I'm trying to fix a friend's computer. He uses Win7 and ubuntu 14.04 dual boot and ran "secure boot", which seems to have caused major damage: afterwards, GRUB wouldn't show up and the computer booted directly to windows. We tried to reinstall GRUB without success.

Here's what happens:

  1. I tried using boot-repair in a LiveSession without success (as nothing changed). I paste the output below.
  2. I tried to check hard drives using Gparted, but it gets stuck when searching for disks.
  3. I then tried to reinstall GRUB in terminal (following this guide: http://howtoubuntu.org/how-to-repair-restore-reinstall-grub-2-with-a-ubuntu-live-cd), but "sudo mount /dev/sda3 /mnt" wouldn't work as I have to specify the file format, and neither option (ext3, -ext4, -auto) seems to work
  4. Finally, the attempt to save the files accessing the ext4 partition from within windows (with ext2read and other programs) also failed, so it seems to me the whole partition is corrupt.

Now here's the output from boot-repair: http://paste.ubuntu.com/8229032

Any ideas? Thanks in advance

  • can you access the linux partition through live cd? Sep 5 '14 at 2:16
  • nope. or at least I wouldn't know how. partition doesn't show up, and I couldn't get it mounted with /mnt commands either. fdisk -l gives me what you can see at the end of the above posted link, sdb3 being the linux partition I guess. when trying to mount it, I get something like "you must specify the file system", which doesn't work with either -ext4, -ext3, nor -auto Sep 5 '14 at 4:37
  • it seems the secure boot is at fault , have you tried to disable the secure boot then fix grub using boot-repair ? Microsoft link Sep 5 '14 at 10:44

I think you are trying to fix the wrong issue.

You can get a bootable Ubuntu with Secure Boot enabled even if it is not detected (caused by non-standard UEFI firmware behavior) or you somehow lost the EFI binaries on the EFI system partition.

Have a look at: How to use the Linux Foundation's PreLoader?

Sadly almost no one cares about getting Secure Boot to work properly. If boot-repair fails it has to be an evil Microsoft, the reptilians or some other conspiracy.

  • ok, before trying to do that, I have two basic questions: 1., what options do I have to backup the files on the linux partition? Is there a way to get to them? and 2. when you suggest to copy preloader to /efi/boot..., I have no idea where I should do that (i.e. where to find these directories) - or booting into preloader will give me that option? thanks! Sep 5 '14 at 14:45
  • @eskararriba No, no, we are talking about the EFI System Partition (ESP) in this case, hence the `` path delimiters. Copying or zipping files would be sufficient. Your question referred to Secure Boot, so there should be an ESP and a GPT partition table. Don't follow these instructions if that is not the case.
    – LiveWireBT
    Sep 5 '14 at 14:54

Well, you can try a few tools if you have spare discs around(not sure if live usb's would work). I've had issues with this many times, make sure your BIOS is also set to boot from the right place (some more advanced ones will even let you choose the OS.) Also make sure you're NOT using UEFI if possible. It causes more issues with live CDs and Linux than I think it adds features. Linux also works better with Legacy when possible(I found that out the hard way). Some tools that you can try are

Gparted Magic Live CD: A free Open Source (I think) version of Parted Magic. Also useful for partition related issues, recovery stuff, diagnostics (hardware and software) and a few other things.

Hiren's Boot CD: Lot of features in this. A lot of what the above contains, but more variety. I'd still recommend getting both for future use if you have the spare discs. Note:Look hard for the download link, it's there, it just sorta looks like an add for whatever stupid reason they decided to do that...

Ultimate Boot CD: Can't remember what's on here, but it's mainly for recovery and boot issues. I know it's useful though.

Then there's the one most likely to fix your issues out of the ones shown.

Super Grub Disk 2 and Rescatux. The Super Grub Disk is basically a Live CD of Grub on steroids, and Rescatux is extremely helpful for Grub issues, and even some Winderp$ repairs. Note:I can't seem to find where it says the two are bundled together, or any download links for them bundled together, but the copy I have does have them both. Do a bit of searching and you'll probably find the bundle. It's a REALLY good pair.

I might have a few more ideas if those fail. Hope it helps.

  • thanks bugattikid, we'll try this. although gparted that comes with the liveUSB is similar to gparted live CD, I think - and that one just crashes when it tries to find the partitions. supergrubdisk sounds promising, I'll post the results. thanks! Sep 5 '14 at 4:47

I had this same problem ; found this trying to find the solution - leaving the solution that finally worked for me in case someone else has my problem -

In your case, since gParted is freezing - could mean your HD finally gave up -

IN MY CASE - it was a BIOS update - and the BIOS reset the boot HDD boot priorities to favor Windows -

So a quick BIOS reconfiguration fixed the problem -

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