[SOLVED] Grub rescue problem (no such device+unknown file system)

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Manny_F
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[SOLVED] Grub rescue problem (no such device+unknown file system)

Post by Manny_F » Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:27 pm

Hello everyone! I'm a first timer installing Linux and I seem to have screwed up big time at some point. A

I have a PC with Windows 7 Ultimate installed and two hard drives ("C:", where Win 7 is installed and "Z:", which I used for storage).

My idea was to set up a dual boot system. Using Windows Disk Management, I partitioned "Z", creating a volume, "L", with empty space that would be used for the Linux install.

Having downloaded Mint's latest release from its website (64 bit version for my 64 bit machine), I "burned" it into a USB drive using Rufus and proceeded to install on the newly created volume, choosing the "something else" option and making sure to create the "root", "swap" and "home" partitions.

Install went smoothly, but, when reboting, I notice the machine says "Loading Operative System..." for a while, and then I'm greeted by two separate errors "No such device" and "Unknown filesystem" then "Grub Rescue". I saw some people could get through this screen with the "ls" command, but in my case it was to no avail, none of the options offered allowed me to continue any further.

I tried installing Linux again, overwriting the previous install, to see if things would just set themselves right (fat chance, I know), but it changed nothing. So I was basically screwed because I had two OS in my computer but I was unable to access none of them.

I eventually stumbled upon Super Grub2 Disc, which at least allowed me to access Windows 7 again... but to my surprise, Super Grub doesn't seem to register any Linux installation on the computer, at all (if I try to install Linux again, though, the setup recognizes the existence of Linux on my computer)

Any idea on how to solve this? I would really like to take this as a learning opportunity and any help offered would be greatly appreciated. Sorry if grammar is a bit off but I'm not a native English speaker.
Last edited by Manny_F on Wed Sep 18, 2019 12:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Larry78723
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Re: Grub rescue problem (no such device+unknown file system)

Post by Larry78723 » Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:13 pm

What format did you use for the linux partitions? It's best to format them as ext4. Please post the following report. This will give us a concise overview of your partitions.

Here is how to generate the report and post it:

Boot from your installation media (USB/DVD)
Open a terminal window (Ctrl-Alt-t). Make it fullscreen to avoid unneeded linebreaks or chopped lines. Execute the command

Code: Select all

lsblk -p -o +FSTYPE
exactly as it has been typed here.

Mark the complete text output which the command will display with your mouse.
Press the keyboard shortcut <Shift><Ctrl>C to copy the marked text into the clipboard.
Enclose the results between the code markers by selecting </> from the mini toolbar above the textbox where you type your reply then paste <Ctrl>V them in your reply between the code markers.

The results will help us to help you.

Larry
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Manny_F
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Re: Grub rescue problem (no such device+unknown file system)

Post by Manny_F » Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:06 pm

Hi Larry. Sorry for the late reply, I work on weekends away from home.

I'm pretty sure I chose ext4 as format during (both) installations, but of course I could have messed up unknowingly. Here's what your requested

Code: Select all

NAME        MAJ:MIN RM   SIZE RO TYPE MOUNTPOINT FSTYPE
/dev/fd0      2:0    1     4K  0 disk            
/dev/loop0    7:0    0   1.9G  1 loop /rofs      squashfs
/dev/sda      8:0    0 931.5G  0 disk            
└─/dev/sda1   8:1    0 931.5G  0 part            ntfs
/dev/sdb      8:16   0   2.7T  0 disk            
├─/dev/sdb1   8:17   0   128M  0 part            
├─/dev/sdb2   8:18   0   2.3T  0 part            ntfs
├─/dev/sdb3   8:19   0    20G  0 part            ext4
├─/dev/sdb4   8:20   0   5.6G  0 part [SWAP]     swap
└─/dev/sdb5   8:21   0 462.7G  0 part            ext4
/dev/sdc      8:32   1   7.6G  0 disk            
└─/dev/sdc1   8:33   1   7.6G  0 part /cdrom     vfat
/dev/sr0     11:0    1  1024M  0 rom             

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Re: Grub rescue problem (no such device+unknown file system)

Post by fabien85 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:04 am

Hum, you seem to have done it correctly, and you may be hitting a delicate problem.

Is your windows installed in Legacy/BIOS mode ?
If you do not know, see this page to find out.

Another thing that can confirm is to boot again the live USB, launch the following command

Code: Select all

sudo gdisk -l /dev/sdb
and report the result here.
The output should show the same partitions that you got with lsblk (unless the naming of the drives changed) and should also show the type of partition table.
If the drive is partitioned in MBR/msdos, then that's very probably the problem.

MBR/msdos partition tables only work up to 2TB. Your Linux partitions are located past the 2TB mark, so grub cannot find them.
When grub cannot find the files it needs to load (the modules located in /boot/grub), it drops in "grub rescue" mode.

Also there are 5 partitions on this disk, while MBR can only accomodate 4 primary partitions. So either I'm wrong and your disk is formatted as GPT (which is not usual for windows 7), or some partition(s) are probably invalid.
I'm wondering what /dev/sdb1 is, lsblk does not give the filesystem type of this partition.

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Re: Grub rescue problem (no such device+unknown file system)

Post by Spearmint2 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:58 am

I'm wondering what /dev/sdb1 is, lsblk does not give the filesystem type of this partition.
That size indicates to me it's probably the UEFI windows boot area. I wonder if the problem is caused by windows setting up the LVM (logical volume). Maybe boot to live Linux USB and see what GParted shows.
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Re: Grub rescue problem (no such device+unknown file system)

Post by pbear » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:21 am

Seems to me likely sdb1 is the Windows Z: partition. Doesn't explain, though, why it doesn't have a format. Anyhoo, Manny, let's try another command which should resolve this and a few other questions. Please run sudo parted -l (that's an "L") and report the output.

Also, do you recall what location you specified for installation of the bootloader?
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Re: Grub rescue problem (no such device+unknown file system)

Post by Manny_F » Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:52 pm

fabien85 wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:04 am
Hum, you seem to have done it correctly, and you may be hitting a delicate problem.

Is your windows installed in Legacy/BIOS mode ?
If you do not know, see this page to find out.

Another thing that can confirm is to boot again the live USB, launch the following command

Code: Select all

sudo gdisk -l /dev/sdb
and report the result here.
The output should show the same partitions that you got with lsblk (unless the naming of the drives changed) and should also show the type of partition table.
If the drive is partitioned in MBR/msdos, then that's very probably the problem.

MBR/msdos partition tables only work up to 2TB. Your Linux partitions are located past the 2TB mark, so grub cannot find them.
When grub cannot find the files it needs to load (the modules located in /boot/grub), it drops in "grub rescue" mode.

Also there are 5 partitions on this disk, while MBR can only accomodate 4 primary partitions. So either I'm wrong and your disk is formatted as GPT (which is not usual for windows 7), or some partition(s) are probably invalid.
I'm wondering what /dev/sdb1 is, lsblk does not give the filesystem type of this partition.
Windows 7 won't cooperate, so I used the command you gave me. Here's the result:

Code: Select all

GPT fdisk (gdisk) version 1.0.3

Partition table scan:
  MBR: protective
  BSD: not present
  APM: not present
  GPT: present

Found valid GPT with protective MBR; using GPT.
Disk /dev/sdb: 5860533168 sectors, 2.7 TiB
Model: WDC WD3003FZEX-0
Sector size (logical/physical): 512/4096 bytes
Disk identifier (GUID): E3A2BC76-6BA4-4F33-9AF6-F2DB94E93C7F
Partition table holds up to 128 entries
Main partition table begins at sector 2 and ends at sector 33
First usable sector is 34, last usable sector is 5860533134
Partitions will be aligned on 8-sector boundaries
Total free space is 2925 sectors (1.4 MiB)

Number  Start (sector)    End (sector)  Size       Code  Name
   1              34          262177   128.0 MiB   0C01  Microsoft reserved ...
   2          264192      4836532223   2.3 TiB     0700  Basic data partition
   3      4836532224      4878495743   20.0 GiB    8300  
   4      4878495744      4890214399   5.6 GiB     8200  
   5      4890214400      5860532223   462.7 GiB   8300  
Hope it helps to clear things up.
Last edited by Manny_F on Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Grub rescue problem (no such device+unknown file system)

Post by Manny_F » Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:00 pm

pbear wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:21 am
Seems to me likely sdb1 is the Windows Z: partition. Doesn't explain, though, why it doesn't have a format. Anyhoo, Manny, let's try another command which should resolve this and a few other questions. Please run sudo parted -l (that's an "L") and report the output.

Also, do you recall what location you specified for installation of the bootloader?
Here's the output:

Code: Select all

Model: ATA WDC WD1003FZEX-0 (scsi)
Disk /dev/sda: 1000GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/4096B
Partition Table: msdos
Disk Flags: 

Number  Start   End     Size    Type     File system  Flags
 1      1049kB  1000GB  1000GB  primary  ntfs         boot


Model: ATA WDC WD3003FZEX-0 (scsi)
Disk /dev/sdb: 3001GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/4096B
Partition Table: gpt
Disk Flags: 

Number  Start   End     Size    File system     Name                          Flags
 1      17.4kB  134MB   134MB                   Microsoft reserved partition  msftres
 2      135MB   2476GB  2476GB  ntfs            Basic data partition          msftdata
 3      2476GB  2498GB  21.5GB  ext4
 4      2498GB  2504GB  6000MB  linux-swap(v1)
 5      2504GB  3001GB  497GB   ext4


Model: Sony Storage Media (scsi)
Disk /dev/sdc: 8103MB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: msdos
Disk Flags: 

Number  Start   End     Size    Type     File system  Flags
 1      1049kB  8103MB  8102MB  primary  fat32        boot, lba
If memory serves me right, the bootloader was installed in /dev/sda both times... but I can't truly assure it.

Thanks for the continued support of all of you.

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Re: Grub rescue problem (no such device+unknown file system)

Post by Spearmint2 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:29 pm

sda is in legacy mode, sdb is in UEFI GPT mode.

If linux is on sda, then probably have to use Legacy mode in BIOS to boot from it.
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Re: Grub rescue problem (no such device+unknown file system)

Post by pbear » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:46 pm

Reading a little more carefully, I notice a few things and suggest the following path forward.

1. Obviously sdb2 is the Windows Z: partition. Now we know sdb1 is a Windows reserved partition and not an EFI partition.

2. Neither sdb3 nor sdb5 have mount points, where they're supposed to be root and home respectively.

3. IMHO, 20 GB is too small for root. Moreover, assuming this is Mint 19.2 (indeed, any version of 19.x), there's no need for a swap partition (unlike 18.x, which was the version in play when the Installation Guide was written). So, I'd recommend redoing the installation, leaving out swap and giving root at least 30 GB. Be aware that if you are doing separate root and home partitions, it's imperative you set up Timeshift to save snapshots in /home.* Otherwise, there's a significant risk your root partition will fill up and the system will cease booting. I always set up my partitions with GParted (mentioned above by Spearmint2) before starting the installer.

* Timeshift is to Mint what System Restore is to Windows. It's a utility to return your system to a prior state if an update causes a problem. Setting up Timeshift is one of the first things you do post-installation. One of the options is designating where to store snapshots. Default is root. You want to change that to the home partition.

4. To clarify, once you're in the installer and have selected Something Else, here's what you're supposed to do. Select partition planning to use for root, here, sdb3; click Change; Use as: Ext4 system (but don’t tick format box) and select mount point as root (“/”) (annoyingly, you can’t see the mount point option until you’ve selected “use as”). Same steps to select sdb4 (its number will change once swap is removed) and define mount point as /home. As before, designate sda (not sda1) as destination for the bootloader.

5. Assuming all that works, you may find when you boot for the first time that Windows isn't listed in Grub. Not to worry. This is a common problem, easily solved. All you need to do is boot Mint, open Terminal and run sudo update-grub. As part of the update, the system will run something called os-prober, which should recognize the Windows bootloader and add it to Grub. Reboot. Windows should now be listed. Let us know if not.

6. Before you do any of this, I'd strongly recommend you boot Windows and create a System Repair Disk. You'll find that option in Control Panel under Backups. That's the tool you use to restore the Windows bootloader if you're unable to complete the installation or decide later to undo it. Frankly, you should have had one before you started. Let's get it done now.

Feel free to ask if you want anything clarified before you give the installation another go.
Last edited by pbear on Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Grub rescue problem (no such device+unknown file system)

Post by pbear » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:58 pm

By the way, this is the dialogue which pops up when you click "Change." Notice it doesn't say anything about mount point.
Installer-a.png
Installer-a.png (14.1 KiB) Viewed 452 times
You only get the mount point after selecting an option from the "Use as" list.
Installer-b.png
Installer-b.png (16.55 KiB) Viewed 452 times
I'm guessing this is what tripped you up, as it's not obvious how it works. In fact, I consider it a design flaw in the installer.
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Re: Grub rescue problem (no such device+unknown file system)

Post by Spearmint2 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:59 am

Unplug the data cord from the hard drive which has windows on it first, just to keep it safe. Do the install of mint. Boot to it to check. Then plug the data cord back to the hard drive containing windows. Make sure the Linux drive is the boot drive, and when booted to it, then can run update-grub. On a reboot, you will see choices for both linux and windows.
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Re: Grub rescue problem (no such device+unknown file system)

Post by pbear » Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:54 am

Spearmint2 wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:59 am
Unplug the data cord from the hard drive which has windows on it first, just to keep it safe. Do the install of mint. Boot to it to check. Then plug the data cord back to the hard drive containing windows. Make sure the Linux drive is the boot drive, and when booted to it, then can run update-grub. On a reboot, you will see choices for both linux and windows.
I respectfully disagree. The MBR of sda has already been overwritten, so it's too late to leave it undisturbed by the installation. Also, the sda and sdb designations are going to remain the same regardless of boot order, as those are assigned based on the hardware connections. Last but not least, the OP hasn't yet even booted into Mint, much less decided it's going to be his long term operating system.

That said, Manny, yes, you could do it as Spearmint2 proposes. If you're going to, I'd suggest you go ahead and repair the Windows bootloader now (restoring the MBR of sda), while all this is still fresh in your mind. See halfway down this page.
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Re: Grub rescue problem (no such device+unknown file system)

Post by Spearmint2 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:05 pm

Code: Select all

info gdisk
it can be used to restore the "protective" MBR.
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Re: Grub rescue problem (no such device+unknown file system)

Post by Manny_F » Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:05 am

4. To clarify, once you're in the installer and have selected Something Else, here's what you're supposed to do. Select partition planning to use for root, here, sdb3; click Change; Use as: Ext4 system (but don’t tick format box) and select mount point as root (“/”) (annoyingly, you can’t see the mount point option until you’ve selected “use as”). Same steps to select sdb4 (its number will change once swap is removed) and define mount point as /home. As before, designate sda (not sda1) as destination for the bootloader.
No joy, sadly.

I followed instructions to a t, including setting up the partitions with Gparted, but the exact same problem happens.

Strangely enough, and just like before, despite clearly assigning mount points for the Linux's partitions during install, the same partitions lacked mount points after install (i used the lsblk -p -o +FSTYPE command to check, and also looked at the partition list shown after choosing "something else", file system is ext4, but mount point shows nothing).

Also, I did burn a Windows Recovery Disk a few days ago and managed to repair the bootloader (you're right pbear, I should have prepared a bit more before attempting to install a new OS on my only working computer!), so the whole ordeal wasn't as traumatic for me as it was the first time :lol:

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Re: Grub rescue problem (no such device+unknown file system)

Post by pbear » Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:04 am

Well, bother. I've done more installations than I can count and have never had the installer fail to accept a mount point instruction. Let's hope someone drops in with a bright idea. Failing that, we can talk about full install to USB drive, which is the way I prefer to do dual boot anyway.
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Re: Grub rescue problem (no such device+unknown file system)

Post by fabien85 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:30 am

pbear wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:04 am
Well, bother. I've done more installations than I can count and have never had the installer fail to accept a mount point instruction. Let's hope someone drops in with a bright idea.
What about trying spearmint's idea ?
Now that the windows bootloader is repaired, I would go with disconnecting that drive (/dev/sda). Then delete the linux partitions of the failed install on sdb, and just try to let the installer do its magic, i.e. go with default option ("Install alongside ...") instead of the manual "something else" route.

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Re: Grub rescue problem (no such device+unknown file system)

Post by Manny_F » Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:14 am

fabien85 wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:30 am
What about trying spearmint's idea ?
Now that the windows bootloader is repaired, I would go with disconnecting that drive (/dev/sda). Then delete the linux partitions of the failed install on sdb, and just try to let the installer do its magic, i.e. go with default option ("Install alongside ...") instead of the manual "something else" route.
I'd rather keep my hands off the hardware unless it's an "ultima ratio" scenario. It's not that I don't trust in spearmint (or anyone else for that matter on this forum), I trust in people who are more knowledgeable than me, but I don't trust in my computer. It's quite prone to make weird stuff like this.
Well, bother. I've done more installations than I can count and have never had the installer fail to accept a mount point instruction. Let's hope someone drops in with a bright idea. Failing that, we can talk about full install to USB drive, which is the way I prefer to do dual boot anyway.
This brings some questions to mind:

1) Would it be worth a shot to install other Linux distro (like Ubuntu) to see if the same problem arouses (knowing my computer, it probably will)?

2) Would a full install to USB drive be worse, performance-wise, than a hard drive install?

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Re: Grub rescue problem (no such device+unknown file system)

Post by pbear » Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:57 am

fabien85 wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:30 am
What about trying spearmint's idea ?
Now that the windows bootloader is repaired, I would go with disconnecting that drive (/dev/sda). Then delete the linux partitions of the failed install on sdb, and just try to let the installer do its magic, i.e. go with default option ("Install alongside ...") instead of the manual "something else" route.
Been thinking about that. Problem I see is that sdb is GPT with a Windows reserved partition parked at the front. So, the usual procedure of putting in a small BIOS boot partition at the head of the drive isn't available. Do you see a way around that obstacle? If so, I'm happy to do the detail work of walking the OP through it. I find the problem interesting and happen to have the time today.
Manny_F wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:14 am
This brings some questions to mind:

1) Would it be worth a shot to install other Linux distro (like Ubuntu) to see if the same problem arouses (knowing my computer, it probably will)?

2) Would a full install to USB drive be worse, performance-wise, than a hard drive install?
#1: No point to trying Ubuntu, as it's actually the Ubuntu installer you're using here. What might be worth trying is LMDE (Mint's non-Ubuntu version). Or any non-Ubuntu derivative you've considered trying, e.g., MX Linux.

#2: Performance isn't as good, especially as you're presumably going to be running it through a 2.0 port (albeit with a 3.0 drive), but it's pretty good. Good enough, in my experience, to be not frustrating. And will give you enough exposure to the OS to decide whether it's worth pursuing.
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Re: Grub rescue problem (no such device+unknown file system)

Post by athi » Wed Sep 11, 2019 1:24 pm

pbear wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:57 am
fabien85 wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:30 am
What about trying spearmint's idea ?
Now that the windows bootloader is repaired, I would go with disconnecting that drive (/dev/sda). Then delete the linux partitions of the failed install on sdb, and just try to let the installer do its magic, i.e. go with default option ("Install alongside ...") instead of the manual "something else" route.
Been thinking about that. Problem I see is that sdb is GPT with a Windows reserved partition parked at the front. So, the usual procedure of putting in a small BIOS boot partition at the head of the drive isn't available. Do you see a way around that obstacle? If so, I'm happy to do the detail work of walking the OP through it. I find the problem interesting and happen to have the time today.
Manny_F wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:14 am
This brings some questions to mind:

1) Would it be worth a shot to install other Linux distro (like Ubuntu) to see if the same problem arouses (knowing my computer, it probably will)?

2) Would a full install to USB drive be worse, performance-wise, than a hard drive install?
#1: No point to trying Ubuntu, as it's actually the Ubuntu installer you're using here. What might be worth trying is LMDE (Mint's non-Ubuntu version). Or any non-Ubuntu derivative you've considered trying, e.g., MX Linux.

#2: Performance isn't as good, especially as you're presumably going to be running it through a 2.0 port (albeit with a 3.0 drive), but it's pretty good. Good enough, in my experience, to be not frustrating. And will give you enough exposure to the OS to decide whether it's worth pursuing.
pbear, this is the first time I have seen a Win7/Linux dual boot installation on a GPT drive. Win7 can be installed on GPT by installing additional drivers during Win7 installation (I have done a Win7 install on a GPT 3TB HDD) and some how Win7 can boot without Windows boot manager installed in the MBR. With legacy installation, Mint bootloader would install on the MBR also but where would a legacy mode Mint boot loader be installed on a GPT drive? And how would the legacy BIOS find the Mint boot loader? Is there a 3rd party boot loader that will work in this situation?

Manny_F, did you setup Win7 yourself or was this an OEM/3rd party install?
Mint Mate 19.1. Main rig is HP 800G2 I5 6500 16GB ram, 120GB boot drive, 2x3TB, 1x4TB data drives. Oldest rig is Mate 18.3 on Dell D620 with 32bits core duo.

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