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Thread: Unable to get past GRUB 2.04 when trying to boot or get permissions

  1. #1
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    Unable to get past GRUB 2.04 when trying to boot or get permissions

    This is a continuation of an issue that initially involved Bios & now has migrated to a grub issue.
    See the entire discussion at: ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2456255&page=2&p=14015707#post140 15707
    I tried posting in General but noone responded and now think that I posted in the wrong area but don't know how to change it or delete.

    Initially, I was given a newer Toshiba laptop to replace my old HP one.
    I got what I thought was a bright idea to get my old 7200 HD with Ubuntu 20 to replace the 5400 HD in the Toshiba.
    It could not boot just sitting there with the Toshiba & Ubuntu logos without ever ending.
    I tried to use a USB to boot off but I had issues with the bios supervisor password which I eventually solved.
    Grub recovery did not solve my issues, nor trying to switch it to legacy/CSM & AHCI.
    Previously it would say that the initramfs file was missing and give me a grub rescue prompt
    Now it says:
    Code:
    error: file '/boot/grub/i386-pc/normal.mod' not found
    Entering rescue mode...
    grub rescue>
    I followed the directions at: gutsytechster.wordpress.com/2018/07/24/how-to-resolve-grub-error-file-grub-i386-pc-normal-mod-not-found/
    I was able to find the normal.mod in boot/grub.bak/
    That allowed me to enter GNU GRUB version 2.04 with a grub prompt
    When I tried to boot, it says to load the kernel first.
    So I followed the link's instructions and searched for vmlinuz-5.8.0-58-generic & initrd.img-5.4.0-58-generic
    I did what the link told me to do regarding insmod linux and then linux with the paths to vmlinuz & initrd.img in the line above and booted.
    It seemed to work but then it just ends with a black screen with the cursor in the most upper left corner.
    It does not blink or do anything and I did not try to type anything but it sits there for hours.
    As a noob, I am not sure what I am doing wrong and I also not sure if maybe I should have picked different files (there are earlier versions of initrd and vmlinuz).
    I also tried using the version of vmlinuz without the numbers (so simply "vmlinuz") at the end as well as various initrd.img files I found.
    The error I get in grub is "error: invalid magic number."

    I am thinking that the files such as initrd are broken so was thinking of following the instructions here:
    linoxide.com/linux-how-to/fixing-broken-initrd-image-linux/
    But I want to make sure that it is not going to break my computer.

    I would totally reformat/reinstall the ubuntu 7200HD with the USB but I have some impt files I can't seem to completely copy off the 7200HD.
    When I use the usb I can see the files but I can't copy them because I don't have permissions.
    I can't seem to figure out how to get permissions on my own drive!!! (the usb doesn't have any but the 7200HD does which I know but can't seem to find where I can input it).
    It is very frustrating. Please advise. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Re: Unable to get past GRUB 2.04 when trying to boot or get permissions

    When I use the usb I can see the files but I can't copy them because I don't have permissions.
    I don't know why you would have that problem as it is not necessary to have any kind of permissions to copy FROM a device/partition but it is to copy TO. What type of filesystem is on the drive?

    The commands at the 'gutsytechster' link should work. Do you know which partition your boot files are on? I use the below to boot Ubuntu from the grub prompt. You would obviously need to change the (hd0,gpt5) on the set root line with the correct partition number and change to msdos if it is not a gpt drive. Also the exact kernel (vmlinuz) name and the correct /dev name and partition. If you have those all correct it should boot unless as you mention, the files are corrupted. Moving the drive from one computer to another is not likely to cause that kind of problem.

    grub>set root=(hd0,gpt5)
    grub>linux /boot/vmlinuz-5.8.0-40-generic root=/dev/nvme0n1p5
    grub>initrd /boot/initrd.img-5.8.0-40-generic
    grub>boot

  3. #3
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    Re: Unable to get past GRUB 2.04 when trying to boot or get permissions

    First thanks so much for taking the time to help me. I appreciate it.

    Quote Originally Posted by yancek View Post
    I don't know why you would have that problem as it is not necessary to have any kind of permissions to copy FROM a device/partition but it is to copy TO. What type of filesystem is on the drive?
    I am a noob so I am not sure what type of filesystem is the drive but I believe it is legacy & AHCI. Not sure if NFTS or FAT32 orf what. How do I check?
    When booted through the live USB, I tried with the GUI to just cut and paste the files from the "other locations" of the 7200HD drive to my external HD but it said I didn't have the proper permissions.
    If I have to usually use a password to get into the root of the 7200HD (when it was working) does that mean it is encrypted?
    Perhaps I can't do it because I don't have "permissions" to the external HD? Perhaps I have been thinking I don't have the permissions for the 7200HD but it is actually the permissions on the external HD that may be the problem.
    How would I work around that???

    Quote Originally Posted by yancek View Post
    The commands at the 'gutsytechster' link should work. Do you know which partition your boot files are on? I use the below to boot Ubuntu from the grub prompt. You would obviously need to change the (hd0,gpt5) on the set root line with the correct partition number and change to msdos if it is not a gpt drive. Also the exact kernel (vmlinuz) name and the correct /dev name and partition. If you have those all correct it should boot unless as you mention, the files are corrupted. Moving the drive from one computer to another is not likely to cause that kind of problem.
    Yes I used the (hd0,msdos5) which is /dev/sda5 that corresponds to the Ubuntu 7200HD but can't boot except to grub rescue.
    But I suppose the boot files are corrupted because I can't seem to load the kernel properly.
    Is there a way to use the live USB to "repair" or otherwise transfer uncorrupted files to the corrupted 7200HD?
    Would we still have the problem of not being able to write or overwrite on the drive because we don't have permissions?
    Thanks again for your help.

  4. #4
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    Re: Unable to get past GRUB 2.04 when trying to boot or get permissions

    I am a noob so I am not sure what type of filesystem is the drive but I believe it is legacy & AHCI. Not sure if NFTS or FAT32 orf what. How do I check?
    "Legacy" (whatever you mean by that) -> NOT a filesystem
    AHCI -> NOT a file system. It's a hardware feature.

    NTFS and FAT32 are filesystems but neither is typical of Linux. FAT32 is the typical filesystem of the ESP (EFI System Partition) so it can be seen in Linux only systems in UEFI mode. Both NTFS and FAT32 are supported by all major Linux distros but NEITHER can be used to install Linux. EXT4 is since many years the standard filesystem for / , /home and all the other system partitions in Linux. Other filesystems can be used - BTFRS, ZFS, etc. - but most are still experimental.

    If I have to usually use a password to get into the root of the 7200HD (when it was working) does that mean it is encrypted?
    It depends.
    Did you have to enter a password to unlock the drive and then it would load Ubuntu and ask you for the username and (a different) password to login? If so then it's definitely encrypted and your problem isn't about permission (yet). You need to decrypt and mount the decrypted partitions before you can do anything with it. I'm not the person to help you with that as I don't usually use encryption and I have backups so never had to decrypt anything in a live session. Maybe yancek knows how to help you.

  5. #5
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    Re: Unable to get past GRUB 2.04 when trying to boot or get permissions

    Quote Originally Posted by 216ann View Post
    I got what I thought was a bright idea to get my old 7200 HD with Ubuntu 20 to replace the 5400 HD in the Toshiba.
    Note: Most of use standard Ubuntu releases, and not the specialist releases like Ubuntu Core 20.

    The majority of us will use Ubuntu 20.04 LTS on servers or desktops, being the main product product uses the year.month format.

    Only specialist snap only releases use the year format, such as Ubuntu Core 20, which is a different product, with different intended use (devices, appliances, cloud etc).

  6. #6
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    Re: Unable to get past GRUB 2.04 when trying to boot or get permissions

    When you run the Ubuntu live session have you tried using the file manager with administrator privileges?

    Code:
    sudo nautilus
    If that allows you to copy and paste files from the drive remember that the ownership of them will now be root and you have to change the permissions using the file manager as administrator otherwise you will not be able to do anything with these files when you are working as a standard user.

    Regards
    It is a machine. It is more stupid than we are. It will not stop us from doing stupid things.
    Ubuntu user #33,200. Linux user #530,530


  7. #7
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    Re: Unable to get past GRUB 2.04 when trying to boot or get permissions

    Thanks for all the help.
    Yes, Celtic...I discovered that sda5 (the 7200HD) is ext4
    And yes, if memory serves me, I had to enter a password to get into ubuntu then another to get sudo privileges.
    So probably encrypted.

    I am sorry quiverc, I guess I am so silly I did not realize the difference.
    I did install the Ubuntu LTS 20.04 I believe.
    I did NOT install "core" only the LTS

    Graham, I was only able to see the files after booting into the live USB.
    I can see the 7200HD files in the GUI no problem but I can only copy some of them because of my lack of privileges.
    Remember I am trying to copy the files off the internal boot 7200HD to my external HD (which is not encrypted) using the booted live Ubuntu USB (Try Ubuntu).
    I have never been able to figure out how to change permissions or unencrypt either the internal or external (& the USB doesn't require root sudo password).

    Honestly, all I want to do right now is to reliably copy everything off that 7200HD and freshly reformat the drive.
    A second option would be to figure out how to boot into the 7200HD & then copy everything.
    Thanks to everyone for their help.

  8. #8
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    Re: Unable to get past GRUB 2.04 when trying to boot or get permissions

    Mixing boot modes UEFI and BIOS causes more issues.
    If hardware is UEFI, best to only use UEFI.
    If hardware is old, before about 2012, then it will be BIOS and UEFI will not work.

    You also have to have installer in correct mode, if created by Rufus as it makes UEFI only or BIOS only installer.
    Other tools create the installer that will work in UEFI or BIOS/CSM/Legacy mode and you must then only boot in UEFI mode from UEFI boot menu when booting live installer.

    Lets see details, use ppa version with your live installer (2nd option) or any working install, not Boot-Repair ISO:
    Please copy & paste the pastebin link to the Boot-info summary report ( do not post report), do not run the auto fix till reviewed.
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Boot-Repair

    Have seen multiple systems where some sort of special keys may be required to open additional settings.
    Some need UEFI Secure Boot on to change settings, but often better to install with secure boot off.
    Some like Acer use control-S to open added settings even when Secure Boot is on.
    HP only allows some changes from within UEFI, common tools do not work to change boot order or UEFI settings.

    Almost all systems need to be updated to latest UEFI as vendors also have various fixes that may be needed.
    For more info on UEFI boot install & repair - Regularly Updated :
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to change to [Solved] when/if answered completely.

  9. #9
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    Re: Unable to get past GRUB 2.04 when trying to boot or get permissions

    Quote Originally Posted by oldfred View Post
    Mixing boot modes UEFI and BIOS causes more issues.
    If hardware is UEFI, best to only use UEFI.
    If hardware is old, before about 2012, then it will be BIOS and UEFI will not work.
    You also have to have installer in correct mode, if created by Rufus as it makes UEFI only or BIOS only installer.
    Other tools create the installer that will work in UEFI or BIOS/CSM/Legacy mode and you must then only boot in UEFI mode from UEFI boot menu when booting live installer.
    Thanks for the advice oldfred.
    the "newer" Toshiba laptop is still 7 or more years old but I put it on legacy/CRM mode and AHCI so I don't think that is the problem anymore.
    I did use Rufus on the original live USB but that seemed to have corrupted so I was told to use balena etcher.
    Currently, the laptop boots fine off the USB but not the boot 7200HD.
    I was told that balena etcher would work even if it were not on legacy but I don't know of a reason to try it out.

    Quote Originally Posted by oldfred View Post
    Lets see details, use ppa version with your live installer (2nd option) or any working install, not Boot-Repair ISO:
    Please copy & paste the pastebin link to the Boot-info summary report ( do not post report), do not run the auto fix till reviewed.
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Boot-Repair
    I am embarrassed that I didn't really understand half of what you just said.
    I am not sure how to "use ppa version" from the usb...does that mean I should "Try Ubuntu" or "Install Ubuntu" or something else like with grub?
    Is that the shift key pressing thing?


    I was thinking that if the USB boots then that must mean the kernel, vmlinuz, initrd.img, etc must be working properly, is there any way to boot the 7200HD then "borrow" or copy the correct files from the USB when I am confronted by the grub prompt?
    When I create an Ubuntu USB should I use rufus or belena etcher, should I use MBR or GPT, etc?
    Please let me know. Thanks.
    Last edited by 216ann; January 27th, 2021 at 09:39 AM.

  10. #10
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    Re: Unable to get past GRUB 2.04 when trying to boot or get permissions

    I am embarrassed that I didn't really understand half of what you just said.
    I am not sure how to "use ppa version" from the usb...does that mean I should "Try Ubuntu" or "Install Ubuntu" or something else like with grub?
    It means to run a live session (Try...) as you've been doing.
    Then follow the instructions of the 2nd option in Boot Repair's page. It's just a matter of copying and pasting commands in the terminal.

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