I installed Debian Jessie on a new hard disk, and wanted to boot from this new disk. At the end of Debian setup, I choosed setup Grub also. But when booting, Grub falls into rescue mode with a File not found error. I tried several guides I found around to try to have it up again, with no success.

Here is my configuration (I booted on a live Knoppix distro)

knoppix@Microknoppix:~$ lsblk -f

└─sda1 ext4                 
├─sdb1 ext4                 
└─sdb5 swap                 
└─sdc1 ntfs    Stock        
├─sdd1 ext4    Debian       
└─sdd5 swap                 
└─sdh1 ntfs    My Passport  
sr0    iso9660 KNOPPIX      /mnt-system
sr1    udf     WD SmartWare 
zram0  swap                 [SWAP]
cloop0 iso9660 KNOPPIX_FS   /KNOPPIX


 /dev/cloop0: LABEL="KNOPPIX_FS" TYPE="iso9660" 
 /dev/zram0: UUID="770d53d4-32d4-4810-988a-ffb80edecc8f" TYPE="swap" 
 /dev/sda1: UUID="2a0bdecf-9074-40de-8d23-bcaf01af17bb" TYPE="ext4" 
 /dev/sdb1: UUID="a4eaeb3b-27d1-4285-a364-fcdfa601fb82" TYPE="ext4" 
 /dev/sdb5: UUID="76381585-358a-46a1-bc16-feb51b08fe90" TYPE="swap" 
 /dev/sdc1: LABEL="Stock" UUID="A2904C19904BF1F9" TYPE="ntfs" 
 /dev/sdd1: LABEL="Debian" UUID="c45c0acc-f414-4c3e-a4ba-b3c1a33c3cbd"    TYPE="ext4" 
 /dev/sdd5: UUID="2f0c8892-f4a8-4312-bc19-1e8d72f23e6c" TYPE="swap" 
 /dev/sr0: LABEL="KNOPPIX" TYPE="iso9660" 
 /dev/sdh1: LABEL="My Passport" UUID="325220A852207331" TYPE="ntfs" 
 /dev/sr1: LABEL="WD SmartWare" TYPE="udf" 


(parted) print all                                                  
Model: ATA Maxtor 7V250F0 (scsi)
Disk /dev/sda: 251GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: msdos
Disk Flags: 

Number  Start   End    Size   Type     File system  Flags
 1      1049kB  251GB  251GB  primary  ext4         boot

Model: ATA Maxtor 7V300F0 (scsi)
Disk /dev/sdb: 300GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: msdos
Disk Flags: 

Number  Start   End    Size    Type      File system     Flags
 1      1049kB  284GB  284GB   primary   ext4
 2      284GB   300GB  16.1GB  extended
 5      284GB   300GB  16.1GB  logical   linux-swap(v1)


The grub.cfg file contains thism which looks correct

### BEGIN /etc/grub.d/10_linux ###
function gfxmode {
    set gfxpayload="${1}"
set linux_gfx_mode=
export linux_gfx_mode
menuentry 'Debian GNU/Linux' --class debian --class gnu-linux --class gnu --class os $menuentry_id_option 'gnulinux-simple-2a0bdecf-9074-40de-8d23-bcaf01af17bb' {
    insmod gzio
    if [ x$grub_platform = xxen ]; then insmod xzio; insmod lzopio; fi
    insmod part_msdos
    insmod ext2
    set root='hd0,msdos1'
    if [ x$feature_platform_search_hint = xy ]; then
      search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root --hint-bios=hd0,msdos1 --hint-efi=hd0,msdos1 --hint-baremetal=ahci0,msdos1  2a0bdecf-9074-40de-8d23-bcaf01af17bb
      search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root 2a0bdecf-9074-40de-8d23-bcaf01af17bb
    echo    'Loading Linux 3.16.0-4-amd64 ...'
    linux   /boot/vmlinuz-3.16.0-4-amd64 root=UUID=2a0bdecf-9074-40de-8d23-bcaf01af17bb ro  quiet
    echo    'Loading initial ramdisk ...'
    initrd  /boot/initrd.img-3.16.0-4-amd64

Note that the .mod files are in a seperate directory /boot/grub/i386-pc Is it usual?

Thank you for helping me understand what is wrong and how to solve this?


The line set root='hd0,msdos1' in your grub configuration tells grub that the root of your filesystem you want to work with is in the first partition of the first disk, which is the same as /dev/sda1.

Your parted output shows that /dev/sda1 has its bootable flag set, but a different partition, /dev/sdd1, is the one labeled "Debian" and I'm assuming your root filesystem lives there. If that's true you will need to edit your grub.cfg so grub is working with the right disk.

I would recommend making a backup of your grub.cfg and then changing the set root='hd0,msdos1' line to set root='hd3,msdos1' and repeating that change anywhere you see hd0 mentioned. Then use parted to set the bootable flag for /dev/sdd1 and try to boot Debian. Best of luck!

  • Actually, Debian is a former install. hd0 is the disk referenced in fstab, where is /dev/sda1. Switching to hd3 returns the same error! – user1185081 Apr 22 '15 at 21:08
  • Huh, I don't know what's wrong then. Everything about your configuration looks identical to the one I use, and same for the location of the .mod files. Is your grub folder where you expect it to be? – ivor-c Apr 22 '15 at 21:20
  • Yes, they are targeting the actual files in boot/ ... I ll try again from grub rescue ... – user1185081 Apr 22 '15 at 21:25
  • If all your files are where they belong and still can't be found your best bet may be to update-grub... Good luck – ivor-c Apr 22 '15 at 21:30
  • Well, digging with Grub rescue shows one thing: /dev/sda is pointing to hd3. The Grub I start with may not be the one I am trying to configure! I shall start from BIOS boot order to make sure of which disk I am booting on ... – user1185081 Apr 23 '15 at 7:17

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