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[Solved] sda, sdb, boot order and dual-boot questions

Posted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 9:03 pm
by FrankB616
My wife's machine has two drives. lsblk shows that sda is the Win10 mechanical disk. sdb is the SSD with (currently) Kubuntu Linux 14.04 that I added to this machine myself. I have had a helluva time getting that machine to boot Linux. It wants to boot Windows on each restart. I have to interrupt the boot and choose Linux. Why, and what can I do about it?

I am guessing that because the Win10 disk is sda, then it has a preference to boot from there, and GRUB just can't seem to get around that. In fact, it seems that this 2 yr old Lenovo slimline desktop never even SEES grub on a restart.

Is sda/sdb governed by the physical connection of the disk to the motherboard? If so, then I can just change the plugs on the motherboard before I begin a fresh install of Mint 19.1.

If this is not the solution, then can someone please point me in the right direction before I begin again?

Thanks!

Frank.

Re: sda, sdb, boot order and dual-boot questions

Posted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 9:15 pm
by RIH
I have the same setup as you - but with Windows 7 on the HDD sda1 - you certainly don't need to go physically altering your computer.

What you need to do, when installing Mint on sdb, is to ensure that the bootloader goes onto the Windows sda drive - Mint install gives you the option to put it on any disk.
Hence sda will fire up at start up but bootloader will kick in & you will be presented with the option to load Mint or Windows.

You may be able to alter where boot is located after install via terminal, but that is a bit above my pay grade.. :D
Windows hard disk.png
Mint SSD.png

Re: sda, sdb, boot order and dual-boot questions

Posted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 9:42 pm
by FrankB616
Perfect! And good to know.

However, can I avoid the whole problem by replugging the disks? Is their physical connection what differentiates sda from sdb? The old PATA drives had jumpers. The new ones don't.

I'd rather physically order the disks if I can, as Linux is our primary operating system. I only keep Windows around 'just in case' (though that 'case' has not happened in the 20 years I've been using Linux). I'd rather have the Linux SSD be the primary boot device. And, in fact, I would like to shrink the Win 10 partition and use the rest of that mechanical disk for Linux storage.

Thanks.

Frank.

Re: sda, sdb, boot order and dual-boot questions

Posted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:00 pm
by RIH
You should be able to achieve what you want by simply going into BIOS boot order & change the first priority to the SSD.

Re: sda, sdb, boot order and dual-boot questions

Posted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:08 pm
by athi
FrankB616 wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 9:42 pm
Perfect! And good to know.

However, can I avoid the whole problem by replugging the disks? Is their physical connection what differentiates sda from sdb? The old PATA drives had jumpers. The new ones don't.

I'd rather physically order the disks if I can, as Linux is our primary operating system. I only keep Windows around 'just in case' (though that 'case' has not happened in the 20 years I've been using Linux). I'd rather have the Linux SSD be the primary boot device. And, in fact, I would like to shrink the Win 10 partition and use the rest of that mechanical disk for Linux storage.

Thanks.

Frank.
You can set drive boot sequence in BIOS setup without having to change the physical connections. If you do have PATA HDD, that has to be an older machine to have IDE connector and the connector may not fit the new HDD anyway. To confirm, please boot into Mint and run below commands in Terminal (ctrl+alt+t) to output system information and post results. This would aid us in assisting you.

Code: Select all

inxi -Fxz

Code: Select all

sudo parted -l

Re: sda, sdb, boot order and dual-boot questions

Posted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:22 pm
by FrankB616
RIH wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:00 pm
You should be able to achieve what you want by simply going into BIOS boot order & change the first priority to the SSD.
Right! I had forgotten about that!

I will be updating her machine next week. I'll have a look.

Thanks!

Frank.

Re: sda, sdb, boot order and dual-boot questions

Posted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:27 pm
by FrankB616
athi:
You can set drive boot sequence in BIOS setup without having to change the physical connections. If you do have PATA HDD, that has to be an older machine to have IDE connector and the connector may not fit the new HDD anyway. To confirm, please boot into Mint and run below commands in Terminal (ctrl+alt+t) to output system information and post results. This would aid us in assisting you.
No PATA disks. Was just mentioning that in passing. This Lenovo is only a couple of years old.

Yes, I had forgotten about changing the boot order in BIOS. I don't get into the hardware very often. I tend to buy a machine, do an LTS install, and then just use it for 4 to 6 years. I forget in the intervening time. :-)

Thanks for the help!

Frank.

Re: sda, sdb, boot order and dual-boot questions

Posted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:47 pm
by athi
FrankB616 wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 9:03 pm
My wife's machine has two drives. lsblk shows that sda is the Win10 mechanical disk. sdb is the SSD with (currently) Kubuntu Linux 14.04 that I added to this machine myself. I have had a helluva time getting that machine to boot Linux. It wants to boot Windows on each restart. I have to interrupt the boot and choose Linux. Why, and what can I do about it?

I am guessing that because the Win10 disk is sda, then it has a preference to boot from there, and GRUB just can't seem to get around that. In fact, it seems that this 2 yr old Lenovo slimline desktop never even SEES grub on a restart.

Is sda/sdb governed by the physical connection of the disk to the motherboard? If so, then I can just change the plugs on the motherboard before I begin a fresh install of Mint 19.1.

If this is not the solution, then can someone please point me in the right direction before I begin again?

Thanks!

Frank.
On a newer Lenovo and Win10, you most likely have a UEFI mode installation. There are a few things that you need to do to ensure a smooth installation. You installed Kubuntu 14.04, which does not requires disabling of secure boot since Ubuntu has a MS issued secure boot EFI key. Mint does not have MS issued secure boot EFI key, so you will have to disable secure boot in UEFI before installation. Below is a link to Pjotr excellent tutorial to preparations needed for a successful Win10/Mint UEFI installation. Also, please confirm that SATA mode is set to AHCI mode in BIOS setup.
https://easylinuxtipsproject.blogspot.c ... ws-10.html

Re: sda, sdb, boot order and dual-boot questions

Posted: Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:16 am
by FrankB616
athi:
On a newer Lenovo and Win10, you most likely have a UEFI mode installation. There are a few things that you need to do to ensure a smooth installation. You installed Kubuntu 14.04, which does not requires disabling of secure boot since Ubuntu has a MS issued secure boot EFI key. Mint does not have MS issued secure boot EFI key, so you will have to disable secure boot in UEFI before installation. Below is a link to Pjotr excellent tutorial to preparations needed for a successful Win10/Mint UEFI installation. Also, please confirm that SATA mode is set to AHCI mode in BIOS setup.
Thank you. Yes, I have run into that issue already with a previous version of Mint/KDE on that machine, and did not know why. I have also received some help from Pjotr on another issue with setup on Mint 19.1 on my laptop, and he linked me to his blog. A truly excellent resource. I need to take some time and read through it before I install on the Lenovo.

Thank you again for the pointers!

Frank.

Re: sda, sdb, boot order and dual-boot questions

Posted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 3:25 pm
by FrankB616
OK, just closing off this thread. The firmware in this Lenovo just will NOT allow me to boot from anything other than the Windows bootloader. Any attempt to reorder things meets with Windows attempting to repair my changes, or the firmware resetting things back the way it was on its own. Oh well. I just disconnected the Windows disk entirely, and now everything works just fine. It can now join the 3 or 4 other Windows system disks that I have on a shelf downstairs, waiting for the day that I put it back in to sell the machine to someone else, or else wipe and repurpose it.

I'm marking this solved.

Frank.