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Difficult passage from LMDE 2 to LMDE 3

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:14 pm
by yvanlm
I am a long time Linux Mint Cinnamon user and after Mint 17, I switched from the Ubuntu based distribution to LMDE 2. My Dell laptop was running Windows 10 on UEFI and it was easy to install using simply a root (/) and a linux-swap partitions. I was advised at the end of 2018 to switch to LMDE 3 to ensure continued support.

The LMDE 3 installer forced me to add an EFI partition and to move the Mint installation (linux-swap and /) to an extended partition because I was told I could not have more than 4 primary partitions. This should not present a problem, but after the install completed without errors, I am unable to boot into LMDE 3. I don't understand the role of the new EFI partition and I have no idea how to troubleshoot this.

I have no desire to go back to the Ubuntu based Mint distribution, but might be forced to do so if I cannot get LMDE 3 to work soon enough as it is my main operating system. I also have no desire to destroy my up to date installation of Windows 10 as re-installing and re-updating would mean at least the best time of one day.

Any suggestions?

Re: Difficult passage from LMDE 2 to LMDE 3

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 9:21 am
by yvanlm
Well, since I could wait more than a couple days without a working laptop, I found one solution: moving back to the Main Cinnamon Edition.

The Tessa installer pointed out the nature of my problem with the LMDE 3 install: my legacy Dell XPS 13 9333 was using UEFI boot with legacy BIOS compatibility. The Tessa installer warned me that the install had started in EFI mode, but that if I forced this through, I would end up with a non-bootable system (which is exactly what had happened with LMDE3) and gave me the option to go back one screen. From that point on I was able to complete the Tessa (Mint 19.1) install in BIOS mode and everything worked more or less as it should. I am saying more or less because the backup made with the backup tool under LMDE 2 did not want to restore using the Mint 19.1 backup tool. I was able however to copy the contents of the various folders over to the new installation and my data was safe. The LMDE 2 backup tool had saved a number of individual folders, but the Mint 19.1 tool was looking for a single file to restore.

It would be nice if the LMDE 3 installer offered the option to install in BIOS mode as well, but for now I am back up and running under the main edition.


Re: Difficult passage from LMDE 2 to LMDE 3

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 9:45 am
by Pierre
since the Laptop, came with win-10 in UEFI mode:
- can you change the BIOS back to that UEFI mode that it came with ?
and thus try to install the LMDE3 again ? before you commit to the LM19 system ?.

Re: Difficult passage from LMDE 2 to LMDE 3

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:16 pm
by yvanlm
Unfortunately Dell tend towards a legacy approach (thus UEFI with Legacy BIOS compatibility). If I were to change to full-fledged UEFI, I would most likely need to re-install and re-update Windows 10 which represents at least a day's work.

Ideally, I would have preferred another solution, such as the LMDE 3 installer allowing me to install with the current BIOS settings, just as the Main Edition Mint Tessa installer allowed me to. I am also not sure how I would handle dual booting under UEFI: I have been using a multiboot manager called OSL2000 for many years as I never found a way to have the Windows Boot Manager properly launch a Linux distribution. On the other hand Windows 10 Updates often misbehaved and/or overwrote GRUB 2 when I tried to use it as the overall boot manager.

What you are suggesting would be a worthwhile experiment if I had a second Mint machine to use while restarting everything from scratch on my current laptop... maybe some day.

[Solved} Difficult passage from LMDE 2 to LMDE 3

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:13 pm
by yvanlm
I decided to explore Pierre's suggestion and re-purposed an old laptop as my daily use Linux Mint computer to free up the Dell XPS13 to experiment.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could convert my Windows 10 installation using the windows mbr2gpt command after which the laptop's firmware had even automatically switched to UEFI, rebooting without any issues.

The LMDE 3 install went smoothly this time. I found that the EFI partition created by Windows already had the boot and esp flags on it and I was able to simply point to it as the place where to install the grub bootloader. After the installer completed (without warnings or errors -- as in previous attempts) Linux Mint Cindy was up and running on my laptop for the first time.

Thank you,