Clean install leaves no boot option in UEFI (17.1 [Solved]

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Akelbee
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Clean install leaves no boot option in UEFI (17.1 [Solved]

Post by Akelbee » Wed Jan 28, 2015 6:26 pm

After first having unsuccessfully tried to make a clean single boot installation of LM 17.1 Mate 32 bit on my old T30 ThinkPad which ran nicely on LM 16 Mate, and ran into a boot problem that nobody else with same problem have gotten any answer to in this forum, I am now also stuck in installing Mint 17.1 on another laptop – and really starting to lose confidence in Mint 17.1. (I have installed several versions of Linux (Ubuntu and Mint up to LM16) on various ThinkPads (with BIOS'es) during the last 8 years, automatic installations always working like a breeze with no need for manual interventions.)

This time I am trying to install LM 17.1 Cinnamon 64 bit on my brand new Samsung Ativa 900X ultrabook with UEFI. (This is my first encounter with UEFI.)
Upon getting the laptop out of its box, I immediately pulled out the original 128 GB SSD, and substituted a completely new Samsung EVO 250 GB. (In this way I have an original Windows fall back I can use if Mint fails and I will have to sell this wonderfully light 1.1 kg Ativa).

The new disk is identified in UEFI showing its name/specs. I can see no options in the Boot sequence list in UEFI, but after disabling Secure Boot (CSM disabled as default) and attaching my USB DVD player, the live LM DVD starts booting and seemingly runs quite ordinary on the PC, and thereafter seemingly performs successfully an ordinary plain install with no fancy extras.
However, when trying to boot from the SSD, I'm only told that the PC has exhausted its boot list without finding any boot options. The UEFI Boot sections still shows an empty boot list (after removing the USB DVD player). This is still the situation after a completely new wipe-out install (where I made certain that I had waited long enough to be sure hadn't opened the DVD-player before the player blinked to signal that it could be opened to remove the DVD – by continue running a bit from the DVD after installation so as to shut down ordinarily from DVD before starting anew without DVD-player attached).

Running from the live DVD I have looked at the SSD with gparted, and the SSD has a small 540 MB FAT 32 partition, the large ext4 LM 17 partition and at the end the swap partition corresponding to the 4 GB RAM ( - I'm wondering though about the usefulness of a swap partition on a SSD, but that I think is quite another matter…). I see nothing in gparted that specifically indicates anything like "root", "boot"/"bootable" for the partitions.

gparted also indicates a small 1 MB unused part of the SSD before the FAT partition. Could this have something to do for the boot problem?

(Although I have used Linux for quite some years as a happy end user, I have had little need to work "under the hood", and am more of a n00b in that respect.)
Last edited by Akelbee on Sun Feb 01, 2015 10:27 am, edited 2 times in total.

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gold_finger
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Re: Clean intall leaves no boot option in UEFI (17.1 64 Cinn

Post by gold_finger » Wed Jan 28, 2015 8:08 pm

Akelbee wrote:gparted also indicates a small 1 MB unused part of the SSD before the FAT partition. Could this have something to do for the boot problem?
Is that a 1MB partition that shows up as "Unknown"? (Does it have a device name -- eg. /dev/sda1 ?) Or is it just unused space, not partitioned and with no corresponding device name?

If it's a partition, then you may have accidentally installed in Legacy mode but have computer set to boot in UEFI mode. If that's the case, change settings to boot in Legacy/CSM mode and see if it now boots. If so, you can convert it to UEFI if you want to, or leave it as is and use CSM booting instead of UEFI.

If it's not a partition, then that's not a problem -- something else is wrong. Boot with your live Mint disk again, open GParted and point it at the internal SSD. Take a screenshot of the window showing the partitions and post it back here using the "Upload attachment" tab. (If it won't accept screenshot, rename it so it no longer has timestamp format. Use simple name like gparted.png and try uploading again.)

Also while in live Mint, open a terminal and enter following two commands:

Code: Select all

ls /sys/firmware
sudo parted -l
(last command ends in a lowercase letter "L", not a number 1)

Copy output of both and paste it back here for us to see.
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Re: Clean intall leaves no boot option in UEFI (17.1 64 Cinn

Post by Akelbee » Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:09 pm

Thanks for replying
- and sorry for providing a little misinformation: It is not gparted that shows this small 1 Mb plot, designated "free space" under /dev/sda, besides /dev/sda1 and the other 2 sda-partitions, but the install program on the live DVD when opting for manual partitioning under a reinstall.
gParted shows only the 3 proper partitions and flags sda1 as boot / as you will see in attached screenshot.
Attachments
terminal.png
gparted.png

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Re: Clean intall leaves no boot option in UEFI (17.1 64 Cinn

Post by gold_finger » Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:02 am

Your ls /sys/firmware output has "efi" listed, so that confirms that the DVD did properly boot in UEFI mode -- good.
Akelbee wrote:It is not gparted that shows this small 1 Mb plot, designated "free space" under /dev/sda, besides /dev/sda1 and the other 2 sda-partitions, but the install program on the live DVD when opting for manual partitioning under a reinstall.
Ok -- then it's nothing to worry about and is not the cause of the problem.


parted -l output shows drive is properly using "gpt" partitions -- good. It also shows one FAT32 formatted partition and GParted has it flagged as "boot" -- also good. The FAT32 formatted partition is supposed to be used as the EFI System Partition and that's where the bootloader should have been installed to. Maybe bootloader didn't get installed properly? So, we'll see if we can fix that first and if that doesn't work give alternative for you to retry installing with.

Try to fix first by downloading Boot-Repair to live Mint DVD and running it.
  • -- Boot live Mint DVD again and open a terminal
    -- First, confirm again that "efi" is listed by this command to make sure it booted in UEFI mode:

    Code: Select all

    ls /sys/firmware
    -- Assuming "yes" it's listed -- good. Now, follow directions here to install Boot-Repair to live DVD (2nd Option).
    -- Run the "Recommended Repair", save the pastebin URL it spits out just in case we need to refer to it.
    -- Hopefully that properly sets up grub-efi in the EFI System Partition (FAT32 partition) and fixes problem.
    -- When done, shutdown, remove live DVD, reboot and see if it now works.
If that didn't work, post back the pastebin URL for us to look at.

Or,

Try a reinstall, but this time do everything manually instead of letting the installer automate the install.
  • -- Boot live Mint and open GParted
    -- Delete all partitions currently on the disk (right-click Swap partition and choose "Swapoff" first, then delete)
    -- Hit "Apply" button, or go to Edit -> Apply All Operations to finalize the deletions.
    -- Click to highlight free space and now make each of the partitions you want one at a time:
    • * 512MB FAT32 partition
      * Root partition, Ext4, rest of space less 4GB for Swap (or 25GB for Root if you want to add a large /home partition)
      * (Optional) Home partition, Ext4, rest of space less what's used for Root and Swap
      * Swap partition, linux-swap, 4GB
      * Hit "Apply" to finalize your new partitions
      * Close GParted when done
    -- Start installer and select "Something else" installation type
    -- See this tutorial for rest of instructions. You can skip all the way down to "Installing Linux" section and start after the discussion of using GParted where it says: "After making the partitions ahead of time, ...."
    -- Make special note to check that the FAT32 partition has "Use as = EFI boot partition" and that "Device for boot loader installation" is set to use that FAT32 partition (not the MBR of the drive -- not /dev/sda).
    -- Finish installation as normal, shutdown and reboot when done. Hopefully it works this time.
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Re: Clean intall leaves no boot option in UEFI (17.1 64 Cinn

Post by Akelbee » Thu Jan 29, 2015 5:26 am

Thanks again, gold_finger,
But your first alternative did not do the trick.
For various reasons I cannot perform your second alternative until laiter this afternoon, but hopefully in the mean time the following pastebin URL may contain something useful:
http://paste2org/_67x86X87

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Re: Clean intall leaves no boot option in UEFI (17.1 64 Cinn

Post by Akelbee » Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:59 am

Sorry, there was a missing dot in the URL, the correct is:
http://paste2.org/_67x86X87 .

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Re: Clean intall leaves no boot option in UEFI (17.1 64 Cinn

Post by gold_finger » Thu Jan 29, 2015 8:23 am

From pasted link, looks like EFI grub files weren't originally installed to sda1 like they were supposed to be. Boot-Repair looks like it tried to fix that, but apparently didn't succeed. I don't know enough to advise on other way to fix.

Think best bet is to go with 2nd option -- wipe out what's on drive and start over doing "Something else" manual setup. That way you can direct installer to use that EFI System Partition from the start and it should then work.


P.s.
Akelbee wrote:After first having unsuccessfully tried to make a clean single boot installation of LM 17.1 Mate 32 bit on my old T30 ThinkPad which ran nicely on LM 16 Mate, and ran into a boot problem that nobody else with same problem have gotten any answer to in this forum
If we get this UEFI problem solved, can you give brief explanation of what problem you ran into on other machine that couldn't be solved. I don't see any post to forum from you on that one and I'm curious since you had Mint 16 running on that system fine before.
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Re: Clean instal leaves no boot option in UEFI (17.1 64 Cinn

Post by Akelbee » Thu Jan 29, 2015 9:46 pm

Well, I've now followed the procedure suggested and partitioned the disk with gParted from live DVD and then performed a new install with custom disk handling ("Something else"), using the partions already created, and exited properly from the DVD - but to no awail. The Boot section of the BIOS Configuration screen still shows no alternatives under the Boot Device Priority list, and attempting to boot from the SSD once more results in the message that "All boot options are tried".

(Is there something strange with the use of the term "BIOS" on this new PC - rather than EFI? The "Aptio Setup Utility" is titled Samsung BIOS Configuration and refers to BIOS Version, but OS Mode Selection is set to UEFI OS.)

The question is: What now? (This PC is actually too light to be used as a paper weight....)

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Re: Clean install leaves no boot option in UEFI (17.1 64 Cin

Post by Akelbee » Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:18 pm

Upon some further search:

According to the Wikipedia information on the firmware manufactuer American Megtrends Incorporte, their Aptio Setup Utility is "a successor to AMIBIOS8 based on the UEFI standard", ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Megatrends ), so I should have given no misinformation by initially refering to UEFI in this thread.

However, In wikipedia I also found this worrrisome iniformation under UEFI:
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unified_Ex ... are_issues )

"In January 2013, a bug surrounding the UEFI implementation on some Samsung laptops was publicized, which caused them to be bricked after installing a Linux distribution in UEFI mode. While potential conflicts with a kernel module designed to access system features on Samsung laptops were initially blamed (also prompting kernel maintainers to disable the module on UEFI systems as a safety measure), Matthew Garrett uncovered that the bug was actually triggered by storing too many UEFI variables to memory, and that the bug could also be triggered under Windows as well under special conditions. In conclusion, he determined that the offending kernel module had caused kernel message dumps to be written to the firmware, thus triggering the bug."

However a search in Community Hardware Database results in a couple of very similar Samsung (Serie9) NP900X3 ultrabooks that "Works fine with some minor problems" on Qiana, so I shouldn't think this has anything to do with my problems.

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Re: Clean install leaves no boot option in UEFI (17.1 64 Cin

Post by Akelbee » Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:45 pm

The Samsung UEFI bug seems to have lead to a protection being incorporated into the Linux 3.8 kernel.
http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/ ... 95332.html

So I definitely think my problem now (kernel 3.14) should not have anyting to do with said bug.

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Re: Clean install leaves no boot option in UEFI (17.1 64 Cin

Post by gold_finger » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:52 am

I'm at a loss on how to solve EFI booting problem.

Best bet might just be to change UEFI/(BIOS) settings to boot the computer in CSM/Legacy mode instead and redo the installation that way. The boot mode won't hurt performance of the installed system.

Before installing, use GParted from the live disk:
  • -- wipe out current partitions (probably need to right-click Swap, choose "Swapoff" before trying to delete it)
    -- then go to Device -> Create Partition Table -> "msdos" -> OK to make an MBR partition table.
    -- create your partitions again in GParted
    -- since this is an SSD, leave 25GB space unpartitioned at end of drive. (I forgot to mention that before.) See here for info on optimizing for SSD's. (You might want to read that link before beginning the installation. There might be other info there you find useful before installing.)
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Re: Clean install leaves no boot option in UEFI (17.1 64 Cin

Post by Akelbee » Sat Jan 31, 2015 6:08 am

Thanks a lot gold_finger!
This is the alternative route I also have been contemplating, but not yet have had time to test, so I greatly appreciate your further instructions in that respect. I have also thought of trying to install the 32 bit version to see if there could be any differences - alternatively the Mate versions.
Hope to be able to do something in this respect during the weekend.

As for the T30, I will later on today open a new thread on that one, and leave a link to it here.

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Re: Clean install leaves no boot option in UEFI (17.1 64 Cin

Post by gold_finger » Sat Jan 31, 2015 8:56 am

32-bit versions must be installed in Legacy mode. 64-bit versions can be installed either way (although your machine doesn't seem to be cooperating with UEFI mode install).

P.s. Forgot about this before:
Akelbee wrote:Is there something strange with the use of the term "BIOS" on this new PC - rather than EFI?
Yes. Many manufacturers continue to use the term "BIOS" in a generic way even though it is technically incorrect. (Kind of like how in Microsoft lingo hard drives and partitions on drives are all called "drives" even though they're not the same thing. Drive = the physical device itself. Partitions = divisions of storage space on the drive.) Companies apparently think we're all too stupid to learn the distinctions, so they dumb things down ... which of-course ensures that most never do learn.

P.s.s. Just stumbled on another link referred to by someone else here on forum about optimizing SSD's: https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/ssd.
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Re: Clean install leaves no boot option in UEFI (17.1 64 Cin

Post by Akelbee » Sun Feb 01, 2015 9:28 am

When we change to installing in CSM/Legacy mode, shall the 512 MB fat32 "partition" still be included in the formatting of the disk.
(It has been designated as "EFI System Partition" in instructions on how to install/boot under UEFI. )

I included it in the preformatting of the disk with gParted. When I arrange the partitioning under installation ("Something else"), I indicate it as a fat32-type but indicate no mounting point, and also indicate it as the device for bootloader installation. I then get a warning (before commencing install) that no mount point is indicated, and that this part of the disk will not be used.

Does the system by its own include a boot section i Legacy-mode, so that we dont need to create this 512 MB manually?

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Re: Clean install leaves no boot option in UEFI (17.1 64 Cin

Post by Akelbee » Sun Feb 01, 2015 10:25 am

Whatever - installing this way in CSM/Legacy mode did the trick.
My Samsung Ativa Serie 9 NP900X3G-K03SE is now up and running on Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon 64 bit - thank goodnes, no Windows on this PC ever!

Before now diving into the details of what HW-specific features that may not fully work (as indicated in the Hardware base by postings from other NP900 owners, like http://community.linuxmint.com/hardware/view/15385), I will like to thank you very much, gold-finger.
You made one man very happy with your efforts used to assist me in this thread.
Thanks a lot!

SOLVED! ( - except that we still may wonder why the UEFI-mode installation did not work - as was the topic indicated as the subject of the thread ....)

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Re: Clean install leaves no boot option in UEFI (17.1 [Solve

Post by gold_finger » Sun Feb 01, 2015 11:28 pm

Akelbee wrote:When we change to installing in CSM/Legacy mode, shall the 512 MB fat32 "partition" still be included in the formatting of the disk.
Sorry, didn't have time to check back earlier but to answer the question -- no, the FAT32 partition doesn't get used in Legacy mode install. It would be safe to delete it. If you left it there, you can just keep it on the drive -- it won't hurt anything and is just sitting there unused.
Akelbee wrote:Whatever - installing this way in CSM/Legacy mode did the trick.
Glad it worked out.
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