No grub menu on boot, blank screen, HDD LED on solid

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VVFulvus
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Joined: 2022-09-22 23:08

No grub menu on boot, blank screen, HDD LED on solid

#1 Post by VVFulvus »

Howdy! First time posting here.

A few days ago, my Debian 10/Buster box stopped booting normally. I haven't updated it in a while due to being busy, so there's no reason to expect an upgrade to have gone wrong. Installed Buster about 2 years ago, was working fine until now. It's a secondary home desktop, not used too often.

Description of issue:

(The machine is booting via UEFI.)

Upon boot, I normally expect Firmware POST -> GRUB TUI menu -> kernel/init boot messages -> xdm.

Instead, after the firmware POST I get a blank screen and the HDD LED is on solid (quite terrifying when I first turned to hit the power button).

Things I've tried so far

Firstly, I tried rebooting the machine once more... same thing. The BIOS boot menu still had a "debian" entry when I checked the setup menus, so the disk is recognized well. But just to be sure I reconnected the SATA and power cable to the HDD.

Then I went on to make an image of the disk with Clonezilla, since I hadn't made any backups yet as this was a sort of test box. When booting Clonezilla via UEFI/USB, I also did a fsck of the filesystems. "fsck.fat" on the EFI partition complained about the FAT boot and backup boot sector not matching and the dirty bit being set but nothing else (which shouldn't matter since we're not doing BIOS boot). "btrfs check" said nothing was wrong. (There are no other partitions.)

Clonezilla seemed to image the disk successfully with no errors. Then I tried to boot again, but it's the same "blank screen, HDD LED on". The disk *is* working since I was able to image it successfully, and mounting it seemed to show everything in order - /home had all my files and the ESP had /boot/debian/grubx64.efi with the expected filesize around ~170kb similar to the last time I looked out of curiosity. I can get a checksum of grubx64.efi if asked (time with "ls -l" was some day in October 2021, which is about when I last updated).

Most recently, I also hooked the drive up to a Windows box and used chkdsk on the EFI system partition - chkdsk was happy with the state of the partition. Doesn't rule out file corruption, but this is really strange...

Summary of what I know

The computer acts strangely on booting. The HDD and SATA interface appear to be working fine. The computer is able to boot from USB without any issue.

The 3 times I've tried to boot with the system like this, I've forced the machine off with the power button out of fear of the HDD activity for the HDD LED to be on like that...

Any ideas? My next idea is figure out what package grubx64.efi is part of or generated by and try to replace it while chroot'ed into the system, but I'm not sure where to find that. If not that, probably find all my /etc modifications and copy them and /home and do a clean install, but I'd rather not reinstall if I don't have to (the machine can sit idle for a while, like I said it's mostly a test box). Other ideas appreciated!

Segfault
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Re: No grub menu on boot, blank screen, HDD LED on solid

#2 Post by Segfault »

When booted from an external media in EFI mode, what 'efibootmgr -v' tells you.

VVFulvus
Posts: 3
Joined: 2022-09-22 23:08

Re: No grub menu on boot, blank screen, HDD LED on solid

#3 Post by VVFulvus »

Code: Select all

user@debian:~$ sudo efibootmgr --verbose
BootCurrent: 0001
Timeout: 0 seconds
BootOrder: 0001,0000
Boot0000* debian        HD(1,GPT,1ed4d616-db0b-431d-9e92-03d4f2dc22ca,0x22,0x1ffde)/File(\EFI\debian\grubx64.efi)
Boot0001* UEFI OS       HD(2,GPT,cc123668-8bcc-4b0c-8329-dc0de0bbc0c8,0x40800,0x100000)/File(\EFI\BOOT\BOOTX64.EFI)AMBO
"UEFI OS" is clonezilla on my USB HDD, Boot0000 debian is the internal HDD. The blank screen boot happens both when I let the POST screen timeout as well as when going to the setup boot menu and selecting debian.

Segfault
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Re: No grub menu on boot, blank screen, HDD LED on solid

#4 Post by Segfault »

I do not use Grub, can't tell what you are supposed to see ... would there normally be a message about loading kernel? Your HDD light on tells Grub starts doing something with HDD, like looking for a kernel. Or maybe grubx64.efi binary is corrupted and goes nuts. You could repeat the grub install procedure in chroot. OS reinstall is overkill.

VVFulvus
Posts: 3
Joined: 2022-09-22 23:08

Re: No grub menu on boot, blank screen, HDD LED on solid

#5 Post by VVFulvus »

Issue solved! Apparently the Debian installer's rescue mode has an easy option to reinstall the bootloader, and booting the installer's rescue mode and resintalling GRUB from there fixed things.

Useful URLs for reference, once I thought to google without quotes "debian reinstall grub".

https://wiki.debian.org/GrubEFIReinstall
https://www.debian.org/releases/stable/ ... 06.en.html (Install manual chapter 8 section 6: Recovering a Broken System)

Presumably something corrupted grubx64.efi and the HDD LED being on might've been an infinite loop in the corrupt code trying to read something (my best guess). So probably need to think about replacing the disk soon, because that's not supposed to happen... but for now it works.

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