I installed Ubuntu 14.10 in VirtualBox with UEFI. But now I have rebooted this OS and now it boots into a UEFI Interactive Shell v2.0. How can I boot normally into Grub again?

  • Good news everyone, with VirtualBox 5.1 the workarounds aren't needed anymore. You might just have to add a new EFI entry (manual using efibootmgr or automatically by reinstalling grub) so it boots Ubuntu right away again.
    – phk
    Jul 16, 2016 at 14:17
  • 2
    Even with 5.1, changes to efi variables, like the required boot setting with efibootmgr are lost after shutdown (they stay on reboot though).
    – chappjc
    Dec 21, 2016 at 7:21
  • 1
    5.1.30 it still exist. Even though the fix is easy, but I have to fix every time after installing debian & ubuntu.
    – CallMeLaNN
    Nov 26, 2017 at 11:41

13 Answers 13


I encountered the same problem and found that if I issue following command in the interactive shell, the virtual machine would boot into Ubuntu:


(Use backslash, forward slash does not work. Commands in UEFI interactive shell are case insensitive.)

My VirtualBox version is 4.3.20 r96997, Ubuntu version is 14.10 AMD64. I do not know why this happens and how to solve it. Just found this not elegant and still a little bit troublesome workaround.

Update 1:

I read this, tracked down to a bug report and found a better workaround.

Update 2:

Workaround in Update 1 failed. I turned off the virtual machine, launched it. And it booted into UEFI Interactive shell again. According to this, the problem was probably cause by a VirtualBox bug. I am still looking for further solution to this.

Update 3:

Finally found an solution. According to this, you need to create a startup.nsh script manually. Except for the method in mentioned post, you can also do this:

$ sudo mount /dev/sda1 /mnt
$ cd /mnt
$ sudo sh -c "echo '\EFI\ubuntu\grubx64.efi' > startup.nsh"
  • 3
    "It is currently not possible to manipulate EFI variables from within a running guest" The solution in your second update to move whatever bootloader you want to use on the ESP to \EFI\boot\bootx64.efi sounds like the better solution to me than wasting 5 soconds wating for startup.nsh. Note: You can press F12 during boot or enter exit on the EFI shell to access the firmware settings and modify all kinds of things, including the terminal resolution, but these modification are not stored permanently.
    – LiveWireBT
    Jul 21, 2015 at 14:12
  • After issuing the command in the interactive shell you can install refind to fix EFI
    – Eduardo
    Aug 5, 2017 at 22:06
  • 1
    Good to know that it is a bug. Simply edit startup.nsh. +1 It is looking for \EFI\boot\bootx64.efi to skip the 5sec.
    – CallMeLaNN
    Nov 26, 2017 at 11:44
  • 1
    Copy and rename \EFI\ubuntu\shimx64.efi to \EFI\boot\bootx64.efi is the best. credit
    – CallMeLaNN
    Nov 26, 2017 at 18:46
  • Update 3 did it for me....
    – cljk
    Mar 26, 2018 at 8:18

I had the same problem (with the EFI enabled because I couldn't get it to run otherwise). Strange; although installation of Ubuntu 14.04.2 got no error, installing Kubuntu 15.04 failed to finalize. It froze at the very end when asked to remove DVD. After reset, it booted fine but after power down it brought up shell.

So, to avoid shell type:

edit startup.nsh

and on the opened window add these 2 lines:


press Ctrl + s and Enter to save and Ctrl + q to quit. Then restart VM.

Alternatively, you can always use these 2 lines to exit shell and boot OS. But second time you restart you will be in a shell again and to avoid it edit startup.nsh.

  • Typing the command does work but the problem is that on next restart it again goes to that shell and file startup.nsh does not seem to be saved. Aug 1, 2016 at 12:50
  • To save the startup.nsh file you need to use Ctrl+S to save and press Enter to write to file.
    – Willoczy
    Oct 15, 2016 at 18:01
  • 2
    In case you aren't using Ubuntu, you can figure out the correct path for your machine using ls in the UEFI shell. E.g. ls FS0:\EFI, then ls FS0:\EFI\redhat, to learn the path is FS0:\EFI\redhat\grub.efi on CentOS.
    – ntc2
    Feb 13, 2018 at 0:31
  • 1
    @ntc2 Thanks, that was exactly what I was looking for! For my Slackware installation it was FS0:\EFI\Slackware\elilo.efi.
    – fabiomaia
    Feb 20, 2018 at 9:52

Another option is to un-check the Extended Features option called 'Enable EFI' under 'Motherboard' for your VM.

Had this issue come up for Gnome Ubuntu 12.04.2 amd64bit installation.

Discovered this after having to change settings for hardware acceleration. I was left with having VT-x/AMD-V, Nested Paging enabled. My VM has 2 CPUs, 8GB RAM for reference.

After un-checking the issue is completely by-passed Gnome Ubuntu boots up no issues. Running Virtual Box 4.3.18 r96516 on Windows 7 64-bit Host.

  • 1
    This only works because Grub also had legacy support (MBR). Aug 16, 2016 at 10:47

Copy grubx64.efi to /EFI/boot/bootx64.EFI
VirtualBox use that bootx64.efi to boot.
Ref.: Archlinux Virtualbox wiki


I recently encountered this problem. Please check your virtual OS settings. Right click on virtual os-> system->Extended features-> Enable EFI(uncheck this). enter image description here

  • 8
    How is this is a solution if one wants to use UEFI?
    – zygimantus
    Oct 20, 2016 at 20:41
  • +1: This solved my problem. I had experimentally checked Enable EFI and forgot about it.
    – wallyk
    Mar 4, 2019 at 14:41
  • if i disable that option after that it's not able to find bootable medium, even manually also it didn't worked Apr 5, 2020 at 17:33

I could solve this issue by changing the cdrom device within virtualbox from IDE to SATA. I removed the standard mapping of the virtual cdrom drive within the device configuration.

Simply add a cdrom device to the existing SATA Controller which is to be used for your installation media.

Et voila, no further problems with EFI.


for this you need to write it like the following:

cd EFI
cd ubuntu

this is how i got it to work if you write it any other way it wont work.


Another work around:

In the uefi shell, boot temporarily in to ubuntu using:

cd EFI
cd ubuntu

Then, inside ubuntu, edit startup.nsh file like below:

Open terminal Ctrl+Alt+T.


sudo nano /boot/efi/startup.nsh

Enter your password.

Now delete all that is in there using del or backspace key.

Then type this exactly: (FS0- that is the numeral 0, not the alphabet O)


Now press Ctrl+O (That is alphabet O).

Then, Alt+D (To change text to msdos format).

Then press Enter.

Then Ctrl+X.

Now reboot.

sudo reboot

Everything should be fine now.


Using Ubuntu 16.04.4 with EFI enabled and while starting the virtual machine I found that it won't boot and just stay in the EFI interactive shell.

This is how I fixed the boot:

First, I found that the grubx64.efi is located in BLK2, so for a one time boot I just typed the following in the interactive shell:


And viola, Ubuntu is up and running.

I order to permanently fix this issue, once the system was up I echoed the following line into /boot/efi/startup.nsh.

sudo echo 'BLK2:/EFI/ubuntu/grubx64.efi' > /boot/efi/startup.nsh

That's it, the system will boot correctly.


For ArchLinux on Virtualbox, following did the trick for me. On EFI Shell enter the following

Shell> bcfg boot add 0 FS0:\EFI\GRUB\grubx64.efi "GRUB"

Here we are setting the EFI boot order. I assume this works for any other Linux guests as well having EFI boot. Note: Your directory structure might differ. You can do ls on EFI prompt to check your directory structure to reach grubx64.efi after entering FS0: and hit enter.

Hope this helps!


After installing Kubuntu15.10 in VirtualBox5 with UEFI, the reboot of the VM fails.

Adding the line

in the UEFI-Shell doesn't help.

And the solution with creating a new startup.nsh file in Kubuntu15.10 in the chroot environment with

sudo echo '\EFI\ubuntu\grubx64.efi' > startup.nsh 
gives also no improvement.

I found the solution:

The problem was, that the directory /boot/efi/EFI/ubuntu with the file grubx64.efi doesn't exist.

After booting a Live-CD and changing to the chroot environment, I installed the missing packets and create the needed NVRAM entry with:

sudo apt-get install grub-efi-amd64-signed shim-signed
sudo update-grub

On some linux guests , install process does not update the efi boot order. It depends on the distro version and virtualbox/efi version. This issue had affected, for example, Debian in early 2020 . The solutions are:

1.manualy run efibootmgr https://linux.die.net/man/8/efibootmgr

  1. fix efi boot order. For that, type first "exit" in efi shell, after vm start

For defining or change of efi boot directory need to first run this command. This solved my problem.

sudo grub-install /dev/sda --target=x86_64-efi --efi-directory=/boot/efi/

NOTE: /dev/sda is the system hard disk.

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