GRUB/Restore the GRUB Bootloader

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Overview

In order to load the operating system, a Linux-capable boot loader such as GRUB, rEFInd or Syslinux needs to be installed to the Master Boot Record (MBR) or the GUID Partition Table (GPT) of the media containing the Operating System. Installations created using Manjaro ISO defaults to GRUB.

For various reasons - it happens the bootloader get's corrupted, erased or misconfigured resulting to a black screen with a failure message during boot, like No boot loaders found in /dev/.... To restore system operation without re-installing your OS or losing your data you will need to use your Manjaro installation media, such as, a CD/DVD or USB Flashdrive.

Archlinux Boot Process

More information about the boot process on Archlinux based distributions is available at Archwiki

Preparation

Identify the type of system you are attempted to resque as the commands involved are slightly different.

  • BIOS/MBR/GPT system
  • EFI/GPT system

Load Manjaro Installation Media

System Boot Override

To override system boot order the vendor has a dedicated key. Most laptop keyboard has multiple use for the function keys and the primary function may be reversed. In such case a Fn key must be used with the function key. If you don't know consult your system documentation. Manjaro ISO default usernames and passwords

Default UsernameDefault Password
manjaromanjaro
rootmanjaro

Identify partitions

To identify your partitions and their designated use you need to run a partition manager. Depending on environment there is various tools. GTK based ISO offers GpartEd, QT based ISO offers KParted and common to all is the CLI tools.

user $ lsblk -o PATH,PTTYPE,PARTTYPE,FSTYPE,PARTTYPENAME

More comprehensive information can be found using fdisk (requires superuser) and you can limit the probed device e.g. /dev/sda or /dev/nvme0n1

user $ sudo fdisk -l /dev/sda

The clues to look for is mbr vs. gpt and the presence of a small partition - usually the first - formatted with the vfat filesystem followed by a larger partition formatted as ext4.


Info

This document and the content should never be used as a copy/paste resource. The remainder of this document will use pseudo names and partition numbering. Devices will be referred as /dev/sdy and partitions referred as /dev/sdyA and you will have to subtitute those with the real values from your system.


Use root context

When you have loaded the live ISO - depending on environment - open a terminal and switch to root context. Use above mentioned root:password combination.

user $ su

Chroot environment

Chroot is a method to restrict various tasks to a restricted area e.g. package installation and other system maintenance tasks. Follow the link to read more about chroot on the Arch wiki.

Identify system partitions

From the above we assume you have identified the relevant partitions on your system and this document will refer the partitions as follows. Partitions not needed for this kind of maintenance has intentionally been left out (e.g. home, swap).

Partition Usage Comment
/dev/sdyA EFI system Required for EFI system and mounted on /boot/efi
/dev/sdyB boot Optional but mounted on /boot The primary use is when GRUB cannot write to / (eg. f2fs)
/dev/sdyC root Required and for the root filesystem and mounted on / - usually formatted using ext4
Info

If your system is a BIOS/MBR system there is no efi partition. If your system is a BIOS/GPT system you will find an unformatted partion size 1-32MB of the bios boot partition type.


Manual chroot

Mount the partitions using the designated temporary mountpoint and always start with root

root # mount /dev/sdyC /mnt

Then - if applicable - mount boot

root # mount /dev/sdyB /mnt/boot

Then - if applicable - mount efi

root # mount /dev/sdyA /mnt/boot/efi

Create the chroot environment and use bash as shell

root # manjaro-chroot /mnt /bin/bash

Use manjaro-chroot

Manjaro deploys a script called manjaro-chroot takes an optional argument which will search the visible devices - scan the partitions for signs of an operating system. If more than one Linux operating system is found you will get a choice of which system to chroot otherwise the file /etc/fstab from the system is used to mount the partitions and chroot into this system.

root # manjaro-chroot -a

Reinstall GRUB

One possible cause why you are reading this document - is an unfinished update - which in turn can be caused by several situations - situation we will not dive into. To fix what ever caused this you should run a full system update including grub to ensure everything is in place.

root # pacman -Syu grub

When the transaction as completed continue below using the section matching your system

BIOS System

On a BIOS/GPT system there is no MBR and therefore no place to store the loader. The GPT partition specification allows for an unformatted partition of the BIOS boot partition type (0xEF02). The size of this partition can be as small as 1 mebibyte. The Calamares installer uses a fixed size of 32 mebibyte. On a BIOS/MBR system a part of the bootloader is written to the Master Boot Record for the primary disk.

The device is the disk (not a partition)

root # grub-install --force --target=i386-pc --recheck --boot-directory=/boot /dev/sdy

Make sure the grub configuration is up-to-date

root # grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

EFI System

Info

You need to be in chroot for this procedure.


Reinstall grub

root # grub-install --target=x86_64-efi --efi-directory=/boot/efi --bootloader-id=manjaro --recheck

Update the grub configuration

root # grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg


EFI grub install messages

EFI variables are not supported on this system.

Verify the existance of an EFI system partition

root # lsblk -o PATH,PTTYPE,PARTTYPE,FSTYPE,PARTTYPENAME

Verify the efi filesystem is loaded

root # ls /sys/firmware/efi

Exit chroot

root # exit

Try loading the efi filesystem

root # modprobe efivarfs

Re-enter chroot

root # manjaro-chroot /mnt /bin/bash

Then mount the efi filesystem

root # mount -t efivarfs efivarfs /sys/firmware/efi/efivars

Verify the efi filesystem is loaded

root # ls /sys/firmware/efi

If successfull re-run above installation commands

Troubleshooting

Arch Linux is not recognized

If Arch Linux wasn't recognized after an update-grub then probably your Arch installation is missing the package lsb-release.

See also