Fedora 30 install - Dell Inspiron - can no longer find internal SSD where OS is written

Hi! Dan Fox - very new here - beg forgiveness in advance. I did try searching the forum, and Googling the world at large, but no joy. Maybe I don’t know the right search terms.

I just bought a new Dell Inspiron 3000 laptop. I created a Fedora live USB to try out Fedora. (I’m familiar with Ubuntu, and have experience with RHE via command line on virtual boxes.) Getting this thing to even boot off a thumb drive was an adventure in itself, but I got there. This is my first adventure with “UEFI” which is either a technology to secure the boot process, or a bogeyman designed to make users swear off ever messing with their computers.

Fedora Live could not see the internal SSD in the laptop until I changed some BIOS settings. I changed those, and pushed the button on the install. (I was expecting to be given more than zero opportunities to express preferences/locations - different story). It installed, and took the entirety of the SSD (128 GB) as one partition. It appears that the right stuff is there in the right places, but the computer won’t recognize it as a bootable device - it’s now complaining that there are “no bootable devices found”.

I can still boot from the USB, and see the SSD drive as well as the internal 1TB magnetic media, but I can’t seem to convince the computer to boot off the SSD as it did with the Win10 install.

I suspect that this is a BIOS configuration issue as opposed to an install gone bad. Any ideas? Thanks in advance. I’ll happily supply any logs/debug output that I’m asked for.

  • Dan Fox

Fedora was installed as one partition, do you have /boot or /boot/efi partition, on that drive?

I can’t answer that, likely due to ignorance. I’m still booting off of the “live media” (read USB) and the SSD is not a mounted device. I took a picture of what the “disks” graphic utility tells me; I’m going to try to attach/include it here.

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There isn’t a boot partition. Which method have you used to partition the disk during installation? (Automatic, manual, blivet?)
The boot partition shouldn’t go inside LVM, isn’t it?

Hey Dan,

Look for an application called Terminal or Konsole. It’ll let you input textual commands. Please paste the output of the following commands here, it’ll help with a better understanding your situation:

sudo lsblk # this command will display a tree of your block (storage) devices
sudo efibootmgr # this command will display your current UEFI boot configuration
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Thanks! I got to this situation in the following way:
Buy computer.
Create Live Install on USB stick.
Do much Googling and experimentation with evil UEFI BIOS to get to where I can boot off of said USB.
Boot off said USB.
Poke around a while. More changes to BIOS to get to where I can see internal SSD as separate device.
Push button that says “Install Fedora”.
Mild surprise that I’m not asked any questions at all; it just takes off.

You see the screencap of the “disk” utillty above.

In that case your should reinstall but ask to manually set the drive layout, so you can select the drives and verify the creation off all necessary partitions. Please verify the source of the image you use to create the USB. Good Luck

I’m still running off the stick as “liveuser”, who is in the wheel group. I don’t see any difference between running the commands as sudo and as myself. I’m having a problem grabbing output off the terminal; evidently the right mouse key is only recognized intermittently, or is recognized as a left-click, or something.

loop0 7:0 0 1.7G 1 loop
loop1 7:1 0 6.5G 1 loop
├─live-rw 253:3 0 6.5G 0 dm /
└─live-base 253:4 0 6.5G 1 dm
loop2 7:2 0 32G 0 loop
└─live-rw 253:3 0 6.5G 0 dm /
loop3 7:3 0 1.8G 1 loop
├─loop3p1 259:2 0 1.8G 1 part /run/media/liveuser/Fedora-WS-Live-30-1-2
├─loop3p2 259:3 0 9.8M 1 part
└─loop3p3 259:4 0 20.5M 1 part
sda 8:0 0 931.5G 0 disk
├─sda1 8:1 0 1G 0 part
└─sda2 8:2 0 930.5G 0 part
└─fedora_localhost–live-home 253:1 0 973.6G 0 lvm
sdb 8:16 1 3.8G 0 disk
├─sdb1 8:17 1 1.8G 0 part /run/initramfs/live
├─sdb2 8:18 1 9.8M 0 part
└─sdb3 8:19 1 20.5M 0 part
sr0 11:0 1 1024M 0 rom
nvme0n1 259:0 0 119.2G 0 disk
└─nvme0n1p1 259:1 0 119.2G 0 part
├─fedora_localhost–live-swap 253:0 0 6.2G 0 lvm [SWAP]
├─fedora_localhost–live-home 253:1 0 973.6G 0 lvm
└─fedora_localhost–live-root 253:2 0 70G 0 lvm

sudo efibootmanager yields “EFI variables are not supported on this system.”

I got the image from getfedora.org. Are you asking me to do a checksum?

Yes please if possible, which spin did you use or default one?

Not sure that it’s possible to do the checksum at this time. I used my wife’s Win 10 machine to create the bootable USB, and politely cleaned up after myself. I chose “Fedora 30 Workstation” as the ISO and not any of the named “spins”.

At one point, to facilitate answering another post, I installed xclip to be able to cut/paste terminal oiutput. This caused the download/install of another 100MB of system updates. I have no idea if those updates persisted to the USB between reboots. If they did, there’s no point trying to verify that install anyway.

I have gone back and played with the installer some more, doing 2 more installs. I didn’t see where I could find out what mount points and size allocations were done, so I accepted the “do it automatically” defaults. I did find a place to define which device was the boot disk, and pointed that to the SSD. That caused a slower and more complicated install process, with messages like “creating boot drive” and “creating initramfs” to be displayed. I took this as a Good Thing.

I can only get 2 things to happen on boot if I don’t use the stick.

  1. I don’t select “Legacy external devices” in the boot order BIOS window, and it drops immediately into some sort of Dell branded diagnostics,
  2. I do select it, and it immediately BSD’s to “No boot device found. Press to reboot.”

I do recall turning off UEFI completely once earlier in my explorations. It wasn’t good, but I don’t take notes as well as I should.

I’m still suspecting it’s a BIOS related issue, that I have a usable boot device that the super secure BIOS doesn’t recognize. Thanks in advance for all the help I’ve received and will receive.

Well, now I know that neither the xclip install nor the 100MB of system updates persist across reboots when using live media. :frowning:

so, don’t know why I got different results out of efibootmgr. I’ll chalk it up to thumbfingers.

BootCurrent: 0005
Timeout: 0 seconds
BootOrder: 0002,0003,0004,0005,0006
Boot0000* Windows Boot Manager
Boot0002* Diskette Drive
Boot0003* USB Storage Device
Boot0004* Onboard NIC
Boot0005* UEFI: PMAP
Boot0006* UEFI: PMAP, Partition 2

Hope that helps. Also, I now know that the HDD is drive 0-0-1 and the SSD is drive 1-0-1. Haven’t been able to monetize that yet.

The output you’ve pasted suggests the installation pretty much killed Windows and took over both of your disks to setup Fedora for you. Your magnetic 1TB disk is denoted as sda and your SSD is denoted as nvmeOn1 in the lsblk output. You’ll note there are two partitions in sda, one used for mounpoint /boot and the other to serve as a physical volume for use by LVM. The lone partition in nvmeOn1 is also made into an LVM component. There is no partition assigned for use by EFI so I suspect installation was carried out after booting in ‘Legacy’ mode.

You should boot the livemedia in Legacy mode again and attempt to repair ‘grub’ on the disk noted as sda. Make sure your boot disk is set to sda (i.e. the magnetic 1TB disk) in your BIOS and you should be fine.

Let me know if all this sounds like some unholy gobbledegook and I’ll try to break it down further. Alternatively, if you’re open to reinstalling the whole thing, you should do just that but this time go for UEFI mode through and through, it’s more secure and flexible than Legacy.

Yes, the installation did kill Windows and I have no problem with that. Evidently if I undergo a personality transplant and desire it back I can do a full reinstall off the net because my license is tied somehow to this hardware. But, I didn’t install *nix in order to use Windows.

I did manage to get to a modified form of success in that when I specified my rotating HDD the installation was successful. That’s enough for me to decide to keep the machine and live to fight another day. I do want to get this set up eventually to boot off of the SSD because life is a lot nicer that way, but life is possible as it is now.

So far as I know I have to be in Legacy mode in order to boot the livemedia. Most of the rest of your observations and instructions are indeed gobbledygook to this poor lowly Java web app dev. I do know what grub is, but not how to repair it or determine that it needs repair. Don’t know what LVM is, and didn’t know that LVM had components, or needed a partition, or what it is. (I did look up the acronym, but that was of limited utility.)

I’ve got some confidence that I can follow the breadcrumbs back to where I am now if needed, so I’m willing to try a reinstall. But UEFI has me wrapped around the axle. Why does the BIOS have the HD controller set up to implement RAID? Where did my 2nd UEFI boot path get to? Etc., etc.

Thanks as usual in advance - Dan

Ahh, in that case you should go ahead with reinstalling it. If you have to be in Legacy mode in order to boot the livemedia then keep that mode for booting the OS as well. Make sure to specify your SSD as the only target drive for installation, and configure your BIOS to use your SSD as the boot drive. Let the 1TB drive be untouched for now, at least till you’ve booted into your brand new OS.

Once your’e done with installation, you can add space from your 1TB disk into your /home partition or you can just mount it separately for storing data as you please. This will ensure your root (/) partition lives on the SSD and your overall operating experience is as fast as you’d expect it to be.

Here’s a nice article if you’d like to learn more about UEFI, it’s not really evil :slight_smile:

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