Hidden Grub causes pain to newcomers

This is true also for the Linux world. Of course!
However, again, as far as I can see, be it Linux or Windows or Mac, non technical people are still unable to follow these guides…
So, in my opinion it is way better to hide all these “technical” stuff: if you want, there are guides on how to show them.


Brilliant ! :100:

While true, This is a pivot point to make. While Linux has guides, they are not universal and Distros need better solutions than “Read the Arch Wiki”, because that is not the answer on Fedora or any other Distro leaving a large room for error.

The boot process whether Grub/systemd-boot/rEFInd/ or others, is different enough to cause newbies/technical or not to stumble fracturing the experience.

As for the pivot, there are many ways to take this point, but I have made my own clearly.

As a tangent piece, I was once a Linux noobie in the Mint forums. Whether I was Hazed or not is up for debate, but causing the break of my system was enough for me to consider the move away from Mint. The final words of the forum memebers being “Go Read the Arch wiki if you need . . .” Was a good experience in understanding that Linux Distros are opinionated in everything it does. From the boot process, encryption, MAC and Desktop Environments.

Docs are critical.

The process is actually quite easy. It sets “failed boot” flag as the first thing in the boot process, sets “successful boot” flag 2 minutes after a first user logs in.

If you don’t log in, or reboot faster than in 2 minutes, then the previous boot is considered failed and a grub menu should be shown.

That doesn’t mean that there can’t be bugs, but the design is pretty solid.


Thanks this seems to be a good process.

Still, at least on my system, pressing Shift does not do anything, while grub appears seemingly randomly on some boots.

I am on a dasharo coreboot laptop. As I triple boot atomic desktops on external SSDs, I have many EFI boot options, BIOS tells me “press any key to search for others” and even pressing shift there does not result in a showing grub.

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What happens when you don’t get that far :thinking: As been seen in some of the kernel issues since 6.9.4 ? How do relay the process to a new user ? The Grub menu would be very valuable in the process to begin to troubleshoot.

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Try pressing F8 quickly, that’s the other key that should trigger it. Shift is consumed by some BIOSes when held (mine included).

I don’t know that exact case, but in general, the grub sets “boot failed” flag (that’s before the kernel starts), so however far you get or don’t get, on the next reboot, you should see a grub menu automatically appear. At least in theory.

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This is honestly brilliant design. I will try the other keys

This is not Universal. As some Dell / SuperMicro / etc use F2 or Del, but good point. I agree to some degree that the user should at least achieve a menu of some sort.

So I think we could mark some of these as bugs if we don’t get that information.


Would be interested to hear from @grumpey since that’s what we were trying to figure out and is the most recent of this type of issue.

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This is not a BIOS/UEFI-defined key, it’s a GRUB key (and yes, on some BIOSes, it can overlap with some BIOS-defined key). It’s the same key that Windows uses (or at least used, not sure about latest releases) to trigger its own boot menu. So it’s always F8 and Shift, try whichever works better on your system.


The “shift” key as I recall (for Mac). MS doesn’t want you to rwecover the system, they’d prefer you wipe and reinstall .
I’ve had to learn so may of the keyboard gymnastics trying to troubleshoot a used iMac, so I’ve had to learn that. But when you talk about that system built for family or the in-laws, I’ll set grub menu enabled and remove the “quiet” options, but then again I had done those settings on MSWin as well (when you could still do it).

But pressing the any-key at boot is a good alternative as well. [1]

[1] now if you could get the camera to recognize a raised middle-finger as a possibility of a failed boot…

As someone with Desktop Support experience, I can gaurantee that a user staring at a black screen vs. having any letters on screen is a big plus ! Especially ( as is on many Dell Office Rollout systems ) The option to press a button like F2 or F12 or Del. You don’t have that here.

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