I want to use a new motherboard with an old disk. The disk has just one partition, with Debian/jessie installed. On booting, Debian is found and begins to start up with usual dmesg output lines. After the line

Begin: Waiting for root system ...

the system hangs a while, then writes

Gave up waiting for root device.
ALTERT!  /dev/idsk/by-uuid/... does not exist.
Dropping to a shell!
/bin/sh: can't access tty; job control turned off

Next attempt: I booted from a Debian netinstall CD into rescue mode. When executing a shell, the disk was found. I then reinstalled Grub to the disk. However, on rebooting from the disk, the above behavior hasn't changed.

  • 1
    Your computer boots like: firmware > (maybe) bootloader > kernel exec > initramfs > (maybe) switch_root > done. You get as far as initramfs - and so you're almost home free - but the primary job of initramfs is to disentangle the kernel from mounting your root device - it bundles its own in memory, basically. So in initramfs a tiny linux environment tries to locate and mount your final root device. It likely interprets that device to be some value stored in grub.cfg that grub passes to the kernel as a parameter. You need to change that somehow. I hate grub. – mikeserv Dec 20 '14 at 22:27

The new motherboard runs UEFI, while the old one had BIOS. Hence I needed to install grub-efi instead of grub-pc.

  • Thanks to Warren Young and mikeserv who pointed me to looking deeper into grub. – Joachim W Dec 21 '14 at 11:30
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    With UEFI you can do without grub entirely - and would probably be a lot better off for it. It's what the first (maybe) is about up there - your UEFI firmware comes with a bootloader. grub is not only needlessly complex in that case (as was always the case on BIOS systems) it is also completely redundant. Maybe read this if you're curious. – mikeserv Dec 21 '14 at 14:21

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