View Full Version : 13.04 upgrade fails to boot

Peter Bell
April 30th, 2013, 10:11 AM
I have already upgraded an old core2 duo (32 bit) laptop from 12.10 to 13.04 and that went fine.

I next attempted to upgrade one of my desktop machines (Intel DH55TC/i3-530 system), also previously running 12.10. This was a fairly new install - the hardware having been redeployed from file server service.

I left the online update running at night as I went to bed. At 3am we had a power cut. When the power returned, I rebooted the machine and it came up in 12.10 still. I restarted the online update - it seemed to be aware that it had already downloaded many of the required files and appeared to continue from where it had been interrupted.

However when the update completed and the machine rebooted it starts Grub (2,00-7ubuntu11). If I select the first option 'Ubuntu' I get a plain purple screen with nothing else on it, no row of dotsm no icons, no anything.

If I select the 'Advanced options for Ubuntu' I am offered various kernel options: 3.5.0-17-generic, -25, -26
& -27, normal and recovery modes.

Selecting any of the normal modes, I get the 'Loading Linux 5.5.0-17-generic ...' message, followed by 'Loading initial ramdisk ...'. An underline cursor is positioned on the third line, not flashing, all on a purple screen. Nothing I type on the keyboard has any effect.

If I choose a recovery kernel the system hangs at 'fb: conflicting fb hw usage inteldrmfb vs EFI VGA - removing generic driver', followed by a non-flashing cursor on the next line.

If I select edit on the 'Ubuntu' option it appears that it is still trying to boot a 3.5.0-27-generic kernel. I thought that 13.04 should be running a 3.8 kernel. Anyway, I remove 'quiet splash vt.handoff=7' and replace with ' nosplash --verbose text'. On hitting F10 I simply get the same empty purple screen I had with the default boot.

At this point, suspecting that I have a broken upgrade, I created a bootable flash stick with 13.04 on it, believeing that I would simply be able to re-install 13.04.

This is not to be - the stick boots fine and I get a 13.04 install option. However, when I try that it complains about not having a 'reserved bios boot area' partition. There are two 1MB free space partitons on the disk, but attempts to change either of these to a 'reserved bios boot area' results in a message that all the constraints for this partition cannot be met. Eventually partman crashes.

Now, I don't have a problem with reformatting this system and starting over. However, I won't be so relaxed if I end up in the same state on my my main desktop machine which has very similar hardware - Intel DH55HC/I5-650 - and losing all my installed programs etc.

April 30th, 2013, 01:35 PM
before reformatting , maybe try again to repair that broken installation from the recovery mode: activate the network, then choose "dpkg" for trying to fix the mess, and finally (if you succeed) select "continue booting"

Peter Bell
May 1st, 2013, 01:01 AM
Thanks for the advice - but I wasn't able to even boot into a recovery mode, all I could boot was the usb stick.

Anyway, I went ahead and performed the repair, clicking 'Ignore' on all the warnings about needing a 'reserved bios boot area'. Eventually it allowed me to go ahead and perform the repair. This was successful and the machine is now up and running again, on 13.04.

I have to say that it was a little disconcerting while the repair was running - there were no informational/progress messages on screen. The only way I had of judging whether something was happening was by observing the flash patterns on the hard disk and usb stick access lights.

Anyway, I have now gone ahead and started the upgrade on my main desktop machine ... fingers crossed!