Why did Mint wrongfully write to my HD and change my BIOS during install to USB?

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Klawdek
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Why did Mint wrongfully write to my HD and change my BIOS during install to USB?

Post by Klawdek »

I did a full install of Mint to a USB. The point was to NOT change anything on my HD. No warning or indication was given that this would happen. Not only did it write to my HD possible damaging it. But it also changed my BIOS (or UEFI or whatever) to include 2 duplicate and permanent entries for some kind of UBUNTU thing even when the USB stick is not plugged in.

There was not supposed to be any changed to my system and it made very major and possible damaging changes to my system. Now when I boot up when the USB is not present. I get a grub menu that does nothing at all (it is just a command line that says grub) and I have to type exit then it goes to the bios boot menu and I have to select windows. This is unacceptable. I should have been warned that such changes were going to be made to my system.

I would like to have my system put back the way it was.

MINT 17.3
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Re: Why did Mint wrongfully write to my HD and change my BIOS during install to USB?

Post by Pjotr »

You may have installed Mint on the external USB disk, but apparently you forgot to configure the installer to install bootloader Grub on it as well. So now it resides in the Master Boot Record (MBR) of the internal hard disk of your computer. That's why you can only boot now when the USB disk is connected.

If it's any comfort to you: that's a typical beginner's mistake. :)

The solution is, to re-install the Windows bootloader over bootloader Grub, in the MBR. What Windows is it?
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Klawdek
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Re: Why did Mint wrongfully write to my HD and change my BIOS during install to USB?

Post by Klawdek »

Actually this is NOT a beginners mistake. I followed the following instructions and was sure to follow step 7 which is emphasized at the beginning and written in red. I selected the USB there was no confusion. It was clearly labeled and checked very carefully. Mint wrote it to the HD anyway.
http://www.linuxveda.com/2011/05/30/ins ... inux-mint/

I am using windows 8.1

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Re: Why did Mint wrongfully write to my HD and change my BIOS during install to USB?

Post by Pjotr »

Then check your UEFI settings and put the Windows Boot Manager at the top of the list, in the boot priority settings. If you didn't make the beginner's mistake that I described, this should suffice.

Finally: make it a good habit not to apply old how-to's. The how-to you used is from 2011, which was a time when Windows 8 wasn't even released yet....
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Re: Why did Mint wrongfully write to my HD and change my BIOS during install to USB?

Post by karlchen »

Hello, Klawdek.

The linked instruction is from the year 2011, a time when most computers still used MBR to boot from the harddisk, but not EFI boot.
This instruction may or may not be appropriate for EFI boot machines as well. I cannot tell, because my machines are all from the MBR boot era still.

Moreover there is a paragraph all printed in red letters telling the user to make sure that he puts the Grub bootloader on the pendrive device and not on the harddisk.
7. IMP: Now you can see “Device for boot loader installtion” at the bottom of the page. Select the USB drive from the drop down menu. Make sure it is the same USB Device which you noted from the Disk Utility. Select the root of the drive and not the one which is followed by a number. Example: select /sdx and not /sdx1. If you made any mistake at this stage you may wipe the stable partition on your PC.
Above this paragraph there is a screenshot illustrating what paragraph 7 is about.
Image
(Click screenshot to enlarge. Press <Alt><Cursor_left> to return here.)

So chance are you have not followed this part of the instruction carefully enough or not at all.
In brief words: What happened on your system was definitely not caused by a Linux Mint bug, but by something that you did.

Cheers,
Karl
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Klawdek
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Re: Why did Mint wrongfully write to my HD and change my BIOS during install to USB?

Post by Klawdek »

I did follow those instructions. I was well aware of that instruction and I knew what it meant. So I am not sure what could have gone wrong.

When I boot up I get a screen that says grub. It is a command line grub. If I type exit it goes into my boot menu. There are two identical entries. They are:
Ubuntu (WDC WD5000 LPVX - 75votto)

When I pick one of those and the USB plugged in it will then go to a boot menu that lists linux mint and some other things including windows. (I think I forgot about this in my previous post.)

Now when I first used mint I did not get the first grub screen.

Not long after I made the Full install Mint USB I made a live Ubuntu USB with pendrive. I am not sure if I booted into linux mint between then and now, or not. Is possible it was pendrive and Ubuntu and not Linus Mint?

I am not sure how that could happen. I never turn on show all drives. I had to try a few different USBs before I got one that would boot up. So I have made these before and nothing like this happened.

Is it normal to have a command line grub and the boot screen with Mint and uses a menu?

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Re: Why did Mint wrongfully write to my HD and change my BIOS during install to USB?

Post by austin.texas »

Please post the result of the Boot Info Script.
Boot your live Mint and install boot-info-script:

Code: Select all

sudo apt-get install boot-info-script
Then run the script:

Code: Select all

sudo bootinfoscript --stdout | pastebin
Post the resulting URL link that displays in the terminal.
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Rocky Bennett
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Re: Why did Mint wrongfully write to my HD and change my BIOS during install to USB?

Post by Rocky Bennett »

Klawdek wrote:I did follow those instructions. I was well aware of that instruction and I knew what it meant. So I am not sure what could have gone wrong.

When I boot up I get a screen that says grub. It is a command line grub. If I type exit it goes into my boot menu. There are two identical entries. They are:
Ubuntu (WDC WD5000 LPVX - 75votto)

When I pick one of those and the USB plugged in it will then go to a boot menu that lists linux mint and some other things including windows. (I think I forgot about this in my previous post.)

Now when I first used mint I did not get the first grub screen.

Not long after I made the Full install Mint USB I made a live Ubuntu USB with pendrive. I am not sure if I booted into linux mint between then and now, or not. Is possible it was pendrive and Ubuntu and not Linus Mint?

I am not sure how that could happen. I never turn on show all drives. I had to try a few different USBs before I got one that would boot up. So I have made these before and nothing like this happened.

Is it normal to have a command line grub and the boot screen with Mint and uses a menu?

Even though you made a rookie mistake these are easy to avoid by reading very carefully everything before you do it. You just need to follow the directions in the post immediately before mine and it should fix your problem.

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Re: Why did Mint wrongfully write to my HD and change my BIOS during install to USB?

Post by Moem »

Rocky Bennett wrote: Even though you made a rookie mistake these are easy to avoid by reading very carefully everything before you do it.
There's no need to rub the OP's nose in it. Friendly help goes a long way, and this is not it.
Rocky Bennett wrote:You just need to follow the directions in the post immediately before mine and it should fix your problem.
It looks to me like these directions by themselves will not fix anything, they will just provide useful information that will then help people provide the right commands that will fix the problem.
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If your issue is solved, kindly indicate that by editing the first post in the topic, and adding [SOLVED] to the title. Thanks!

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Re: Why did Mint wrongfully write to my HD and change my BIOS during install to USB?

Post by Klawdek »

Here is the link form the script:
http://paste.linuxmint.com/view/yuaq

Thank you for the help.

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austin.texas
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Re: Why did Mint wrongfully write to my HD and change my BIOS during install to USB?

Post by austin.texas »

It apppears that you installed Mint to your USB drive in UEFI mode. However, the USB drive does not have a GPT partitioning scheme, and does not contain a ESP (EFI System Partition) - which is where the bootloader should have been written. I believe that since no ESP existed on the USB, the bootloader (Grub) was added to the existing ESP on the hard drive, since that was the only option. If you had booted your installation media in non-UEFI mode, you could have installed the bootloader to the MBR of the USB, as you intended.
It is now a matter of repairing the information on the ESP on your hard drive to automatically boot Windows, and I believe that should simply be a matter of deleting (or renaming) the files on the ESP which refer to Mint (or Ubuntu).
http://www.rodsbooks.com/linux-uefi/#troubleshooting
http://www.sevenforums.com/installation ... -uefi.html
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Klawdek
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Re: Why did Mint wrongfully write to my HD and change my BIOS during install to USB?

Post by Klawdek »

I appreciate the help but this goes to show that to be a beginner at linux requires a degree in computer science and a few years experience on unix.

I cannot make heads or tails of those links. I am not going to get experimental on a system that I need for work. I put it on a USB specifically so it would not touch my system. And now it is my fault that the pendrive install program, without warning or any reasonable expectation, wrote to my HD and messed up the boot up sequence.

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Re: Why did Mint wrongfully write to my HD and change my BIOS during install to USB?

Post by Moem »

Klawdek wrote:And now it is my fault that the pendrive install program, without warning or any reasonable expectation, wrote to my HD and messed up the boot up sequence.
I'm afraid so. A computer is only a machine; it can only do as it is told. If I accidentally and inadvertedly give it the wrong command, I'm not going to like what happens next, but I can't blame the computer or the software.

I'm sorry to hear you are having such a hard time! People may be able to give you easier, step-by-step instructions to make things right again.
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If your issue is solved, kindly indicate that by editing the first post in the topic, and adding [SOLVED] to the title. Thanks!

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Re: Why did Mint wrongfully write to my HD and change my BIOS during install to USB?

Post by Fred Barclay »

Klawdek wrote:I appreciate the help but this goes to show that to be a beginner at linux requires a degree in computer science and a few years experience on unix.
Nope, just patience and humility. (Not taking a dig at the OP). :)
Actually, I find Unix to be harder than Linux, at least at first.

Let's look at this step-by-step. Can you walk me through the options you chose when installing?
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Re: Why did Mint wrongfully write to my HD and change my BIOS during install to USB?

Post by IoannisM »

austin.texas wrote:It apppears that you installed Mint to your USB drive in UEFI mode. However, the USB drive does not have a GPT partitioning scheme, and does not contain a ESP (EFI System Partition) - which is where the bootloader should have been written. I believe that since no ESP existed on the USB, the bootloader (Grub) was added to the existing ESP on the hard drive, since that was the only option.
Clearly the OP made a mistake in using an out of date how-to. On the other hand, as a beginner myself I don't understand the behaviour you are describing. The OP designated the USB drive as the target of all operations and never involved other drives in the selections. The reasoning (by the program, not by you) that "since no ESP existed on the USB, the bootloader was added to the existing ESP on the hard drive, since that was the only option" is scary. Why was that an option in the first place? If no ESP exists in the USB, I would expect the installation program to tell the OP so, throw an error and either stop the installation or ask permission to write on another drive. Instead, it is performing an unsolicited modification of a hardware component the OP never explicitly designated. I don't think the OP is frustrated without reason.

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Re: Why did Mint wrongfully write to my HD and change my BIOS during install to USB?

Post by karlchen »

Hi, folks.

Let me make one thing clear: No-one is trying to put the blame on the thread starter Klawdek, because it seems quite likely he may have done a step or two in a wrong way.
I do understand the frustration.
Yet, I do not understand that Linux (Mint) gets beaten for something which would pose the same problem if anyone tried to create a portable Windows installation on the same EFI boot machine.

The main difference between installing Linux Mint from scratch and installing Windows from scratch is that
  • the vast majority of users have never installed Windows from scratch on a naked disk device or USB pendrive. Most home computers come with Windows pre-installed. This means somebody else has already done the dirty work for you. A lot of users haven't even got a Windows installation DVD, all they have got a recovery DVD and all they can do is resetting the pre-installed Windows to the factory state with the help of the recovery DVD.
  • If you wish to give Linux (Mint) a try you have to install from scratch yourself. You have to do the dirty work yourself. Of course, in this situation chances are higher that you may make a mistake.
The other thing, relevant in this case, is the difference between MBR bootsector systems and EFI boot systems.
EFI boot has made things a lot more complicated for normal computer users. (Does it bring any advantage to any user at all?)
EFI boot has invalidated quite a few older tutorials, which have been written when harddisks booted from an MBR only.

In a lot of cases it might really be wiser to explain one's plans here first, and not only after having got into serious trouble.
(Just a piece of advice for the future, which will not help Klawdek at the moment.)

Cheers,
Karl
--
P.S.:
By the way, the last really on-topic post, i.e. one where advice was given on how to diagnose and hopefully solve the problem was this one:
>> THIS <<
(Would gladly give some such advice myself, but without having an EFI boot system anywhere around, I simply can't at the moment.)
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Re: Why did Mint wrongfully write to my HD and change my BIOS during install to USB?

Post by IoannisM »

karlchen wrote:Hi, folks.

Let me make one thing clear: No-one is trying to put the blame on the thread starter Klawdek, because it seems quite likely he may have done a step or two in a wrong way.
I do understand the frustration.
Yet, I do not understand that Linux (Mint) gets beaten for something which would pose the same problem if anyone tried to create a portable Windows installation on the same EFI boot machine.
You are right that there is no reason to attack the OS, but the only one doing so is the OP who is emotional over perceived damage to his computer. Any installer, on the other hand, that exhibits the behaviour described by austin.texas, *does* deserve criticism; see my previous post. Finally, the fact that the Windows installer has similar (worse) problems does not justify this behaviour in the linux installer.

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Re: Why did Mint wrongfully write to my HD and change my BIOS during install to USB?

Post by theStreak »

I came across this post due to a similar frustration on my part as that of the OP. In simply trying to install LM 18.1 to a USB stick and despite that I've specified for the installer to make all changes on the USB only (including the boot information), the installer still insists on making changes to the internal hard drive (according to the "confirmation" step of the install). It wants to format the swap partition on my internal hard drive. W-T-F?
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Re: Why did Mint wrongfully write to my HD and change my BIOS during install to USB?

Post by MintBean »

In addition to the good advice about not following instructions from outdated how-tos, it's also wise not to follow how-tos from third party sites without the due level of scepticism/caution.

Mint is a community effort. It is useful (and I would say polite) to give something back by raising bug reports if you find an error. I see a lot of complaints about a problem with the installer, but where are the bug reports? How can users expect bugs to be fixed if they don't report them through the correct channels, with a detailed set of steps to reproduce them where possible?

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