Cannot install GRUB because embedding isn`t supported

Help with issues regarding installation of Debian

Cannot install GRUB because embedding isn`t supported

Postby akka-vodol » 2017-08-18 17:07

I installed a debian/windows dual boot on my computer but the debian graphical installer was unable to install GRUB. I finished the installation without installing grub, then booted debian from a DVD and used chroot to install GRUB from therem as described over here : https://wiki.debian.org/GrubEFIReinstall. When I tried running GRUB install, it returned this error message :

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root@debian:/# grub-install /dev/sda                         
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.


I tried running grub-install with /dev/sda1 instead of /dev/sda, and I got this :

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root@debian:/# grub-install /dev/sda1
Installing for i386-pc platform.
grub-install: warning: File system `fat' doesn't support embedding.
grub-install: error: embedding is not possible, but this is required for cross-disk install.


My PC is EFI based. It has 2 hard drives, and my debian partitions are on the second one. I booted fro; the debian DVD in Legacy mode, because for some reason my PC won`t boot from DVDs or flash drives in UEFI boot mode.
akka-vodol
 
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Re: Cannot install GRUB because embedding isn`t supported

Postby Siernan » 2017-08-18 17:35

Regarding not booting from DVDs or USB drives in UEFI mode, is Fast Boot on in your firmware settings? If it is, it disables booting from media other than internal disks if I recall correctly.
Regards,
Siernan
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Re: Cannot install GRUB because embedding isn`t supported

Postby luvr » 2017-08-18 19:55

Just FYI, the "i386-pc" platform is the designation that GRUB uses to refer to an x86 BIOS computer.

The first error tries to explain that GRUB on a BIOS computer, when installing to a GPT disk, requires a BIOS Boot Partition, on which GRUB can dump its core code. (The BIOS Boot Partition takes the place of the empty space between the MBR and the first partition, used by GRUB on a traditional MBR-partitioned disk. On a GPT-partioned disk, the space immediately following the MBR holds the GPT--i.e, the GUID Partition Table--which GRUB, obviously, shouldn't overwrite).

The second error tells you that /dev/sda1 is a FAT partition, onto which GRUB cannot install itself. It's probably the EFI partition, which is supposed to be FAT.

So, because you had booted your computer in Legacy BIOS mode, GRUB attempted to install BIOS-mode boot support. However, this won't work on a boot disk that was set up to support Native UEFI mode. Thus, you will have to figure out a way to boot in UEFI mode in order to successfully install GRUB. Perhaps try what Siernan suggested.

One more thing: Since you say that your computer wouldn't boot the installation medium in UEFI mode, I guess that you were in Legacy BIOS mode while you installed Debian. That would explain why GRUB installation failed.
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Re: Cannot install GRUB because embedding isn`t supported

Postby akka-vodol » 2017-08-19 08:07

I was indeed booting in BIOS legacy mode. I'll keep looking for a way to boot debian (either my installation or a live CD) in EFI mode.

If that doesn't work, is it possible to have grub-install install an EFI boot even though it's booting in legacy mode ?
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Re: Cannot install GRUB because embedding isn`t supported

Postby luvr » 2017-08-19 14:39

akka-vodol wrote:If that doesn't work, is it possible to have grub-install install an EFI boot even though it's booting in legacy mode ?

Not sure, but might be possible with the "--target" parameter:
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grub-install --target=x86_64-efi --efi-directory=PATH_TO_EFI_SYSTEM_PARTITION

You will first have to make sure that the EFI System Partition is mounted on the specified path. (I suspect you could omit the "--efi-directory" parameter if the ESP is mounted on "/boot".) It could be that you will have to install the necessary Debian packages to provide GRUB UEFI support, given that your Debian install was done in Legacy BIOS mode.
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