1

This question is similar to this other one in that I get the same result, however I am booting an apparently fine HDD.

For four days I have been booting Ubuntu 14.x on a very inexpensive laptop. I did a format and clean install on a WD Passport (will not buy again) external HDD. It works beautifully. I've just gotten home from traveling and I'm attempting to boot off the external drive on my desktop Win 8 machine. This is where the issues start.

In my boot options I can see the drive and select it to boot from. However, in my bios settings I cannot set it as a default boot option. I see only the other drives on the system. I have Both UEFI and Legacy set in my options. So, I cannot for the life of me figure what is wrong there.

If I manually select the external as my boot drive I get only a black screen with a white cursor as mentioned above. If I reboot from the thumb drive that is my installer I can successfully use the 'Try without installing' option'; that works fine. I am certain that it is not an integrity issue with the external dirve because I can see the files (in trial Ubuntu) and I can still boot the laptop off either.

TL;DR

Ubuntu external drive boots fine on laptop but not desktop.

Bios will allow manual boot of drive but it is not visible in default boot settings. UEFI and Legacy option is set.

External drive boots to black screen with white cursor. Nothing else.

Desktop will boot pen drive with "Trial Ubuntu" and installer just fine.

Laptop will still boot either.

I am using AMD and ATI hardware but the system will run trial Ubuntu fine and I cannot seem to get into grub anyway.

How can I get my external drive to boot successfully on my desktop?

EDIT

After talking to Xen2050 in the comments below I think that grub is either crashing or not running. This is my best guess due to the fact that after editing /etc/default/grub to always boot with nomodeset (on my laptop) I still can't boot past the black screen or access grub on the desktop. This is my current grub.cfg with a delay added (see comments) just in case that helps.

Could this still be a driver issue?

EDIT 2

I'm now attempting to boot with nomodeset, radeon.modeset=0', andgrub_gfxmode=1024x768x24`set in the defaults. I also attempted this from the working laptop. Still cannot boot or get into grub or tty.

  • I'm not sure if GRUB loads on the external drive, or it crashes, or if Ubuntu crashes. Is there a GRUB menu the external drive will stop/pause at before booting Ubuntu? And any kernel/boot options on by default, that may not be working on the Desktop? Maybe need one, like nomodeset? – Xen2050 Jan 30 '15 at 8:13
  • @Xen2050 I keep seeing nomodeset but I don't underhand how to view to try it if I can't find grub. If I hold shift after selecting my external drive in the bios I still get the Bossk screen. Additionally trial Ubuntu boots fine. – BrassApparatus Jan 30 '15 at 8:25
  • I know the trial / live / ISO ubuntu's will pause for a while, and if you press any key there are menu's where you can select "troubleshooting" options like that. If the live/trial boots good, then maybe there's a specific video or hardware driver for the laptop that doesn't work with the desktop? And if you can get to the GRUB config file on the hard drive (usually /grub/grub.cfg) you could look for or add a set timeout=60 line? That might make it wait for a minute before automatically booting? May be other options there, I'm not sure – Xen2050 Jan 30 '15 at 8:38
  • @Xen2050 Using set timeout=60 isn't working. At least not where I'm entering it. I'm attempting to get it to boot with nomodeset on the laptop. – BrassApparatus Jan 30 '15 at 9:25
  • hmm... apparently from the GRUB manual (from info grub) setting the timeout=-1 should make it "wait indefinitely". But maybe GRUB itself is in a funny graphics mode too, I'm not sure what that line might be in the grub.cfg file, maybe gfxmode-something... I'm not a GRUB expert, but maybe pasting the grub.cfg file could help/ – Xen2050 Jan 30 '15 at 9:36
0

That is a lot of lines in that grub.cfg, I use a real basic one for my multiboot USB's, pretty much a set timeout & set default & a few menuentry's...

I tried cutting away all the graphics-related stuff, and functions too, and was left with what might work as a no-frills grub.cfg to try out (keep the original as a backup, though it is pasted to that github website I'd do a mv on the original anyway):

set timeout=-1


if [ x"${feature_menuentry_id}" = xy ]; then
menuentry_id_option="--id"
else
menuentry_id_option=""
fi

export menuentry_id_option 

menuentry 'Ubuntu' --class ubuntu --class gnu-linux --class gnu --class os $menuentry_id_option 'gnulinux-simple-5165d33f-4b1c-41e9-9ca9-e1c831348abc' {



insmod gzio
insmod part_msdos
insmod ext2
set root='hd0,msdos1'
if [ x$feature_platform_search_hint = xy ]; then
search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root --hint-bios=hd0,msdos1 --hint-efi=hd0,msdos1 --hint-baremetal=ahci0,msdos1 5165d33f-4b1c-41e9-9ca9-e1c831348abc
else
search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root 5165d33f-4b1c-41e9-9ca9-e1c831348abc
fi
linux /boot/vmlinuz-3.16.0-29-generic root=UUID=5165d33f-4b1c-41e9-9ca9-e1c831348abc ro quiet splash 
initrd /boot/initrd.img-3.16.0-29-generic
}
submenu 'Advanced options for Ubuntu' $menuentry_id_option 'gnulinux-advanced-5165d33f-4b1c-41e9-9ca9-e1c831348abc' {
menuentry 'Ubuntu, with Linux 3.16.0-29-generic' --class ubuntu --class gnu-linux --class gnu --class os $menuentry_id_option 'gnulinux-3.16.0-29-generic-advanced-5165d33f-4b1c-41e9-9ca9-e1c831348abc' {



insmod gzio
insmod part_msdos
insmod ext2
set root='hd0,msdos1'
if [ x$feature_platform_search_hint = xy ]; then
search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root --hint-bios=hd0,msdos1 --hint-efi=hd0,msdos1 --hint-baremetal=ahci0,msdos1 5165d33f-4b1c-41e9-9ca9-e1c831348abc
else
search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root 5165d33f-4b1c-41e9-9ca9-e1c831348abc
fi
echo 'Loading Linux 3.16.0-29-generic ...'
linux /boot/vmlinuz-3.16.0-29-generic root=UUID=5165d33f-4b1c-41e9-9ca9-e1c831348abc ro quiet splash 
echo 'Loading initial ramdisk ...'
initrd /boot/initrd.img-3.16.0-29-generic
}
menuentry 'Ubuntu, with Linux 3.16.0-29-generic (recovery mode)' --class ubuntu --class gnu-linux --class gnu --class os $menuentry_id_option 'gnulinux-3.16.0-29-generic-recovery-5165d33f-4b1c-41e9-9ca9-e1c831348abc' {


insmod gzio
insmod part_msdos
insmod ext2
set root='hd0,msdos1'
if [ x$feature_platform_search_hint = xy ]; then
search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root --hint-bios=hd0,msdos1 --hint-efi=hd0,msdos1 --hint-baremetal=ahci0,msdos1 5165d33f-4b1c-41e9-9ca9-e1c831348abc
else
search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root 5165d33f-4b1c-41e9-9ca9-e1c831348abc
fi
echo 'Loading Linux 3.16.0-29-generic ...'
linux /boot/vmlinuz-3.16.0-29-generic root=UUID=5165d33f-4b1c-41e9-9ca9-e1c831348abc ro recovery nomodeset
echo 'Loading initial ramdisk ...'
initrd /boot/initrd.img-3.16.0-29-generic
}
menuentry 'Ubuntu, with Linux 3.16.0-23-generic' --class ubuntu --class gnu-linux --class gnu --class os $menuentry_id_option 'gnulinux-3.16.0-23-generic-advanced-5165d33f-4b1c-41e9-9ca9-e1c831348abc' {



insmod gzio
insmod part_msdos
insmod ext2
set root='hd0,msdos1'
if [ x$feature_platform_search_hint = xy ]; then
search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root --hint-bios=hd0,msdos1 --hint-efi=hd0,msdos1 --hint-baremetal=ahci0,msdos1 5165d33f-4b1c-41e9-9ca9-e1c831348abc
else
search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root 5165d33f-4b1c-41e9-9ca9-e1c831348abc
fi
echo 'Loading Linux 3.16.0-23-generic ...'
linux /boot/vmlinuz-3.16.0-23-generic root=UUID=5165d33f-4b1c-41e9-9ca9-e1c831348abc ro quiet splash 
echo 'Loading initial ramdisk ...'
initrd /boot/initrd.img-3.16.0-23-generic
}
menuentry 'Ubuntu, with Linux 3.16.0-23-generic (recovery mode)' --class ubuntu --class gnu-linux --class gnu --class os $menuentry_id_option 'gnulinux-3.16.0-23-generic-recovery-5165d33f-4b1c-41e9-9ca9-e1c831348abc' {


insmod gzio
insmod part_msdos
insmod ext2
set root='hd0,msdos1'
if [ x$feature_platform_search_hint = xy ]; then
search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root --hint-bios=hd0,msdos1 --hint-efi=hd0,msdos1 --hint-baremetal=ahci0,msdos1 5165d33f-4b1c-41e9-9ca9-e1c831348abc
else
search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root 5165d33f-4b1c-41e9-9ca9-e1c831348abc
fi
echo 'Loading Linux 3.16.0-23-generic ...'
linux /boot/vmlinuz-3.16.0-23-generic root=UUID=5165d33f-4b1c-41e9-9ca9-e1c831348abc ro recovery nomodeset
echo 'Loading initial ramdisk ...'
initrd /boot/initrd.img-3.16.0-23-generic
}
}

### END /etc/grub.d/10_linux ###

### BEGIN /etc/grub.d/20_linux_xen ###

### END /etc/grub.d/20_linux_xen ###

### BEGIN /etc/grub.d/20_memtest86+ ###
menuentry 'Memory test (memtest86+)' {
insmod part_msdos
insmod ext2
set root='hd0,msdos1'
if [ x$feature_platform_search_hint = xy ]; then
search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root --hint-bios=hd0,msdos1 --hint-efi=hd0,msdos1 --hint-baremetal=ahci0,msdos1 5165d33f-4b1c-41e9-9ca9-e1c831348abc
else
search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root 5165d33f-4b1c-41e9-9ca9-e1c831348abc
fi
knetbsd /boot/memtest86+.elf
}
menuentry 'Memory test (memtest86+, serial console 115200)' {
insmod part_msdos
insmod ext2
set root='hd0,msdos1'
if [ x$feature_platform_search_hint = xy ]; then
search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root --hint-bios=hd0,msdos1 --hint-efi=hd0,msdos1 --hint-baremetal=ahci0,msdos1 5165d33f-4b1c-41e9-9ca9-e1c831348abc
else
search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root 5165d33f-4b1c-41e9-9ca9-e1c831348abc
fi
linux16 /boot/memtest86+.bin console=ttyS0,115200n8
} 

That might be able to at least get GRUB to display something...

  • Booting with nodmodeset by default and the modified file you gave me still doesn't work on the desktop. Still can't get to grub. Laptop apparently will boot anything at all because it's working fine. – BrassApparatus Jan 30 '15 at 21:20
  • Not sure, could try removing everything except a plain menuentry... but maybe barking up the wrong tree... the UEFI & things like legacy &/or secure boot still causing troubles. Not sure why the live usb would work though... maybe it's grub could be copied/modified :-/ – Xen2050 Jan 31 '15 at 3:07
  • I went looking for its grub but couldn't find it. I'll try the menu entry thing. – BrassApparatus Jan 31 '15 at 4:23
  • IIRecall, the live iso's might've used syslinux or something a little different from regular GRUB actually :-\ – Xen2050 Jan 31 '15 at 4:54
0

It appears to me that I've answered my own question. After formatting the external drive and doing a clean install of 14.04 (as opposed to 14.10) I was still having the same problems. It would seem, after a great deal more reading on the subject, that either through my own sheer ignorance or mysterious dual UEFI Bios gremlins I managed to install a legacy-only version which will not boot in legacy mode with CMS... Twice. I'm now attempting an EFI-only install in the hopes that I won't have room for this same error. Either way, I think that closes this question. To future persons with this problem: the community page on UEFI is very useful.https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UEFI#Creating_an_EFI_partition

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