Some Crazy Issues in my Multiboot Setup

Hello there!

I’m using

Linux Mint KDE 18.2
Linux Manjaro 17.2 XFCE
Windows 8.1

The laptop is a Core i7 with a Nvidia 850m and 12Gb of RAM.

Well, this is not just a simple question,
It’s actually quite a story.
I really need some advanced technical advice and assistance.
well, where to start… please bear this with me.

Backstory

Ok, so I have a laptop that came with Windows 8.1 so I installed Linux Mint and I could boot both OS, just fine. I had to sort my way through all the cumbersome uEFI setup, and I think everything was fine because I could use both Windows 8.1 and Linux mint without much trouble.

Everything changed when I added Linux Manjaro to the already complicated mix.

The only way to make the laptop boot into any other thing than Windows 8.1 was pressing F9 at startup, so the uEFI system would show a list with boot options. That has always been that way.

But after installing Manjaro, I ended up with two Grubs! Yes! that menu shows three entries, the first one boots windows, the second one opens Linux Mint’s Grub (wich also includes “linux mint advanced options”)
and now I have this third Manjaro Grub which shows this list:

*Manjaro
*Advanced options for Manjaro
*Linux Mint
*Advanced options for Linux Mint

Now, what gives? It shouldn’t be a problem, should it?
So I decided to customize the Manjaro Grub, and everything went just fine, it looks cool with the modified theme I choose. So I decided to customize the other Grub.
So I end up with two grubs, each one looks beautiful with it’s own different theme with different background each and set of icons each (after running the grub update command in linux mint, it seems manjaro was detected too so now both Grubs have a very similar boot options list)
Ok, so everything looks good, everything seems to be fine. I can boot the three operating systems just fine, Windows boots and works fine, Linux Mint appears to be running fine too, and Manjaro, well, since I had never used it before, all I can say is that I’m still learning lots of things, but it boots just fine too. I would have expected a “Kernel panic” because that’s what I heard that could happen, but everything seems just fine!

Even though everything seems fine, nothing is actually allright under the hood. One day I selected the Manjaro Grub, but instead of selecting the manjaro option I selected the mint option. Everything seemed fine. Now I don’t remember exactly why but after some reboots installing things in both Manjaro and Mint, something wrong began to reveal itself.
This laptop is somewhat new and both Mint and Manjaro are fairly fresh installs, it has been just about some weeks for the first and just about some days for the second. However, I know my linux mint, I have been using it for a much longer time in my older desktop, and I also had mint installed in this laptop but for other reasons I ended up reinstalling it fresh.

I began to get very strange problems (is this thing haunted?)
I think it started when I installed CdEmu at linux Mint. I have CdEmu working just fine in my desktop PC, but after installing it in the laptop and rebooting (I think that time I choose Mint within Manjaro’s Grub)
I got a very cryptical error. It was something like

:: Loading vhba and loop modules [BUSY]
FATAL: Module vhba not found. [FAIL]
:: Waiting for /dev/vhba_ctl [FAIL]
:: Starting cdemud [FAIL]

I followed the instructions here
https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=80444
But the problem didn’t solve. However, after rebooting with the right option (Mint within Mint’s Grub)
it seemed to solve itself!

After that, for some reason I booted manjaro, installed Cdemu there, nothing fancy, it seemed to be OK. Then Mint again (I don’t remember which Grub I used) but my Mint’s KDE graphics looked strange, Cairo-dock had a black border which I had usually seen when virtualbox guest utils weren’t installed, but this is a physical machine! Oh, true, it asked for the compositor to become activated. How strange! Why did it deactivate itself? That kind of thing didn’t happen to me before! After digging in the options I found out that I had to manually activate the desktop composition because somehow something turned it off after considering that it couldn’t run OpenGl.
After turning it on, everything seemed fine.

Again, everything seemed to be just making sure I boot the right distro with it’s native Grub. But things started to show that something may already be damaged under the hood.

When using PlayOnLinux I restored some backed up virtual drives to find that they don’t work well. I really don’t know what is wrong because I’m doing the same kind of things I usually do and usually work for me in my older desktop with all this! All I get is all sorts of errors! Just like CdEmu, lots of already installed libraries are shown as inaccesible by PlayOnLinux in the logs.

I tried reinstalling PlayOnLinux, but that didn’t help.

Thanks for reading until here and please help me.Maybe I will have to give some more specific info. but this is already a wall of text.

Maybe I should start from scratch?

Puzzled

You shouldnt have multiple grubs.
If you are using manjaro you should use its grub, nothing else.
Manjaro’s grub can load others, but other grubs F-up manjaro.
Since you say you ‘customized grub’ Im going to assume that means using ‘grub-customizer’?
So I’m going to give some advice.
Do not do that, on any system. Just dont use it… I mean, maybe if certai… NOPE, NEVER, NOT ONCE.

With that, I’ll let others more versed in odd boot setups help you walk this back, as thats probably possible. Though with an entangled situation where many things may have gone wrong and you arent really sure what, and are willing to start over, it may just be the easiest or even most efficient option.

Thanks a lot for your reply cscs.
Well, I didn’t use grub-customizer. I actually did something like this:

edited /etc/default/grub
changed the GRUB_THEME line to point to my edited theme and used

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

If I recall correctly the command was that one.

And I did that for both the Manjaro GRUB (because at that moment I had just finished installing manjaro)
and (seeing that it worked well, I did exactly the same albeit somewhat different theme) for the Linux Mint Grub. Everything seemed perfect.

Why I have two Grubs? I don’t know, after runnig the Manjaro installer I thought it would simply update / upgrade the existing grub, but that simply didn’t happen. Since this laptop’s uEFI system has it’s own boot loader that shows up before Grub does, I can actually see all the boot options, that perhaps I would not see if I had some other sort of hardware.

I wonder if you booted/installed one in legacy and one in uefi … which would explain the double grub.
…You can have a look around /boot/ and /boot/efi to see whats in there.

Again, in the ideal situation, you would have only manjaros grub and only run something like update-grub (or similar like grub-mkconfig) from manjaro.

As for your grub, at Manjaro terminal, check whats
efibootmgr

Then make manjaro bootorder the first in the list by
sudo efibootmgr -o xxxx,yyyy,zzzz,pppp,qqqq

where xxxx is the manjaro bootorder output by ‘efibootmgr’

That should make manjaro grub appear without pressing F9 at startup (unless you set your bios to always show).

As to your errors in playonlinux - and I’m not too sure about this - it could be a conflict between it and cdemu. Disable/uninstall one of them (then update/upgrade - pacman -Syyu) and see if problem disappear.

Cheers.

Uh… ok. I had no other option but leaving this pending all this time. Now I’m back
Thank you guys for your replies.

Uh, I think such a thing is impossible since I had to setup uEFI when I installed Linux Mint, and Manjaro’s installer also asked for it. And for Windows 8.1, when I installed it from scratch a year ago I think I had disabled the legacy mode, so that’s outright impossible. Actually after running MSINFO32 on Windows 8.1, it shows that it’s running in UEFI mode.

This is what I got when running efibootmgr

At Linux Mint:

$ efibootmgr
BootCurrent: 0000
Timeout: 2 seconds
BootOrder: 0001,3001,0000,0003,2001,2002,2003
Boot0000* ubuntu
Boot0001* Windows Boot Manager
Boot0003* Manjaro
Boot2001* USB Drive (UEFI)
Boot2002* Internal CD/DVD ROM Drive (UEFI)
Boot3000* Internal Hard Disk or Solid State Disk
Boot3001* Internal Hard Disk or Solid State Disk
Boot3002* Internal Hard Disk or Solid State Disk
Boot3003* Internal Hard Disk or Solid State Disk

At Linux Manjaro:

efibootmgr
BootCurrent: 0003
Timeout: 2 seconds
BootOrder: 0001,3001,0000,0003,2001,2002,2003
Boot0000* ubuntu
Boot0001* Windows Boot Manager
Boot0003* Manjaro
Boot2001* USB Drive (UEFI)
Boot2002* Internal CD/DVD ROM Drive (UEFI)
Boot3000* Internal Hard Disk or Solid State Disk
Boot3001* Internal Hard Disk or Solid State Disk
Boot3002* Internal Hard Disk or Solid State Disk
Boot3003* Internal Hard Disk or Solid State Disk

Hmm Errr… What? Internal CD/DVD Rom Drive? This laptop doesn’t have it!
and why so many internal HDD or SSD? I only have one!

Now it shows ubuntu instead of Linux Mint in both cases, I had thought it would be because I had Ubuntu installed before, but after some research I learned that actually Linux Mint shows itself as Ubuntu, what a headache.

Uhmm thanks a lot, but that’s not my problem. I wouldn’t mind if I have to keep pressing F9 as long as the OS, worked well after booting, but the real problem here is the erratic behavior I’m getting.

This is the erratic behavior I’m talking about. For some reason it seems that when some apps such as PlayOnLinux or CdEmu are installed, they apply some changes to Grub, because I have seen the CdEmu installation log (couldn’t check PlayOnlinux, but I bet it did something similar too.) and it said something like “Updating Grub” when finished.

That’s why I can connect the two grub issue with the current problems. Just like I updated grub to have a theme for each distro’s grub, those programs add some sort of info to grub when they are installed, but that info only goes to the current grub, not to both, so if I boot distro A with grub B and install something, then if I boot distro A with grub A, that program is corrupt and has this erratic behavior, strange errors, etc!

Now if I had a single grub maybe this wouldn’t be an issue, but I don’t know what would happen if I try to delete linux mint grub. I think I will have to delete all grubs first, reinstall linux mint, then reinstall manjaro, then delete mint’s grub to make sure I never boot from it. Then, maybe linux mint will not get corrupt when installing stuff… I don’t know. I’m not even sure what’s the correct procedure to delete grubs without screwing up the windows efi boot manager!

uEFi does seem to be an instrument to make using Linux a lot harder!

Let’s see. I will try an experiment, I think I could try installing Linux Mint KDE alongside Linux Mint Cinnamon, since doing that kind of thing worked fine in my older non uEfi deskop, but that would shed some light of what happens if I do that in an uEfi environment. If I do get two grubs again… then I guess I will have to resort to other kind of workarounds.

Please give me your opinions.
Anyways, thanks a lot, have a good day!

So

sudo efibootmgr 0003,0001,0000

Correct, LM uses boot-id as ‘ubuntu’; it is a derivative of ubuntu and mechanism remain unchanged.

Don’t worry about this. just your firmware being ‘properly correct’ to have this included.

Yes, sometimes firmware regenerates repeatedly. To remove

sudo efibootmgr -b 3000 -B
sudo efibootmgr -b 3001 -B
sudo efibootmgr -b 3002 -B
sudo efibootmgr -b 3003 -B

It will regenerate by itself, hopefully just one entry.

As I said, I don’t have PlayOnLinux or CdEmu, but it shouldn’t change grub; if it did, that’s wrong.

Don’t have to do this. As same to your proposed ‘experiment’ .

No comment. I don’t comment on preferences. Just its features. But I find both easy to use and easy to learn. Perhaps it’s a matter of just getting used to it. A learning process may require an ‘unlearning’ procedure.

Of course, some things take longer to learn. We keep electing the wrong people and we don’t think anything wrong with the whole system. :grin:

I heavily doubt you ‘set up’ U/EFI … just like I heavily doubt you wrote your own bios.
Linux can be booted in efi or legacy mode.

Actually, I’m rather sure that is impossible.

Uh, that has nothing to do with how another OS was installed.

(the actuallys and uhs were added to become more similar to your apparent vernacular)

I know. I know. When I say “Setup uEfi” I mean “setting up” or configuring everything (both the laptop and the bootable USB flash drives) to work in uEfi mode.

Well, uhm… OK.

True, but if it is proven that Windows 8.1 is running in uEfi mode, then I go and do what gohlip
suggested (that’s just the next thing I say in that same post) and run efibootmgr at both linux mint and linux manjaro with both giving similar info, then what is left to do to? Everything demonstrates that everything I installed here is running in uEfi mode, or maybe I’m becoming crazy?

I’m sorry that my native languaje is not English. I may say things in a somewhat different way. Besides, it was very late at night, I was sleepy. It’s also late tonight… anyways.

Well… :sigh: :sweat: All I can do is give a screenshot to prove it.

I made a virtual machine with virtualbox and Manjaro KDE. then installed CdEmu. Here is a screenshot of the console. It clearly states Upgrading Grub Bootmenu, and it does update grub.

https://photos.google.com/album/AF1QipM0zak_ydX6XsHJveJPDRW8FRJZzLiaKk_J6sE/photo/AF1QipMv8HDFUHV7f2dXu04xaI1RWRqx2GUc8L6gnXQ

Clearly I will have to do somethink like what I said. I will have to reinstall Linux Mint because it is indeed corrupted, and I guess Manjaro installation might also be compromised. But I don’t know if just reinstalling everything again will be enough. And then what? If I delete Linux Mint grub, how do I make sure that programs that update stuff in the boot sequence such as CdEmu will target Manjaro’s Grub correctly when installed from Linux Mint?

This is becoming too complex.

Preferences? I don’t understand. I thoguht uEfi was the new de facto “Bios” standard that was going to come by default in all newer hardware. Sure, I guess I will have to get used to it, but I can’t believe all this problem. In my older desktop PC I had Windows XP, Linux Mint Mate and Linux Mint Cinnamon and it only had one Grub and no trouble. Now I have even removed Windows XP and replaced it with yet another Mint.

Maybe. I guess it’s a bit of everything. Maybe we keep electing wrong people because there is no such thing as “right” people since everybody has flaws, and everybody makes mistakes.
Anyways, thank you guys for your time. Regards! :grinning:

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