Whenever I boot Ubuntu 16.10, just before the Plymouth screen, I'm seeing this message:

No symbol table found. 
Press any key to continue...

and it remains there for a minute or so before showing me the log in screen. If I press any key it will be stuck for ever and I'll have to restart the computer.

Any help is appreciated..

  • 2
  • Found my particular problem in a Kubuntu forum in which a user reported his error--which I had repeated. He'd forgotten which of several hard drives he'd installed on. I followed the fdisk step here, but jumped at the indication which confirmed the drive I already had in my head. However, by the time I found my mistake, which I cannot confirm now, I had started a Hardcore Reinstall from DVD... Double-check the grub install if this you're seeing this error. – quagmire Sep 25 '18 at 22:55

Try this one, first from USB/Live CD (if you can't access Ubuntu from HDD), and then, or directly from your "HDD OS":

sudo fdisk -l

This will list all partitions on your HDD. Find under the Type section your root partition labelled Ubuntu or Linux and its Device (like /dev/sda).

Then, do

sudo grub-install /dev/sdX

Where sdX is the device you found with fdisk. Note that you install GRUB to a drive, not a partition, so sda would be correct while sda1 would be incorrect.

Finally, run

sudo update-grub
sudo reboot
  • 7
    I got this on an update from 16.04 LTS to 18.04 LTS; the steps you outlined eliminated the problem. Thanks! – Alex May 26 '18 at 20:21
  • This also fixed one of my issues on updating to 18.04. Thanks – aocall Jun 15 '18 at 19:26
  • Also had 18.04 upgrade problem. This didn't work for me, I ended up re-installing 18.04 over the old install. – dfrankow Jul 7 '18 at 4:33
  • 1
    Doesn't work for me in 18.04 (upgraded from 16.04). As it seems to work after I press any key, I'm not going to do a clean install. But a solution would be nice! – James Bradbury Oct 8 '18 at 20:00
  • I installed my secondary hard drive with these steps after updating from 16.04 LTS to 18.04 LTS and it resolved the error. Thanks – embe May 5 at 7:31

I also got this when trying to update from 16.04 LTS to 18.04 LTS. However, when trying the sudo grub-install command as mentioned I get:

Installing for i386-pc platform.
grub-install: error: failed to get canonical path of '/cow'.

But by following these instructions instead I solved my problem:

How to Repair, Restore, or Reinstall Grub 2 with a Ubuntu Live CD or USB

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