadenv.c – check_blocklists – algorithm for block overlap check is wrong. There does not seem to be a reliable workaround - you will just have to wait for it to be fixed.

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A lot of users have this problem, including myself.

Found a piece of text that solved the issue for me and hopefully others as well.

edit /etc/default/grub and add:

# If you want to enable the save default function, uncomment the following
# line, and set GRUB_DEFAULT to saved.

After saving the file update grub:

sudo update-grub

Re-start the computer and the issue might be gone :-)

Recently I found out that ACPI settings in the BIOS may also cause "malformed file" message during boot. My computer does not shut down completely and therefore I was messing around with the ACPI settings. It is interesting to see that this warning has multiple root causes

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I'm currently running Linux Mint 17 with 3.14.5-031405-lowlatency kernel. I installed this kernel to fix slow wireless issues.

I started noticing this same issue just a few days ago. I hit any key and it boots up fine.

The fix for me was to completely remove all of the old kernels (stock that came with Mint 17). I then performed a dist-upgrade, rebooted and am not getting the message any more.

I am not a linux guru so can't explain why this worked, just went on a hunch.

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