I am currently running an older distribution of Ubuntu. I attempted to create a live Windows USB drive and booted from my Ubuntu machine. When I attempted to boot back into Ubuntu I am greeted with "unknown filesystem" and I'm launched into the grub rescue.

I've tried locating the drive that contains my Linux distribution but when I "ls" I only see (hd0), (hd0,msdos5), and (hd0,msdos1). I have attempted to set the root and prefix of all of these drives and when I input the command "insmod normal" after "set prefix=('drive')/boot/grub I get the "unknown filestem" response.

I am very novice when it comes to Ubuntu and Linux so I apologize in advance if I'm simply missing something remedial and for the horrible formatting but I am at the end of my wits. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Possibly the same problem as the one here
    – Jakob45
    Feb 7, 2017 at 0:29

3 Answers 3


My first instinct with GRUB problems is to restore GRUB from a live CD/media. For this you will need some sort of live media with Ubuntu installed upon it.

  1. Boot into the live media

  2. Open a terminal

  3. Run the following commands, each line is a new command

    sudo apt-add-repository ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install -y boot-repair
  4. Follow the instructions in boot repair and Select 'recommended repair'
  5. Allow the repair to complete and then restart ensuring you remove your live media

For a more indepth explanation of boot repair see here

  • Thank you so much for your reply, but alas this didn't do the trick. I followed your instructions and was able to launch and complete the 'boot repair' which stated that the boot was repaired successfully. When I removed the live Ubuntu USB and rebooted I'm back to the grub rescue screen. Here is the paste of the process: paste2.org/EO8psW62 if it helps figure out what I'm doing wrong.
    – gurt
    Feb 7, 2017 at 1:31
  • @gurt your report looks a little odd in that there are no boot files listed and the linux partitions are not visible. Did you select encrypt your home folder when you installed Ubuntu? It might be helpful if you could edit your question to give as much information about what you did before the fault arose and what you expect to be installed on your machine.
    – Jakob45
    Feb 7, 2017 at 17:16
  • It may be possible to boot manually using your grub prompt to help sort this too. When grub rescue> appears enter set root=(hd0,4) then kernel /boot/vmlinuz then initrd /boot/initrd and finally boot this may allow you to manually direct grub to the required files and so initiate the boot process. This may make your problems easier to analyse and then fix
    – Jakob45
    Feb 7, 2017 at 17:33
  • what I was trying to do when this all happened was to boot from a Windows 10 live USB created on OS X. When I booted on my Ubuntu machine it caused my partition to disappear, or so I understand. I attempted to use TestDisk to recover the partition but I fear I have made things worse. I attempted to try your command of kernel /boot/vmlinuz but the grub gives me Unknown command 'kernel'.
    – gurt
    Feb 8, 2017 at 2:50
  • I agree with @heynnema we need to see a partition table I think to try and figure out what is going on. Fire up an ubuntu live disk and link a screen shot of your partition table into your question. Could you also clarify when you edit your question why you were booting a live windows USB.
    – Jakob45
    Feb 9, 2017 at 13:07

If you also have Windows 10 installed, did you just finish doing some Windows 10 updates?

If so, you've probably been hit with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update bug. It updates Windows 10, and wipes out Ubuntu (Linux) partitions.

You can try using testdisk to try and recover your missing partition. See http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Step_By_Step for information on how to use testdisk. You'll need to obtain a Ubuntu Live DVD/USB to run testdisk.

  • I voted up but my rep isn't high enough for it to count :/ I believe that testdisk will do the trick but I am having a hard time following along with the link you provided. I have testdisk installed but I don't know how to use it.
    – gurt
    Feb 7, 2017 at 1:48
  • @gurt In a terminal, type sudo testdisk. Select your disk, then follow along with the step-by-step. It's not easy, but a lot of newbie's have gotten the job done with it. It's nothing that I can walk you through from here.
    – heynnema
    Feb 7, 2017 at 2:01
  • Well I was able to run TestDisk on a live Ubuntu drive and I fear I have made things worse. TestDisk was able to locate my Linux partition and I followed along with the steps but after a reboot I get launched into grub rescue again. Now when I ls the return is only (hd0) (hd0, msdos1) did I put the final nail in my partition?
    – gurt
    Feb 8, 2017 at 2:53
  • @gurt edit your question to include a current-window-only screenshot of gparted and let me take a look.
    – heynnema
    Feb 8, 2017 at 15:11

This my help with some:

I got that message after install. I did a re-install after I removed all mounted drives (beware, those SD cards may be in their slot without you realising it) and all went OK.

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