What to do when Ubuntu won’t boot


September 4, 2012

So my fully updated windows machine recently got had for the 2nd time in my personal experience through innocent browsing of websites in Internet Explorer. (Ironically, the site with compromised content was for my Unitarian Universalist fellowship, which I was visiting because I’d just agreed to take over webmaster responsibilities, making the cleanup my problem, too…) Anyway, I’d recently loaded Ubuntu 12.04 onto a little netbook I own, and was really pleased with what I’d seen there, so I decided it was finally time to put a non-Windows OS on my primary home PC.

Unfortunately, the grub-install scripts packaged with the standard Ubuntu installer got hopelessly hung up when it came to installing grub correctly on my raid-0 controlled by an Intel Matrix raid chip. I searched around, tried all kinds of things that I’ll omit here since they didn’t result in a booting system, and finally (days later) came across the boot-repair application. This thing came equipped with a one-click wonder button to fix the “most frequent problems,” in addition to more advanced options. After days of searching, tweaking, and head-pounding, I was skeptical, but went for the easy thing first and clicked the wonderbutton. Presto, booting system.

Moral of the story: when your Ubuntu box won’t boot, don’t play with grub boot prompts, don’t run rescue installs, don’t rerun grub-install yourself from the live CD, don’t install grub into MBRs on non-raid block devices, or do any of the other things I tried until AFTER you’ve run boot-repair. IMO, the easiest way to do it is to install it over the Internet from a standard Ubuntu live CD.

Makes one wonder why they didn’t just integrate this app’s logic into Ubuntu’s stock installer…