[Solution not found but problem went away] Single boot: NTLD

Kernels & Hardware, configuring network, installing services

[Solution not found but problem went away] Single boot: NTLD

Postby Caitlin » 2020-08-01 06:10

I'm generally happy with my new computer, the Phoenix. But sometimes when I boot, I get the message "NTLDR not found, press any key to restart". If I do press the any key (I have about 100 of those), it then boots successfully. This message doesn't appear every time, and it hasn't stopped me from being able to boot -- yet.

This happens before GRUB gets control, so I expect this problem is fenestriphilia ("loves windows") in the BIOS. There is a fast boot option in the BIOS setup, but I've turned it off. I have a Fatality motherboard, with amd64 architecture.

A Google search has turned up a number of posts on this message, but they are all related to dual (or triple) boot systems. I began the title of this post with "single boot" because, even though I might install a virtualized second operating system later, right now my computer is a blank wall (no windows).

Does anyone know a way to make this message go away?

Caitlin
Last edited by Caitlin on 2020-09-04 09:12, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Single boot: NTLDR not found, press any key to restart

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2020-08-01 11:29

I presume this is a UEFI system so check the NVRAM boot entries:
Code: Select all
# efibootmgr -v

Perhaps you have a vestigial Windows entry.

Caitlin wrote:fenestriphilia

lol.
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Re: Single boot: NTLDR not found, press any key to restart

Postby Caitlin » 2020-08-02 00:17

Hi Head (may I call you head?)

After installing efibootmgr, I entered "efibootmgr -v" and got the message "EFI variables are not supported on this system". The package description for eifbootmgr recommended using "modprobe efivars" so I entered /sbin/modprobe efivars" and got the message "ERROR: could not insert 'efivars': No such device". Does that meant I DON'T have UEFI?

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Re: Single boot: NTLDR not found, press any key to restart

Postby Deb-fan » 2020-08-02 01:07

See stuff like https://askubuntu.com/questions/1111045 ... -uefi-mode

Ps, All over the place follows,

Reason for bringing that up you can confirm what mode Debian is installed or booting in, efi vs legacy, many uefi firmware allow someone to enable CSM = legacy support. As for the original thing, didn't know wth NTLDR even is so had to Google, what Head_on said makes sense. This is from your recent post history, is this the pc involved here?

So, I bought a tower case machine at a local computer shop (not a consumer electronics store) for about $450. (That was with a 1TB hard drive rather than a 256 GB SSD. I'm not so sure that was a good trade.) The proprietor built it himself out of components, so I was pretty sure it was generic


Who knows what all had been installed on it, though should've been wiped out when you installed Debian, at least would think. Though then again, its not like you nuked or zeroed the hdd out, so yeah could be lingering chuff left over on it. Would disable secure boot in system firmware or bios if its active, also as mentioned see if there's anything related to legacy/CSM present and finally, NO you cant call Head_on, simply Head, we refer to him as Mr. Head here! Often Hoas or the Hoasinator may be acceptable too. :P
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Re: Single boot: NTLDR not found, press any key to restart

Postby p.H » 2020-08-02 12:05

Caitlin wrote:But sometimes when I boot, I get the message "NTLDR not found, press any key to restart". If I do press any key, it then boots successfully.

It means that the BIOS booted the wrong disk first (which contains an old Windows boot sector on a FAT or NTFS partition). After failing to find ntldr, it tried to boot the other one (which contains GRUB). If the BIOS cannot consistently boot on the right disk, a workaround may be to remove the boot flag on that partition, or to install GRUB on that disk too.

To check, install boot-info-script, run bootinfoscript and examine/post the beginning of the report about boot sectors and partitions.

Caitlin wrote:A Google search has turned up a number of posts on this message, but they are all related to dual (or triple) boot systems. I began the title of this post with "single boot" because, even though I might install a virtualized second operating system later, right now my computer is a blank wall (no windows).

But it does have more that one disk, doesn't it ?
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Re: Single boot: NTLDR not found, press any key to restart

Postby Caitlin » 2020-08-02 14:03

I installed boot-info-script but couldn't get it to work. It couldn't find fdisk, although it's right there on /sbin. I tried a cd to /sbin before running the script, but that didn't help. I have ONE hard drive, new from the store, broken up into 6 partitions, with / on sda4. I seem to remember a boot flag on one of the partitions, but didn't pay it no mind, because GRUB is supposed to get control first and override that. I installed GRUB on the drive's MBR, not in a partition. (Sigh.)
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Re: Single boot: NTLDR not found, press any key to restart

Postby Deb-fan » 2020-08-02 14:18

Gotta do it 2 .. :P

Knew should've waded through that trainwreck partitioning/mount thread, nope absolutely not doing that. Op did you follow that link, did you run the one simple cmd mentioned in it ? Perhaps could be convinced to share the output if so? Ah no worries, never give up ..no retreat, no surrender!!! Keep plugging away and you'll figure it out in no time! :)
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Re: Single boot: NTLDR not found, press any key to restart

Postby p.H » 2020-08-02 14:38

Did you run bootinfoscript as root with the properly defined $PATH (e.g. with sudo or "su -", not "su" alone) ?

Caitlin wrote: I seem to remember a boot flag on one of the partitions, but didn't pay it no mind, because GRUB is supposed to get control first and override that

Correct, if GRUB is installed in the MBR.
Caitlin wrote: I installed GRUB on the drive's MBR, not in a partition.

Good.
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Re: Single boot: NTLDR not found, press any key to restart

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2020-08-02 15:06

Caitlin wrote:may I call you head?

Of course :)

Most people just call me "asshole" though so I will also answer to that.

Caitlin wrote:The package description for eifbootmgr recommended using "modprobe efivars" so I entered /sbin/modprobe efivars" and got the message "ERROR: could not insert 'efivars': No such device". Does that meant I DON'T have UEFI?

Check for /sys/firmware/efi, that will only exist if you are booted in UEFI mode.

For non-UEFI systems the boot info script should show us what's going on:
Code: Select all
/usr/sbin/bootinfoscript
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Re: Single boot: NTLDR not found, press any key to restart

Postby Deb-fan » 2020-08-03 14:37

Yeah but Mr Asshole! Show some common courtesy peeps, what are we ... heathens and barbarians?! :P
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Re: Single boot: NTLDR not found, press any key to restart

Postby Caitlin » 2020-08-17 17:45

I was unable to get any of the UEFI diagnostics to work. However, the message about NTLDR went away about three weeks ago and hasn't come back.

I have ONE physical hard drive; I rebuilt the partiton table (twice!) so anything there should have been logically erased.

I'm going to wait and see if the message comes back.

And by the way, Head_on_a_stick, nice spaceship.

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Re: Single boot: NTLDR not found, press any key to restart

Postby Caitlin » 2020-08-27 16:54

I found a file, windows-serial, on one of the partitions. I deleted it. I hope that fixes it.

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Re: Single boot: NTLDR not found, press any key to restart

Postby vmclark » 2020-08-27 17:52

If you can get to a linux command prompt, type the following so we can see what HD, SSD, and partitions you have:
Code: Select all
lsblk -f
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Re: Single boot: NTLDR not found, press any key to restart

Postby Caitlin » 2020-09-03 06:29

Here's my output from LSBLK:

Code: Select all
NAME   FSTYPE LABEL  UUID                                 FSAVAIL FSUSE% MOUNTPOINT
sda                                                                     
├─sda1 ext4          69ccec1e-ad70-478d-8ba3-b7f3f9300da5   37.8G     5% /cdisk
├─sda2 ext4          36937a05-3da0-48b5-8578-631ccd90bac9  390.5G    43% /fdisk
├─sda3 ext4          3c19f7da-11ee-48d6-b9fe-2fd349d54342    6.7G     3% /edisk
├─sda4 ext4          5b2a95a2-a595-46b7-b6d8-857a7f613350   28.3G    17% /
├─sda5 ext4          99205070-89b9-454b-9abe-c4d77ffd1bd3   10.8G    77% /ddisk
└─sda6 swap          8fbef24e-94b8-4554-8ffa-35401609c5a4                [SWAP]
sdb                                                                     
└─sdb1 vfat   PINK-2 09BA-BD46                               3.6G     1% /media/user/PINK-2
sr0

Note: PINK-2 is a memory stick.

By the way, I've often suspected that programs that are supposed to erase the entire contents of a partition (fdisk, format, etc.) make an exception for certain files -- that is to say, they are copied into memory, the drive is formatted, then they are afterwards silently restored. This is contrary to what they should be doing, which is erasing all files. I think this is how I ended up with a .windows-serial file on my hard drive. Why is it that those files which most need to be deleted, and will cause the most damage if they are not deleted, are the ones that are preserved? Does anybody know anything about this?

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Re: Single boot: NTLDR not found, press any key to restart

Postby reinob » 2020-09-03 08:45

Caitlin wrote:By the way, I've often suspected that programs that are supposed to erase the entire contents of a partition (fdisk, format, etc.) make an exception for certain files -- that is to say, they are copied into memory, the drive is formatted, then they are afterwards silently restored. This is contrary to what they should be doing, which is erasing all files. I think this is how I ended up with a .windows-serial file on my hard drive. Why is it that those files which most need to be deleted, and will cause the most damage if they are not deleted, are the ones that are preserved? Does anybody know anything about this?


Honestly, I don't think it's true that fdisk/cfdisk/mkfs/... are keeping any files that were there before. Obviously mkfs will create the /lost+found directory for an ext{2,3,4} file system, but that's because it's a requirement of the file system itself. Maybe VFAT/FAT32/NTFS also require some sort of "$Recycle.bin" or whatever crap Windows does these days.

Reading this thread my only guess is that maybe you're booting with the USB stick inserted, and your BIOS is trying to boot off it, failing, and then booting normally from your hard disk (where grub is installed on the MBR as you said).

Maybe the BIOS is buggy..

Googling for ".windows-serial" (despite Google not respecting the request to search for the term verbatim) only gives references to some unspecified Windows program creating this file as a crude form of a license validation.

Maybe your USB does have a boot sector and is running some weird stuff? I'd check that, and/or in any case remove the USB stick before/whilst booting. You never know..

Cheers.
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