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I have an installation of Ubuntu 15.04 that has been working fine for some weeks. Today, my box locked up to the point I had to power it off in order to clear the error. When I did so, it stopped booting.

When booting, it comes up and displays a cursor and nothing else.

I tried following the advice here: http://ubuntuhandbook.org/index.php/2013/11/reinstall-grub-ubuntu-wont-boot/ but when I do so, it gives me this error:

Installing for i386-pc  platform.
grub-install: warning: this GPT partition label contains no BIOS Boot Partition; embedding won't be possible.
grub-install: warning: Embedding is not possible. GRUB can only be installed in this setup by using blocklists. However, blocklists are UNRELIABLE and their use is discouraged..
grub-install: error: will not proceed with blocklists.

Any advice as to what to try next?

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  • 1
    If you have a UEFI system it has two totally different ways to boot, UEFI and CSM. CSM - UEFI Compatibility Support Module (CSM), which emulates a BIOS mode If you boot in UEFI mode drive must be gpt partitioned and has an ESP - efi system partition. But you can boot in BIOS mode, but must install grub to the gpt's protective MBR and must have the bios_grub partition. You must have an UEFI system, and now are reinstalling grub in BIOS/Legacy/CSM mode without the bios_grub partition. If you want to convert to BIOS add the bios_grub partition. Or boot and reinstall grub in UEFI mode.
    – oldfred
    Sep 8 '15 at 18:14
  • This situation has happened to me after upgrading a working Debian PC. I'm at a total loss as to whether it's fixable. There's no space for mysterious extra partitions, and I'm stumped as to why they'd suddenly be necessary.
    – Boann
    Feb 18 '19 at 5:16
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Way too late to help you, but this might help someone else who, like me, landed on this page in search for a solution to this problem. A small partition has to be created on the disk and marked as a code EF02 "BIOS boot partition". Somewhere I read it should be 200MB, I only had room for a 1007.0 KiB one and it worked just the same.

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  • Thanks for this. I was getting this error on chroot and discovered my /boot partitions were just Linux and not BIOS. grub-intall no longer reporting errors now.
    – spyderdyne
    Jun 26 '17 at 1:05
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To solve the problem, I had to mark the first partition as "bios_grub" via gparted. This partition can be used for nothing else afterwards! It does not hold the boot image, but only the boot manager.

Before:

$ grub-install /dev/sdb
Installing for i386-pc platform.
grub-install: warning: this GPT partition label contains no BIOS Boot Partition; embedding won't be possible.
grub-install: error: embedding is not possible, but this is required for cross-disk install.

After:

$ grub-install /dev/sdb
Installing for i386-pc platform.
Installation finished. No error reported.
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  • Were you able to boot your OS after that? I was able to get grub installed the same way you show it there, but my computer is still not able to boot the OS
    – xabdax
    Jun 8 '21 at 20:28
  • yes, it did work after that.
    – cweiske
    Jun 9 '21 at 7:53
  • For me, VirtualBox crashes in the boot when doing this (Guru Meditation). Have not tested on real hardware.
    – Typewar
    Dec 18 '21 at 3:09

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