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Thread: Trouble installing Ubuntu from USB - NVIDIA and no UEFI options

  1. #1
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    Trouble installing Ubuntu from USB - NVIDIA and no UEFI options

    Hi, I've been trying and failing at installing a fresh Ubuntu OS on my lab desktop.

    It allows me to "Try without installing" but freezes on the "partition" part of the installation, and no existing partitions show up.

    My computer specs are:
    - AMD Phenom II X4 820 Quad Core
    - NVIDIA GeForce 9100
    - 8GB DDR3 ram
    - 1 Terabyte HDD

    The original installation came with Windows 7, but it's been wiped from the system. It also used to have an old version of Fedora, but it needed updating. However, any previous attempt at updating failed miserably (presumably due to trouble with the NVIDIA card drivers). Now there is nothing on the boot.

    Attempted fixes:
    1. I tried adding "nomodeset" and "acpi=off" to the boot options, but that didn't fix it.
    2. I tried going into the Boot menu (the blue and grey screen) to enable UEFI mode, but no such option was available.

    Observations:
    I tried to do a "boot-repair" from the "try without installing" mode (as per instructions here https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Boot-Repair), and this was the result https://paste.ubuntu.com/p/TWDgKxfmfH/
    Maybe it gives some hints as to what's happening.

    I'm a beginner with Ubuntu and don't have much of any experience troubleshooting these problems. I'll be really grateful for any help!
    Last edited by peaflower; December 9th, 2020 at 12:04 AM. Reason: added info about Fedora

  2. #2
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    Re: Trouble installing Ubuntu from USB - NVIDIA and no UEFI options

    Here's more information, result of
    sudo fdisk -l
    df -h

    ```
    ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo fdisk -l
    Disk /dev/loop0: 1.98 GiB, 2103640064 bytes, 4108672 sectors
    Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes


    Disk /dev/loop1: 29.9 MiB, 31334400 bytes, 61200 sectors
    Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes


    Disk /dev/loop2: 54.98 MiB, 57626624 bytes, 112552 sectors
    Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes


    Disk /dev/loop3: 255.58 MiB, 267980800 bytes, 523400 sectors
    Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes


    Disk /dev/loop4: 62.9 MiB, 65105920 bytes, 127160 sectors
    Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes


    Disk /dev/loop5: 49.8 MiB, 52203520 bytes, 101960 sectors
    Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes


    Disk /dev/sda: 14.55 GiB, 15610576896 bytes, 30489408 sectors
    Disk model: DataTraveler 2.0
    Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    Disklabel type: dos
    Disk identifier: 0x56f48570

    Device Boot Start End Sectors Size Id Type
    /dev/sda1 * 0 5439487 5439488 2.6G 0 Empt
    /dev/sda2 5017392 5025327 7936 3.9M ef EFI
    /dev/sda3 5439488 30489407 25049920 12G 83 Linu
    ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ df -h
    Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
    udev 3.7G 0 3.7G 0% /dev
    tmpfs 771M 9.4M 762M 2% /run
    /dev/sda1 2.6G 2.6G 0 100% /cdrom
    /dev/loop0 2.0G 2.0G 0 100% /rofs
    /cow 3.8G 167M 3.7G 5% /
    /dev/disk/by-label/writable 12G 50M 12G 1% /var/log
    tmpfs 3.8G 19M 3.8G 1% /dev/shm
    tmpfs 5.0M 8.0K 5.0M 1% /run/lock
    tmpfs 3.8G 0 3.8G 0% /sys/fs/cgroup
    tmpfs 3.8G 536K 3.8G 1% /tmp
    /dev/loop1 30M 30M 0 100% /snap/snapd/8542
    /dev/loop2 55M 55M 0 100% /snap/core18/1880
    /dev/loop3 256M 256M 0 100% /snap/gnome-3-34-1804/36
    /dev/loop4 63M 63M 0 100% /snap/gtk-common-themes/1506
    /dev/loop5 50M 50M 0 100% /snap/snap-store/467
    tmpfs 771M 52K 771M 1% /run/user/999
    ```

  3. #3
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    Re: Trouble installing Ubuntu from USB - NVIDIA and no UEFI options

    sda appears to be your install media, and no other disks are seen. Check the cables? What disks are seen from the BIOS?

  4. #4
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    Re: Trouble installing Ubuntu from USB - NVIDIA and no UEFI options

    UEFI is firmware just like BIOS is firmware. If you have one you don't have the other.
    "UEFI mode" refers to the proper mode the OS or OSes should be installed in UEFI hardware, oppose to the alternative Legacy/CSM/"BIOS" mode still allowed by some UEFIs for retro-compatibility.

    Now, your hardware is old enough to be BIOS therefore it makes no sense to "enable UEFI mode" and your "1 Terabyte HDD" is not even detected. Is it at least recognized in BIOS? Probably not because very likely defective.

  5. #5
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    Re: Trouble installing Ubuntu from USB - NVIDIA and no UEFI options

    Thanks guys for the replies. So I can't see the HDD in the BIOS. Thing is, it was working find until I tried installing a new OS a while back, so I feel like I messed something up rather than the HD becoming defective at that exact point. I don't know what cables I should check, do I have to open the desktop case and look inside?

    This is the initial startup screen

  6. #6
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    Re: Trouble installing Ubuntu from USB - NVIDIA and no UEFI options

    Time to open it up, and check the cables (or that the disk is still present! Someone in the lab might have repurposed it ;^D).

  7. #7
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    Re: Trouble installing Ubuntu from USB - NVIDIA and no UEFI options

    The drive is old and already passes its best by date years ago. It was probably an "accident waiting to happen" precipitated by the installation attempt but not due to user error.

    Yes, please check the cables as suggested above, just in case. Open the case, find the HDD and re-seat the cables, both data and power, and the data one on both extremities. Boot again and check if now it's detected.

  8. #8
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    Re: Trouble installing Ubuntu from USB - NVIDIA and no UEFI options

    Ok so I opened it up, apart from being a bit dusty everything is there. I cleaned out a bit of the dust and unplugged the two hard drive cables and plugged them back in again.

    When I turned it on, the HD still wasn't recognized, but a new error came saying "System Fan Has Failed. Service PC to prevent damage to the system" even though both fans are clearly running (and one is connected to the PCB where it says "system fan".
    No idea what's going on.

    Edit: Just unplugged the fan from the motherboard, blew on it and plugged it back in, and now the fan error is gone... I'll try doing the same thing to the hard drive cables.
    Last edited by peaflower; December 9th, 2020 at 01:19 AM.

  9. #9
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    Re: Trouble installing Ubuntu from USB - NVIDIA and no UEFI options

    It doesn't look like its a problem with the hard drive, or the cables. I tried replacing the cables, and also tried with two other hard drives we had lying around. Every time it was still the same problem, no HD detected on the startup bios screen. Could it be a software/firmware issue, and would there be a way to check that from the bootable USB?

  10. #10
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    Re: Trouble installing Ubuntu from USB - NVIDIA and no UEFI options

    No, it's not a software issue. BIOS is before any software.

    If other known good HDDs and cables produce the same result then it's likely the motherboard. Have you tried other SATA ports? Your screenshot suggests you have at least another 3...

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