LUbuntu 20.10 liveUSB - loops at GRUB


I’m trying to revive and old PC with Lubuntu 20.10.
It’s Core 2 Duo E6300, 3GB Ram (more to come), motherboard: Gigabyte GA-965P-S3 rev 1.0 (based on P965 chipset)

I have prepared bootable USB drive with Rufus. When I try to boot, the only thing I can see is word “GRUB” infinitely, as below


Of course, the USB drive works flawlessly with different PC, but not this one.

Do you have any ideas what might be wrong? Maybe my motherboard is no longer supported?

I presume you checked the hashes of the downloaded ISO and compared them to published values. If not, start there. Keep downloading until you get it right.

After that’s done, check the hash of the USB, too. If it fails, keep writing until it’s correct.

After that’s all done, then we can start exploring other possibilities, but those other ones are far less likely.

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As I have already mentioned - I tested the prepared USB drive with my laptop and it booted perfectly into LxQt.
Only this old desktop PC fails to boot.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t answer the question. A single flipped bit could result in this unexpected behavior. The fact that it works on another machine tells nothing.

So the laptop has identical hardware to the desktop? I doubt it.

Unless the two boxes are on identical hardware, different parts of the media maybe loaded, so using it on another box is not conclusive proof.


You are both right, the laptop cant be the same hardware :wink:

As you suggested:

  • I verified checksum of downloaded ISO with published value - they match.
  • I have also verified checksum of files on flash drive with md5sum.txt - they match.
    (although md5sum.txt misses some files).
  • I even compared files content - between ISO and flashdrive, using Total Commanders’ sync function - no differences.
  • Rufus has also feature to test flash drive for “bad sectors” - it passes with no errors.
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I have many c2d & c2q boxes that Lubuntu was tested on; and I didn’t experience this issue.

I’ve looked for a filed bug that matches, and didn’t find any (looked in casper/cdimages & of course grub).

Is the box reliable? I would probably try Lubuntu 20.04(.1) LTS, and see what occurs.

Changes were made in how Ubuntu boots (making it more consistent for all boxes; be they BIOS, uEFI, Secure uEFI etc) and this created many issues during the development cycle of groovy (20.10). By trying Lubuntu 20.04(.1) you’re using the older boot system.

Myself, I don’t think there is an issue with the boot, but I could be wrong; I’d be suspicious the box is faulty, and if it was me I’d try booting other systems (even further away from the Ubuntu family, be it Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE etc, just because they are built differently), and if they are good, it helps prove the hardware is good & I’d then return to Lubuntu.

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The only thing you haven’t checked is whether the entirety of drive (file system plus boot sector, which you won’t find listed by looking at the files on the drive) matches the ISO hash.

I also seem to remember people reporting problems with Rufus, but I can’t remember what it was. Maybe wrong partition table type?

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I have helped a couple of folks in support where Rufus defaulted to NTFS and not FAT32. NTFS will result in a failed install nearly everytime.


File system is FAT32.
I’'try later with 20.04LTS.

And I’ll look how to compute hash of whole flash drive under Windows, haven’t tried that yet.
But I assume it would differ because there are few extra files on flas

h drive compared to iso.

If there are extra files, then it’s not a duplicate, so the hashes shouldn’t match.

I’ve just had belenaEtcher recommended as a much more reliable alternative to Rufus.

Just my experience with Lubuntu installation:
Nothing but hassle every time with USB-sticks, especially on older machines.
DVDs burned with an official .ISO work every time.
Perhaps you could try that?

USB was originally defined for peripherals and storage, but not for booting. I suspect that some of the problems on older machines stem from there.

I’ve been USB for booting for over a decade. And I do testing for Lubuntu, which is to say I do a lot more of them than most folks. I also use them a lot at work. That said, I don’t think the problem here is because it’s USB.

That said, using a DVD might be a good idea since it’s entirely possible a USB drive, port, and/or bus could be failing.

I respect and accept that. But the problem remains, that on older machines USB-booting is tricky, just setting the BIOS right is an issue.
You are extremely experienced, but I, even on my own old laptop, have problems booting from USB and usually default to DVD. It’s simply more reliable/predictable.

I hear what you’re saying. There’s always that ONE machine that never behaves right. However both myself and work tend to use old machines so I’m not inclined to believe that it’s likely that an older amd64 machine can’t handle USB.

@ grzybsonssg

This is what your USB-stick should look like (Lubuntu 20.04.1), tested and booted succesfully:

FYI: I just wrote the latest Lubuntu hirsute daily for a QA-test on a system, the system has the following specs

hp dc7700 (c2d-e6320, 5gb, nvidia quadro nvs 290)

Personally I’m not a fan of USB drives; too many writes tend to fail (the devices are cheap with all the emphasis on production on reducing cost, not reliability or preservation of data), which is why the validation of install media is now a ~mandatory check, instead of being optional before hand.

I find the newer machines more of a pain to boot USB drives when compared to older ones (though that’ll depend on how far back you go, by old here I’m going back to maybe 2004, and I do have more experience with major brands; hp/dell/lenovo)

Makes sense. I’m with you here. So then: what’s wrong?

Most likely problems are download or write errors. Which is why all the hashing is so important, as @guiverc said.

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