Does Grub Break With Updates?

I am going to install Manajaro on a bit old laptop
AFAIK, default installation comes with Grub, is there a way to install with systemd-boot?
Does Grub break when Grub is updated? Do I have to do something if there is a Grub update to avoid unbootable system?

What would be the best way to convert to systemd-boot (in case Grub still requires some manual work if updated)

Thanks a lot for your guidance.

Not usually, no.
I cant remember it happening… maybe it did some years ago…
Obviously that would be a show-stopping problem.
Yet - manjaro is rolling release and systems continue to run … so that tells you that if there ever was a problem it was recoverable.

Theres really not anything extra to say about grub over any other system-critical package.
If you follow the correct practices/procedures you are highly unlikely to encounter very many problems … if you do then they should be fixable … maybe even by a simple update.

If things like this worry you … then keep backups.
Or … if they really scare you … consider not using a rolling release system at all.

With the only semi-definitive manjaro guide being noted as non-working:
[How To] Convert to systemd-boot

Then your resource is this:
systemd-boot - ArchWiki

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Thanks @cscs

I remember some time ago, if there was an update for Grub, the user has to to some commands to update or… mmm… to be sure it will boot. If the user did not do some commands after a Grub update Grub fails to boot the system!

Did Manjaro overcome this?
What if I want to be safe from such nasty Grub problem?
I am OK with rolling releases in general especially Arch based. I tried a few and have no problem.

Sounds like reinstalling grub to the boot record …
Usually when grub the package updates it doesnt do this.
Users would have to do so on their own … something like this.
And the situation you are talking about is probably this:

Warning: Update/reinstall the boot loader (see #UEFI systems or #BIOS systems) if a new GRUB version changes the syntax of the configuration file: mismatching configuration can result in an unbootable system.
GRUB - ArchWiki

Which … as you can see … is not a manjaro-specific ‘problem’.
Its just managing grub - more noticeably required when theres an obvious breaking change.

This kind of thing goes hand-in-hand with another thing that requires user intervention and is also not manjaro-specific:

A.K.A. undocumented feature.



My Manjaro installation is now 2+ years old:

$ stat / | grep -i birth
Birth: 2020-09-14 13:00:31.000000000 +0200

And in that time, I have had absolutely 0 problems with grub.

Just keep your eyes on the Announcements for the Stable Updates or whatever branch you use, and apply any and all fixes that applies to your system, and you should be good to go.

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Which distro have you used with this problem in the past?

If I remember correctly, this happened at the Arch stable branch many months ago.
However, Manjaro’s stable branch and testing branch are not affected by this problem, because Manjaro built its own GRUB package. This is why I never have the problem with GRUB in Manjaro.

AFAIK, mkinitcpio supports a native unified kernel image (UKI) for systemd-boot, no need to install third party program of systemd-boot.

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This topic has been reinstated as working for Manjaro.

I had simply forgotten about it - so the mention here brought it to mind.

Sure I know it is not any distros fault. It Grub specific!

Since no one has mentioned it here; the main problem with grub is when dual-booting.

  • with Win when a Win update includes an update of the Win bootloader that will overwrite grub.
    Solution: boot a Manjaro usb stick, chroot into your Manjaro and reinstall grub.

  • with another linux distro that has been installed after Manjaro and its grub taking over the boot loader job from Manjaro grub. Manjaro will be shown but will fail to boot.
    Solution: boot your Manjaro usb stick, chroot into Manjaro and reinstall grub. That will get Manjaro’s grub back in charge and both distros will boot from it.

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Even while this may happen in BIOS-installs, you may be safe from it with UEFI-installs

Well short answer: Yes, updateing grub and not installing it afterwards to MBR/EFI may break your system: Can't boot LUKS encrypted install after 2023-03-31 stable update - #95 by philm

But doesn’t pamac/pacman have a hook for such cases to do it automatically?

The only one I know of is 99-grub.hook that does update-grub so … not quite.

update-grub only updates the grub.cfg file, but doesn’t install grub to MBR/EFI as that might be risky and can also create a nonbooting system. systemd-boot would be some alternative for EFI systems.

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I had this problem before, Windows update destroying Grub and for reasons I lost my USB so instead of being a savage going out to buy a new USB I was going to have to wait by buying one online.

Yesterday just happen to restore my system from a bad recent update which broke a cuple of apps and just noticed the option inside Timeshift to restore bootloader. And just like magic, my Grub set prefix=(hd0,gpt6)/boot/grub root=hd0,gpt6 FINALLY stuck… after restoring my bootloader was good as new! Didn’t need a live iso to reinstall Grub. So why is that we need a live distro to fix Grub but it can be fixed using Timeshift and why isn’t this recommended?

Sometimes one doesn’t have a live iso and if one can just fix Grub from the same linux installation why no one knows about this?