[SOLVED] Will TIMESHIFT restore /boot/efi partition? [Yes]

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Jerry N
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[SOLVED] Will TIMESHIFT restore /boot/efi partition? [Yes]

Post by Jerry N »

In testing a Mint20 install on my UEFI based system, I seemed to have hosed up the boot of my main OS, Mint 19.3 Mate. Will TIMESHIFT restore the boot partition and make Mint 19.3 boot correctly again? Can I just let TIMESHIFT restore the EFI boot? Mint 19.3 is installed on an nvme drive.

Jerry
Last edited by Jerry N on Tue Sep 22, 2020 11:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Pierre
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Re: Will TIMESHIFT restore /boot/efi partition?

Post by Pierre »

you can try that out,
but it's more likely to be, that only the LinuxMint System files .. would get restore.
& those EFI files may not be, part of that system file list.

what were you doing in that EFI boot area ?.
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Please edit your original post title to include [SOLVED] - when your problem is solved!
and DO LOOK at those Unanswered Topics - - you may be able to answer some!.
Jerry N
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Re: Will TIMESHIFT restore /boot/efi partition?

Post by Jerry N »

"what were you doing in that EFI boot area ?."
I didn't know I was! My main OS on that computer is Mint 19.3 on an nvme drive. I was making a test install of Mint 20 on an SSD and I seem to have missed something because it didn't install as a UEFI drive. It did not show up on the list of bootable drives on my ASUS UEFI BIOS. I then discovered that the nvme drive (with Mint 19.3) does not boot although it still shows up on bootable UEFI drive list. It pops up with with a grub 2 message and offers to let me access grub 2. I assume something happened to the EFI boot area when I was installing or booting Mint 20. The EFI boot partition on the nvme drive still shows all the normal files. Mint 20 boots just fine as a normal BIOS based drive and shows Mint 19.3 on the list of options during bootup. So I can still get to Mint 19.3.

I have never done any kind of restoration from timeshift. When I look at the RESTORE option, I seen a button that says "Bootloader Options (Advanced)". Selecting that I get to a screen entitled "Bootloader Options (as superuser)" and a checkbox that says "(Re)install GRUB 2 on: nvme0n1 ~ Samsung SSD 970 EVO 1TB (1 TB) (MBR)". Another checkboxes say "Update initramfs" and "Update GRUB menu".

Note: At this point, Mint 19.3 and Mint 20 are installed on two separate drives.
pbear
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Re: Will TIMESHIFT restore /boot/efi partition?

Post by pbear »

How many EFI partitions do you have/want? Did you delete the partition, delete the file, or overwrite the files?
If you have more than one EFI partition, I wouldn't assume Timeshift can handle that.
Jerry N
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Problem Solved

Post by Jerry N »

I restored the system to 7/20/20 configuration using timeshift. 56 updates were required. I disconnected the Mint 20 drive so the boot manager on that drive would not get in the way. I confirmed that my Mint 19.3 now boots normally from its efi boot. With the restoration, Mint 19.3 did revert to 4.15xxxx rather that 5.4xxxx. Easy to change but I don't know that it makes any difference.

The question remains: How did I screw up the efi boot when I was messing with Mint 20?

Oh well - it is back to working just like it has for the last 6 months.
pbear
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Re: Problem Solved

Post by pbear »

Jerry N wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 11:43 pm
The question remains: How did I screw up the efi boot when I was messing with Mint 20?
If you answer my questions, I might be able to answer this one. If it's just a rhetorical question, that's okay too.
Jerry N
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Re: [SOLVED] Will TIMESHIFT restore /boot/efi partition? [Yes]

Post by Jerry N »

"How many EFI partitions do you have/want? Did you delete the partition, delete the file, or overwrite the files?
If you have more than one EFI partition, I wouldn't assume Timeshift can handle that."


I assume that by EFI partition you mean the first partition on the drive, which has the "boot,esp" flags, and which mounts to "/boot/efi" on the drive containing Mint 19.3. I want each bootable drive to have its own EFI partition so each can operate independently of the other. I apparently did not accomplish that when I made the test install of Mint 20. Note: Mint 20 was installed on a 1TB SSD drive completely separate from the nvme drive containing Mint 19.3 I did not knowingly delete any partitions or files nor did I knowingly overwrite the files. Something obviously damaged the "/boot/efi" partition on the Mint 19.3 (nvme) drive during the Mint 20 install. Possibly I fumble-fingered during the Mint 20 install. In any case, I will try it again after creating a fresh Timeshift image.

When I got through with the Mint 20 install, Mint 19.3 would only boot from the boot manager on the Mint 20 drive. When I disconnected the Mint 20 drive, Mint 19.3 would not boot at all. Correct function of the Mint 19.3 (nvme drive) was re-established when I did a restoration using Timeshift. The Mint 20 drive is currently disconnected.

Technical Data:
Motherboard is an ASUS ROG STRIX X570-E with an American Megatrends v: 1404 date: 11/08/2019 UEFI BIOS, and 16GB of RAM. CPU is an 8 core AMD Ryzen 7- 3700X. Video board is a GeForce GTX 1650, currently with an NVIDIA 450.66 driver. The nvme drive containing Mint 19.3 is a Samsung model: SSD 970 EVO 1TB. All voltages and clock speeds are at default values -- no overclocking. All has been completely stable for the 6 months prior to my attempted Mint 20 install.

Jerry
pbear
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Re: [SOLVED] Will TIMESHIFT restore /boot/efi partition? [Yes]

Post by pbear »

Mystery solved. There's a bug in the installer. AFAICT, has been there since UEFI support was added circa 2012. What happens is that the installer uses the first EFI partition it finds, even if you used the Something Else method and told it to use a different one. The workaround is either to disconnect the other drive or disable the EFI partition (by temporarily removing the boot/esp flags).

What you can do at this point is install Grub to the second drive manually. Then, specify which EFI partition gets used in the UEFI settings.
Jerry N
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Re: [SOLVED] Will TIMESHIFT restore /boot/efi partition? [Yes]

Post by Jerry N »

pbear:

OK - maybe I didn't screw up the install all by myself! It is a bit (or a whole lot!) inconvenient to temporarily unplug a nmve drive that is hidden under a heat sink. It might work to disable it in the UEFI while I am installing the other drive. Or maybe I could just be really careful this time about what I am doing with the partitions during the install.

Thank you for the very helpful information.

Old Jerry
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Re: [SOLVED] Will TIMESHIFT restore /boot/efi partition? [Yes]

Post by pbear »

In reverse order:
Jerry N wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 5:41 pm
Or maybe I could just be really careful this time about what I am doing with the partitions during the install.
Won't make any difference.
It might work to disable it in the UEFI while I am installing the other drive.

Pretty easy, actually. Here's an example of how I do it for full install to USB drive.

Understand, there's no need for this here. Installing Grub to the second drive manually isn't subject to the bug.
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