GRUB bootloader fails to install on harddrive!

Help with issues regarding installation of Debian

GRUB bootloader fails to install on harddrive!

Postby bepiyi6777 » 2020-03-03 22:08

I have an old Surface Pro 3 that I have been trying to install debian buster net-install on, but to no prevail. Everything goes smoothly until I reach the part were the GRUB is being installed. I have tried to partion my disc differently according to some research, as well as turning of secure boot etc. Nothing have worked so far. Wondering if anyone has any tips on possible solutions.
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Re: GRUB bootloader fails to install on harddrive!

Postby Chrisdb » 2020-03-04 08:52

I have an old Surface Pro 3 that I have been trying to install debian buster net-install on, but to no prevail.

http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=116724
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Re: GRUB bootloader fails to install on harddrive!

Postby p.H » 2020-03-04 11:45

Look for the exact error message in the installer logs. You can read the latest messages in the log console tty4, or the full log in /var/log/syslog in a shell console tty2 or tty3.
Press Ctrl+Alt+FN to switch to tty N.
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Re: GRUB bootloader fails to install on harddrive!

Postby bepiyi6777 » 2020-03-04 15:44

Hi, I have attached some media files and information of how I go through the installion, and when the error occurs. Hopefully it is helpful to determinating what I am doing wrong.

1. I download the net install .iso and flash it to a USB drive by using Rufus (see attached image).

2. I copy the needed firmware (wi-fi drivers) to the USB. (see attached image)

3. I boot into the USB drive and proceed with installation as normal (Language, location, locale, load extra firmware, connect to wi-fi, hostname, domain name, root password, full name of user, username, user password)

4. Until I reach the step were I need to partion the disks. Here I have tried different methods, but for this example I chose 'guided partioning, use entire disk'. (see attached images)

It then goes on and starts installing the base system. No issues yet. After it is done I am promted to configure the package manager and choose a mirror.

I then have to decide which software I would like to install, I chose none (I have tried with 'standard system utilities', I still get GRUB error). (see attached image)

Finally when starting to install the GRUB boot loader I get the following message. (see attached image)

NOTE: All images are available to download on the following link: https://www.swisstransfer.com/d/5eab1d0 ... 5d26eda8a7

Thank you for your time!
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Re: GRUB bootloader fails to install on harddrive!

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2020-03-04 17:59

You've ignored p.H's post, we need to know the errors from TTY4.

EDIT: and I think you need to use "DD" mode [sic] in Rufus, try that.
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Re: GRUB bootloader fails to install on harddrive!

Postby bepiyi6777 » 2020-03-04 19:00

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:You've ignored p.H's post, we need to know the errors from TTY4.

EDIT: and I think you need to use "DD" mode [sic] in Rufus, try that.


Okay thank you, I will give "DD" mode a try. I am not sure how to find the log. The shortcut key did not seem to work.


EDIT: I tried formatting using 'DD' but this leaves me with no place to put the additional firmware (the wi-fi drivers) which is neccessary for me to continue with the net install (do not have an ethernet port).
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Re: GRUB bootloader fails to install on harddrive!

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2020-03-04 19:25

bepiyi6777 wrote:I tried formatting using 'DD' but this leaves me with no place to put the additional firmware (the wi-fi drivers) which is neccessary for me to continue with the net install

Use one of the unofficial ISO images that already contain the non-free firmware.
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Re: GRUB bootloader fails to install on harddrive!

Postby bepiyi6777 » 2020-03-04 19:35

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:
bepiyi6777 wrote:I tried formatting using 'DD' but this leaves me with no place to put the additional firmware (the wi-fi drivers) which is neccessary for me to continue with the net install

Use one of the unofficial ISO images that already contain the non-free firmware.


That was my first thought as well, and I tried it, but it could not seem to find the firmware while installing.
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Re: GRUB bootloader fails to install on harddrive!

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2020-03-04 19:40

Did you use "DD" mode [sic] when transferring the non-free ISO image?

Not tried it myself but I think you can supply the firmware on a separate device: https://www.debian.org/releases/buster/ ... 04.en.html
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Re: GRUB bootloader fails to install on harddrive!

Postby bepiyi6777 » 2020-03-04 20:12

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:Did you use "DD" mode [sic] when transferring the non-free ISO image?

Not tried it myself but I think you can supply the firmware on a separate device: https://www.debian.org/releases/buster/ ... 04.en.html


Unfortunately I do not have any other available ports. Maybe I could partion the USB but I am not sure how that is done.

BTW I do not know if it matters, but the Surface came with Windows 8 (later upgraded to windows 10) and I then installed Deepin Desktop Enviroment and after that Raspbian. The harddrive has been formatted since and there are currently no OS installed.

EDIT: Yes, used "DD" mode for the non-free ISO.
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Re: GRUB bootloader fails to install on harddrive!

Postby p.H » 2020-03-05 09:55

It would be surprising that the installation process went that far if the ISO image was written the wrong way on the USB stick.

PS : still waiting for the detailed error message in the installer log.
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Re: GRUB bootloader fails to install on harddrive!

Postby bepiyi6777 » 2020-03-05 12:06

p.H wrote:It would be surprising that the installation process went that far if the ISO image was written the wrong way on the USB stick.

PS : still waiting for the detailed error message in the installer log.


I believe there is something wrong with were the GRUB bootloader is being installed, as if it is trying to install it on the wrong drive. I don't think the ISO image is necessarily written in the wrong way. That is why I tried different ways of partioning the disk. At one point (can't remember the exact configuration of the partioned disk) it asked me what kernel version I wanted to choose, but in the end I got the same error. I did not quite understand how I am supposed to get the installer error logs. I tried using the shortcut but it did not seem to work.
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Re: GRUB bootloader fails to install on harddrive!

Postby p.H » 2020-03-05 16:03

What do you mean by "shortcut" ? The keystrokes Ctrl+Alt+F2, F3 or F4 ?
If they do not work (they should), try the normal (text, non-graphical) install in the installer boot menu. Or select expert install and in the main menu you can select "run a shell" and examine /var/log/syslog.
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Re: GRUB bootloader fails to install on harddrive!

Postby bepiyi6777 » 2020-03-05 18:24

p.H wrote:What do you mean by "shortcut" ? The keystrokes Ctrl+Alt+F2, F3 or F4 ?
If they do not work (they should), try the normal (text, non-graphical) install in the installer boot menu. Or select expert install and in the main menu you can select "run a shell" and examine /var/log/syslog.


I now realized that you meant F4 keys etc, and not the Fn key. Unfortunately my keyboard lacks F4 keys etc.

I ran the normal install (again, as usually) and this time after the GRUB bootloader failed I went into the installer menu and chose 'Execute a shell'. I then typed the following '/var/log/syslog'. The return was a message that said 'Permission denied'. I tried using 'sudo' but got a message saying that it is an unknown command.

Before I entered the shell this message popped up (see image).

https://www.swisstransfer.com/d/4099ae6 ... 37a6f077a5
Last edited by bepiyi6777 on 2020-03-05 18:25, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: GRUB bootloader fails to install on harddrive!

Postby Deb-fan » 2020-03-05 18:25

Being able to find/google a specific error is always good stuff. Getting the feeling it's just something simple and/or silly being overlooked. Doesn't sound like you're-OP all that familiar with partitioning, though am not downloading mb's of files to see something like the layout on someone's hard drive. You're going for uefi/gpt install ? You don't have CSM thing enabled in system uefi or bios, you do have an Esp/EFI partition as the first partition on target drive and it's formatted fat32 ? Really would've helped giving folks a simple image of partitioning layout though.

Can always re-install grub after completing an install cause gnu/nix is awesome-sauce. Couple of best methods, a cool tiny util called supergrubdisk2 thing can detect and boot from disk tons of OS's in situations like bootloader issues and the big daddy, chroot from live session which can help fix all manner of borkage. Can easily install or repair bootloader problems with basic know-how and pokeage. :P Both are worth knowing about any way it goes. Still get the feeling it's something simple, lines of communication getting crossed here, leading to confusion etc.
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