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Old 10-15-2019, 09:30 AM   #1
LinWinux
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Broken Grub startup after latest OCTOBER 2019 snapshot installation


Part two of the September thread ...

For the past 2 years I've been working on perfecting "the ultimate" German Language MX Linux distribution. Until this Summer I never had any problems creating the system, followed by creating the snapshot, followed by installing the snapshot onto a new setup. I've done this dozens of times without a problem.

Last month I created my almost finished perfect version of German MX Linux, but when all was said and done, even though the live usb itself was working without any problems whatsoever, the installation onto another computer failed (see September thread with similar title). The issue has to do with Grub ... it's something that I can fix with the boot repair disk ... but that's no good for people who aren't familiar with Linux or the console at all.

So another month passes by during which I tweak the system to be as perfect as I'll ever get it to be. Today I spent the last 4 hours on it. App descriptions, menu items, language packs, browser extensions, documented personal help files, etc. etc. etc. This is it, this is as perfect as I can make MX Linux for any terminal shy beginner as well as professional non-linux user. Friggen awesome, so let's go ahead and create the snapshot now ... zero errors anywhere ... finished with success message and prompt to move to live usb creation.

Alright, looking good looking good (rubbing my hands together grinning from ear to ear). Now the live usb is being created ... zero errors anywhere ... creation ends with success message. Alright, we're done, let's boot up the live stick on another system to make sure everything is as perfect as it appeared to be.

Booting up the live stick, select language mode with F2, continue to boot ... zero errors anywhere ... desktop looks as it should. check all menu items, power up various apps, check docs and other custom help, check contents of customized cherrytree app, etc. Perfect, not a problem to be found anywhere. Clicking on install MX Linux icon, installation begins ...

Installation went without a hitch ... zero problems anywhere ... rebooting now, unmounting file system and unmounting disks, screen stops for a few seconds, then reboot commences and I end up with (see images):

At this point I believe there has to be a flaw in MX Linux Snapshot

Like I said, I can easily fix the problem with the boot repair disk which actually proves that there's nothing wrong with the Operating System itself. Somehow, for whatever reason, the installation of Grub fails during the installation. The OS itself is perfectly fine. Now I'll say this much though, ever since the past 2 or 3 months ago the snapshot installation changed. NOW there's a grub message right toward the beginning of the installation where the boot location can be selected. BEFORE, on earlier versions of the snapshot installation, the snapshot completed almost all the way without any Grub prompts until the very end. Somewhere in those installation adjustments from 3 months ago until today the developers of MX Linux (who never appear to show up on this forum) must have caused something to break. Aaaargh, I'm beyond frustrated at this point ...
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Last edited by LinWinux; 10-15-2019 at 09:38 AM. Reason: Forgot something.
 
Old 10-15-2019, 09:45 AM   #2
LinWinux
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Earlier Today ... Before I created the snapshot ... I made absolutely certain that all of the latest updates were installed too, to make sure that whatever issues existed with the snapshot installation had been resolved. Then I also rebooted into a clean system before creating the snapshot. Someone obviously decided to do something with the snapshot / live creation in order to save time, by now placing the grub prompt in the beginning of the installation procedure. That's where the problem has to be, it has to have something to do with moving the grub message prompts from the end of the instalallation process, to almost at the beginning which is where those prompts appear now. That change obviously didn't magically happen by itself ...

.
 
Old 10-17-2019, 09:26 AM   #3
LinWinux
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Tried another installation with the same snapshot today. Right at the very beginning you're supposed to select where Grub should be installed. On previous snapshots from a few months ago this would happen at the very end of the installation. Be that as it may, I selected the MBR option (of course), and then watched as the installation continued. There were some more things to check off just like before ... user name ... root location ... swap or none ... etc. Everything went without a hitch and the instalallation kept right on going.

At the 98% mark, while the instalaltion was still going, a message displayed which informed me that Grub was being installed. This took a little while as is normal and eventually the instalallation hit the 100% mark. Everything was finished, no errrors or problem messages of any kind. There was also a line at the top which couldn't be read completely since it left the margins of the instalallation window. Enlarging the window I could read that in order to use the installed system properly a reboot without the installation media would be required. There's also a checkbox to auto-start, but that didn't really explain how the auto-start would be implemented. So for the heck of it I tried something that I've never done before.
I simply pulled out the usb stick with the snapshot, to see what would happen.

Well, that was a mistake! (no idea what that auto-start is all about since there's no explanation for that).
The system hung up completely, after about 5 minutes I ended up having to do a hard reset.
On we go, back to the drawing board ...

.
 
Old 10-17-2019, 10:38 AM   #4
LinWinux
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Registered: May 2019
Location: Germany
Distribution: MX Linux & Linux Mint XFCE
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Since I know that the snapshot has been installed, this time around I went ahead and booted into the live snapshot on the usb stick again, to check the different grub repair options within the MX Tools menu. Hey, I think that I found the problem or at least what specifically the problem with grub may be related to, which prevents the installed snapshot from displaying a boot menu when the computer is being started.

MX Linux has its own boot repair tools which I haven't used before, just a habit for me to use another OpenSource boot repair that's been around for quite a number of years. Anyway, using Grub Repair from within MX Tools I could see that there is no reference or recognition of sda anywhere !!! What the heck is up with that ??? Normally Grub is installed in the mbr of sda ... sda being the root of the drive ... and not any additional partitions. You could see all of the partitions such as sda1 and sda2, plus you could also see additional drives and the live snapshot. But just plain ol' sda was nowhere to be found.
Knowing what to expect I tested my theory, repairing Grub which would then be placed in sda1 (thereby by-passing the mbr root).
I expected for this to fail ... and it did ... the system still booted to the grub screens above.

Then I tried to re-install Grub from scratch (using the usb live snapshot). This too failed for the same reason, the only installation option for a bootable grub menu was in sda1 and not the master boot record (mbr) of sda where it should have been installed. Yeah, I expected for that to fail as well, same reason as before ... and it did. This is proof absolute that the developers of MX Linux overlooked something during their last changes to the snapshot/grub configuration. What I find incredibly frustrating about this entire process is the fact that (apparently) none of the MX Linux devs ever show up over here and that none of them ever felt that the live snapshot creation and subsequent installation into another computer should be tested, before being released to the public.

So here's the fix for everyone:

Get yourself the boot repair disk from here because it actually works!
https://sourceforge.net/projects/boot-repair-cd/

Use an iso creating program such as xfburn, brasero, or something else to creae a bootable repair disk.
(I haven't tried it but I'd imagine that the iso can be burned to a usb stick with a live usb app too)
Then power off your problem system completely since a restart may leave remnants of earlier boot failures.
Power up again with either the boot repair disk or a live boot repair usb stick. (may take a couple of minutes)
Follow the prompts, make sure that it's all done correctly, remove the live iso when prompted, then power off.
Your system should now start with a clean & working grub menu!

If you want to edit this menu afterwards, don't use the MX Tools grub options for that (since we already know that there's a problem there), but instead stick with the grub-configuration options which are available in the standard XFCE settings of your MX Linux desktop. For example, anyone who likes to use VPN apps from PIA, ExpressVPN and some of the others might want to have the boot menu start with systemd by default since the apps from many VPN providers are not supported without systemd. If you do decide to edit your grub settings, don't forget to save those changes in order for them to take effect during your next reboot.

.
 
  


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