[SOLVED] - UEFI - Executing 'GRUB-install dummy' failed.

Help with issues regarding installation of Debian

[SOLVED] - UEFI - Executing 'GRUB-install dummy' failed.

Postby LinDUX » 2020-01-27 15:16

Hi Gang,

Although I also worked at Sun Microsystems as Ian Murdock (the founder of Debian Project) did, I worked mostly with windoze systems afterward. But now, like for so many other windoze users, I can't go beyond W7.

After doing some research, I decided to opt for Debian, mainly because it is said to be stable and with lots of options in terms of packages (apps). I sure will be with both W7 and Debian in a dual boot system for the time being during this transition phase. And, hopefully, I will be able to install my W7 within a VirtualBox on top of Debian sometime later on, to minimize the threats from outside.

I fear I'll have a very steep learning curve ahead, though. But I love these kind challenges and, despite not being any tropical cool breeze, I'd rather face it than the dreadful M$ W10 and its descendants.

Going to the point:

My current system is a 64 bit W7 Pro OS, i3-4170 CPU @3.70 GHz, 16 GB RAM, and with the latest updates possible as of now (Jan 2020).

The original primary HD was a WD 500 GB, which I replaced by a 1.5 TB to make sure I have room enough for both OSs. A second NTFS formatted 4 TB data HD is installed with all my personal data, including Dropbox folder in auto sync setting. UEFI with BIOS legacy compatibility is setup in the UEFI-BIOS settings.

Before anything else I run a chkdsk /f (just to be sure W7 is in good shape), made a W7 Repair Disk CD, and the last thing before starting the Buster install I made an WindowsImageBackup, just in case, which was saved in the D: 4 TB data drive.

I started the install process using the latest debian-10.2.0-amd64-DVD-1.iso from a USB stick done with the latest rufus-3.8, and followed the recommendations set on the "Debian GNU/Linux Installation Guide-January 12, 2020".

By pressing F12 I get the menu where, among other options, I have the same USB stick listed twice: one regular and another one starting with UEFI. I chose the latter, as is the settings in my UEFI-BIOS setup, and I do not want to lose access to my 4 TB data HD.

As per the Installation Guide above (3.6.3 - Systems with UEFI firmware), I have never configured "secured boot", so no need to worry about disabling it.

The 1.5 TB HD has already the following W7 partitions:

#1 System Reserved 217 MB NTFS (System, Active, Primary partition)
#2 W7Pro 287.83 GB NTFS (Boot, Crashing dump, Primary partition)

Swap partition was set on the 2nd 4 TB data drive:

#3 partition of SCSI2 (0,0,0) (sdb) as swap

All others on 1st (sda) Logical 128 GB as ext4 each but:

    #3 Primary 128 MB as ext2 for /boot
    #5 Logical 256 MB as ESP for /boot/efi
    #7 Logical 128 GB as xfs for /home
On the step Install the GRUB boot loader on a hard disk I got: Unable to install GRUB in dummy. Executing 'GRUB-install dummy' failed. This is a fatal error.

Next screen advises to boot manually with the /vmlinuz kernel on partition /dev sda6 and root=/dev/sda6 passed as a kernel argument.

But sda6 is my logical 128 GB / (root) ext4...

I was able to finish the install process, though, and upon exiting it, taken to the GRUB prompt:

Code: Select all
grub> ls
(proc) (hd0) (hd0,msdos13) (hd0,msdos12) (hd0,msdos11) (hd0,msdos10) (hd0,msdos9) (hd0,msdos8) (hd0,msdos7) (hd0,msdos6) (hd0,msdos5) (hd0,msdos3) (hd0,msdos2) (hd0,msdos1) (hd1,gpt3) (hd1,gpt2) (hd1,gpt1) (hd2)


I know (hd0,msdos3) is my /boot partition. Following a hint I found here: https://forums.kali.org/showthread.php?36601-UEFI-How-to-repair-kali-linux-grub-dual-boot-with-Windows-10 (didn't find anything similar anywhere else including Debian forums):
If you are in grub rescue mode, then run these commands to reconfigure grub:

Code: Select all
set root=(hd0,msdos3)
set prefix=(hd0,msdos3)/boot/grub
insmod normal
normal


Which I did, but no output seen. And never had a chance to open a terminal and type grub-install/dev/sda, as advised above...

Nothing else could be done, so I hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete. And the only thing I got was a blank dark screen saying "Reboot and Select proper Boot device or Insert Boot Media in selected Boot device and press a key_" if trying to boot Debian... No W7 option to boot to, nothing at all...

So I inserted my W7 Repair Disk on the P4 Atapi driver to fix/recover the Windows Start Process and... Voila!... I was presented with the Windows Boot Manager to choose Windows 7 or Debian GNU/Linux-continue with install process.

At this point I booted Windows and I'm back to business as usual for the time being.

My questions are:

1. what I did wrong?

2. What am I missing?

3. Should I forget about UEFI / Grub install?

4. Forget my 4 TB data disk where swap partition is set up?

Your help on this very much appreciated.

Thank you so much for any advice and support to address this issue.

Please, feel free to ask me any additional information.
Last edited by LinDUX on 2020-01-29 17:52, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: UEFI - Executing 'GRUB-install dummy' failed.

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2020-01-27 17:04

If you have an msdos partition table on /dev/sda then Windows will be installed in non-UEFI mode so you should also install Debian in non-UEFI mode or it won't provide a GRUB entry for Windows.
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Re: UEFI - Executing 'GRUB-install dummy' failed.

Postby LinDUX » 2020-01-27 17:30

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:If you have an msdos partition table on /dev/sda then Windows will be installed in non-UEFI mode so you should also install Debian in non-UEFI mode or it won't provide a GRUB entry for Windows.


Hi Head_on, thanks so much for replying promptly.

Having UEFI mode activated in the UEFI-BIOS, and installed a W7 64 bit which has access to the entire 2nd 4 TB HD, doesn't it mean Windows is installed on UEFI mode?

Otherwise I wouldn't be able to see and have access to /dev/sdb beyond the 2 TB limit of standard BIOS.

Put in the other way around, if W7 has been installed on /dev/sda in non-UEFI mode, how come it is having access to the entire 4 TB /dev/sdb?

Where and how to cross check that?...

Besides, if I install Buster in non-UEFI mode, will I lose access to entire 4 TB /dev/sdb?...

Thanks Head_on!
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Re: UEFI - Executing 'GRUB-install dummy' failed.

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2020-01-27 17:43

LinDUX wrote:Having UEFI mode activated in the UEFI-BIOS, and installed a W7 64 bit which has access to the entire 2nd 4 TB HD, doesn't it mean Windows is installed on UEFI mode?

The installation mode for Windows systems depends on the partition table of the drive to which it is being installed. With an msdos partition table it defaults to non-UEFI mode. Have you checked if Windows is booting in UEFI mode?

LinDUX wrote:Otherwise I wouldn't be able to see and have access to /dev/sdb beyond the 2 TB limit of standard BIOS.

The second drive has a GUID partition table and so would still be fully accessible even if you were booted in non-UEFI mode. The 2TiB limit is a function of the partition table rather than the booting mode.

LinDUX wrote:Besides, if I install Buster in non-UEFI mode, will I lose access to entire 4 TB /dev/sdb?

No.

And please don't full quote unnecessarily, use quoting selectively (as I have done for this post) and only if required. Thanks.
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Re: UEFI - Executing 'GRUB-install dummy' failed.

Postby LinDUX » 2020-01-27 18:52

Yeah,,, I was able to check using cmd:

Code: Select all
C:\Windows\system32>bcdedit /enum
...
path                    \bootmgr
description          Windows Boot Manager
...


And with your tip it shows SMBIOS Version 2.7

Also using easeus app it shows Disk 1 Basic GPT and Disk 2 Basic MBR.

Anyway, would it be worth using a tool like AOMEI (https://www.diskpart.com/gpt-mbr/change-legacy-to-uefi-4348i.html) to convert to GPT / UEFI?... Not sure when or why or if will I need to make the switch..

Until now everything was just fine (so far so good), as long I have access to my entire 4 TB /dev/sdb...

And as to my present Debian install, should I start from scratch again or just Resume / Continue with the current install process bypassing the Grub install dummy?...

Thanks a lot!
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Re: UEFI - Executing 'GRUB-install dummy' failed.

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2020-01-27 19:23

LinDUX wrote:would it be worth using a tool like AOMEI ([...]) to convert to GPT / UEFI?

Probably best not to ask me about Windows, I keep breaking it :D

LinDUX wrote:as to my present Debian install, should I start from scratch again

The simplest approach would appear to be installing Debian in non-UEFI mode, you should then get a working GRUB (boot) menu entry for Windows and you should still be able to access your drives.
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Re: UEFI - Executing 'GRUB-install dummy' failed.

Postby LinDUX » 2020-01-28 00:14

I followed your advice and here am I typing from Debian! No hassle, no hitch, not a hiccup. Working like a charm! :D :lol:

The only thing is, when trying to access 4TB /dev/sdb, it asked for root credentials. I entered it and the response was in a red text that I have no right to access it, but allowed me to access /dev/sdb anyways... I went in and out a few times trying to reproduce the issue, fortunately to no avail. Perhaps I'll have to reboot and or log out and back in again to repro...

I can't understand how stupid I am to forget this basic detail about setting W7 for UEFI. Sure both OSs' boot info have to be in the same page (I mean standard / pattern) for consistency across the board...

Again, thank you thank you thank you so much for your invaluable help!

You're awesome! Kudos to you!

May God bless you!

Warm and best regards!
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Re: UEFI - Executing 'GRUB-install dummy' failed.

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2020-01-28 18:23

You're welcome.

Please edit the title of the thread (in the first post) and prepend [SOLVED] to help others who encounter this error.
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Re: UEFI - Executing 'GRUB-install dummy' failed.

Postby LinDUX » 2020-01-29 17:54

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:You're welcome.

Please edit the title of the thread (in the first post) and prepend [SOLVED] to help others who encounter this error.


Sure done! Thank you!
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