Debian 10.2.0 won't boot after Dell I4 install - Fixed

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Debian 10.2.0 won't boot after Dell I4 install - Fixed

Postby morse_the_horse » 2020-01-23 15:08

I downloaded and installed the latest stable release (DVD with firmware) for amd64 and successfully installed it to a laptop. Then I tried installing it to a Windows 10 Dell I4. Installation went fine with no problems. I did select Yes to the question about making a copy f the EFI boot loader. However, the new system won't boot either with Legacy Boot rom or with EFI boot using disabled secure boot. Says there are no boot devices.

I could find virtually no info on the I4 running Debian or Ubuntu but did find some issues relating to disk device names. It's a PCIe disk so I assume that's why it is not /dev/sda

All tests below are from running the Rescue.

I was able to mount the root partition /dev/mmcblk0p1.
I tried reinstalling grub to /dev/mmcblk0 and it gave me no errors. Still would not boot.
I checked "dpkg -l | grep grub" and it showed the grub-PC which info on the web indicates is for legacy boot.
Devices shown are:
/dev/mmcblk0
/dev/mmcblk0boot0
/dev/mmcblk0boot1
/dev/mmcblk0p1
/dev/mmcblk0p2
/dev/mmcblk0p5 ---- note this is swap partition per fstab

ran grub-mkdevicemap. /boor/grub/devices.map shows "(hd1) /dev/dsk/by-id/mmc-[deleted]

Update: I tried installing (for test purposes only) Ubuntu 18.04 and it had the same problem - would not boot.
Last edited by morse_the_horse on 2020-02-04 21:28, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Debian 10.2.0 won't boot after Dell I4 install

Postby stevepusser » 2020-01-23 23:40

Please provide the exact model of the Dell, as well as much detailed hardware information as you can. Note that Debian 10 won't boot to a GUI on many of the most recent machines, including Intel 10th generation integrated graphics and the most recent Ryzen graphics.

Some machines may require you change the mode that it uses to access the hard drive in the UEFI setup. But you can test that by trying a Debian or other distro's Live session.
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Re: Debian 10.2.0 won't boot after Dell I4 install

Postby morse_the_horse » 2020-01-24 00:36

stevepusser wrote:Please provide the exact model of the Dell, as well as much detailed hardware information as you can. Note that Debian 10 won't boot to a GUI on many of the most recent machines, including Intel 10th generation integrated graphics and the most recent Ryzen graphics.

Some machines may require you change the mode that it uses to access the hard drive in the UEFI setup. But you can test that by trying a Debian or other distro's Live session.


It is a Dell Inspiron I4. A low-end box. No fancy hardware. No advanced cpu or graphics.

It is not a matter of booting to a GUI. The hardware says there is no bootable media. Note that with the USB CD attached, it boots the Debian Live and Ubuntu Live - and the Ubuntu boots to it's GUI. From the Disk, no boot at all. The machine cost my buddy about $150 total NEW including Windows. Win 10 wouldn't update because there was insufficient room on the 32GB drive. More than enough room for Linux. I don't even think it sees the GRUB loader. Would make a perfect portable Linux laptop if I could get it to boot.

The disk looked fine with all the files and programs and directories. I can open a terminal window and mount the hard drive as the root drive using the Rescue option in Debian Live and in Ubuntu live, I can run gparted and everything looks okay on the hard disk. Reinstalling grub gives no error.

I suspect there is a protected boot area that the Windows 10 used that grub is not getting to. Witness the two device files mentioned in my original posting: /dev/mmcblk0boot0 and /dev/mmcblk0boot1. I have never seen anything like that.

I used to have a bootable CD that had a program that searched for bootable systems and would boot them without restarting the hardware but I don't have it and cannot remember the name. That i think would quickly tell me if the system is really bootable except for the fact that the BIOS cannot find GRUB booter or if the grub boot just doesn't work with disks named 'mmcblk" instead of "sd". I could possibly create symbolic links from the sd files to the mmcblk files and change the grub files to point to the sd naes but I'm not sure that is even sensible.
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Re: Debian 10.2.0 won't boot after Dell I4 install

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2020-01-24 16:14

morse_the_horse wrote:Win 10 wouldn't update because there was insufficient room on the 32GB drive

lol

morse_the_horse wrote:I could possibly create symbolic links from the sd files to the mmcblk files and change the grub files to point to the sd naes but I'm not sure that is even sensible.

No, it isn't. I don't think the drive type is the problem but IIRC some machines require that devices be marked "trusted" from the firmware options for them to be bootable without Win10.
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Re: Debian 10.2.0 won't boot after Dell I4 install - Fixed

Postby morse_the_horse » 2020-01-28 17:58

Found the fix. I had to force the BIOS to use UEFI only and totally reinstall Debian.Then Debian overwrote the UEFI information and would boot correctly.
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