recovery usb stick unable to boot

Bug #1286226 reported by Daniel Manrique on 2014-02-28
6
This bug affects 1 person
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Dell Recovery
Undecided
Unassigned

Bug Description

This is on a Dell XPS13 (9333) "developer edition", which came preinstalled with Ubuntu 12.04.

I applied all updates prior to attempting this. Other than that, the system is as it came from the factory.

1- Open "dell recovery" (it's version 1.24.2~precise11).
2- Select "Build OS Media"
3- Click on "Continue" to build to USB flash drive (note, it asks for approximately 2 GB free, but a 2-GB USB stick won't work, at lease a 4GB one is needed).
4- click "Apply".
5- Image builds... (I'll obviate password prompts, there are a few of them and all were answered correctly).
6- On the "Make startup disk" dialog, I inserted a 16-GB stick, clicked "erase disk", then when it finishes, "make startup disk".
7- When I get "installation complete", I click "Quit", then reboot with USB stick still plugged in.
8- Press F12, select "USB device"

Expected result:
- Boot into something that allows me to recover the system

Actual result:
Error message:

Unknown command 'source'
error: no such device: /.disk/casper-uuid.
grub rescue>

Daniel Manrique (roadmr) wrote :

Update. I actually hadn't installed all updates. I did so (apt-get update; apt-get dist-upgrade), particularly bringing dell-recovery up to 1.24.2~precise13, and retried, but I still get the same result, so the problem is still present.

Hi thanks for the bug.
A few questions to try to narrow down.

Did this stick have anything else on it? Are you booting in legacy or uefi
mode? Have you changed anything from the factory partition layout? What
filesystem was the stick? Have you used it to boot something previously?
 On Feb 28, 2014 11:50 AM, "Daniel Manrique" <email address hidden>
wrote:

> Update. I actually hadn't installed all updates. I did so (apt-get
> update; apt-get dist-upgrade), particularly bringing dell-recovery up to
> 1.24.2~precise13, and retried, but I still get the same result, so the
> problem is still present.
>
> --
> You received this bug notification because you are subscribed to Dell
> Recovery.
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/1286226
>
> Title:
> recovery usb stick unable to boot
>
> To manage notifications about this bug go to:
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/dell-recovery/+bug/1286226/+subscriptions
>

Daniel Manrique (roadmr) wrote :

Thanks Mario!

> Did this stick have anything else on it?

No, it was empty, and I assumed the "make startup disk" thingy where I "erase disk" would completely blank it. If you think this could help and you have another procedure for blanking the stick, let me know and I'd be happy to try.

> Are you booting in legacy or uefi mode?

Legacy mode, just as it came from the factory.

> Have you changed anything from the factory partition layout?

No, it's all intact. I can even mount the partition (sda2) where the recovery stuff is.

> What filesystem was the stick? Have you used it to boot something previously?

It has a vfat filesystem (as done by the "erase disk" part of the process). I tried creating the filesystem by other means and then not selecting "erase disk", just "make startup disk" with the same bad results :(

To test whether the USB stick is likely to be working properly, I used 'dd' to copy an Ubuntu trusty image to it and try to boot the XPS 13, it booted just fine.

Mario Limonciello (superm1) wrote :

OK thanks for the responses. All that sounds fine and proper. Can you
make sure that there is actually a .disk/casper-uuid on your USB stick?
 It's supposed to be created part of the recovery image production process.
 If there isn't one, then the problem was earlier on while the image was
produced.

This exact configuration does work on a lot of other machines, so my next
suspicion would be GRUB might not like your USB key. Do you know your way
around GRUB at all? If so, from the GRUB rescue prompt could you try to
evaluate what devices it's recognized and is able to mount?

The GRUB configuration is supposed to search for a filesystem or partition
that has a .disk/casper-uuid on it and choose that as it's boot device. If
it can't find one it aborts.

This is a little bit different than how standard Ubuntu does it. We search
for a casper-uuid so you don't accidentally boot off the recovery
partition. The recovery partition doesn't contain one.

On Fri, Feb 28, 2014 at 12:45 PM, Daniel Manrique <
<email address hidden>> wrote:

> Thanks Mario!
>
>
> > Did this stick have anything else on it?
>
> No, it was empty, and I assumed the "make startup disk" thingy where I
> "erase disk" would completely blank it. If you think this could help and
> you have another procedure for blanking the stick, let me know and I'd
> be happy to try.
>
> > Are you booting in legacy or uefi mode?
>
> Legacy mode, just as it came from the factory.
>
> > Have you changed anything from the factory partition layout?
>
> No, it's all intact. I can even mount the partition (sda2) where the
> recovery stuff is.
>
> > What filesystem was the stick? Have you used it to boot something
> previously?
>
> It has a vfat filesystem (as done by the "erase disk" part of the
> process). I tried creating the filesystem by other means and then not
> selecting "erase disk", just "make startup disk" with the same bad
> results :(
>
> To test whether the USB stick is likely to be working properly, I used
> 'dd' to copy an Ubuntu trusty image to it and try to boot the XPS 13, it
> booted just fine.
>
> --
> You received this bug notification because you are subscribed to Dell
> Recovery.
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/1286226
>
> Title:
> recovery usb stick unable to boot
>
> To manage notifications about this bug go to:
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/dell-recovery/+bug/1286226/+subscriptions
>

--
Mario Limonciello
<email address hidden>

Daniel Manrique (roadmr) wrote :
Download full text (3.8 KiB)

Hi Mario,

With a manual or tutorial to hold my hand I can navigate grub just fine, but luckily it didn't come to that.

I tried mounting the USB stick to look for that file as you requested, but it didn't automount (strange), and when trying to mount manually:

sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt -t vfat

it refused to mount, showing this in the log file:

FAT-fs (sdb1): invalid media value (0x63)
FAT-fs (sdb1): Can't find a valid FAT filesystem

To indirectly validate the presence of .disk/casper-uuid, I mounted the .iso image from Downloads/ as a loop device, and indeed, it's there.

I then tried to build boot media again, this time on a USB hard disk. This built fine and the file was there and everything, but for some reason the laptop refused to boot from this disk.

I started seriously suspecting the USB stick but as seen before, when an image is burned it works fine. So I suspected filesystem size. The only peculiarity about this USB stick is that it's 16GB, which sounds big for a VFAT filesystem. I manually built a 5-GB filesystem on the stick (using fdisk and mkfs.vfat) and just specified "make startup disk" while creating the boot media (not erasing it as before).

First off, this does automount when I plug it in, and I see .disk/casper-uuid there. Also, happily, the USB stick now boots the recovery utility without problems.

I guess the same problem that kept Ubuntu from recognizing the hard disk also caused grub to be unable to read the filesystem, and thus fail to find .disk/casper-uuid.

Looks like I'll have to get a 4- or 8-GB stick to keep my recovery backup.

I'd be OK with marking this bug as Invalid as it was due to the too-large USB stick, but I'll let you decide on the status, in case you want more information on what makes this stick fail so strangely.

This USB stick is a 16-GB ADATA USB 3.0 unit, here's the lsusb data:

Bus 002 Device 010: ID 125f:312b A-DATA Technology Co., Ltd. Superior S102 Pro
Device Descriptor:
  bLength 18
  bDescriptorType 1
  bcdUSB 2.10
  bDeviceClass 0 (Defined at Interface level)
  bDeviceSubClass 0
  bDeviceProtocol 0
  bMaxPacketSize0 64
  idVendor 0x125f A-DATA Technology Co., Ltd.
  idProduct 0x312b Superior S102 Pro
  bcdDevice a.00
  iManufacturer 1 ADATA
  iProduct 2 ADATA USB Flash Drive
  iSerial 3 0000000000000400
  bNumConfigurations 1
  Configuration Descriptor:
    bLength 9
    bDescriptorType 2
    wTotalLength 32
    bNumInterfaces 1
    bConfigurationValue 1
    iConfiguration 0
    bmAttributes 0x80
      (Bus Powered)
    MaxPower 500mA
    Interface Descriptor:
      bLength 9
      bDescriptorType 4
      bInterfaceNumber 0
      bAlternateSetting 0
      bNumEndpoints 2
      bInterfaceClass 8 Mass Storage
      bInterfaceSubClass 6 SCSI
      bInterfaceProtocol 80 Bulk-Only
      iInterface 0
      Endpoint Descriptor:
        bLength 7
        bDescriptorType ...

Read more...

M Rahman (remon-pp) wrote :

I also confirm this bug for version 1.24.2~precise13
Mine is Dell Inspiron 14 3437 notebook.I didn't altered anything say partition layout of HDD though I installed some common small programs.

If I create bootable usb using Dell recovery then after installing Bootloader the entire partition on usb disk gets corrupted somehow and doesn't even mount in ubuntu.If I manually create usb using startupdisk from the iso Dell Recovery just built on my /Home/Downloads/ubuntu-12.04-amd64-dell_A00.iso then the usb device is OK and can be mounted to check if the disk is corrupted but doesn't boot.
If I create from Disk program in Ubuntu using Restore Disk Image from options menu using the same iso /Home/Downloads/ubuntu-12.04-amd64-dell_A00.iso the the device is also OK but it doesn't boot either.In my case It doesn't show even a single error message at boot rather go back to HDD grub.
I can confirm the ISO built by Dell Recovery is OK and can be mounted.

I have another question.
1. The OS partition containing Dell Oem Ubuntu is only 1.8 GB but the ISO created by Dell Recovery (/Home/Downloads/ubuntu-12.04-amd64-dell_A00.iso) is 2.2 GB what is the difference?
2. The OEM image available from http://linux.dell.com/files/ubuntu/precise/12.04-OSP1/dell-12.04.2_20130822_0809.iso is 1.7 GB.what is the difference from above two ISO images?

Mario Limonciello (superm1) wrote :

Dell Recovery only builds the ISO image. USB Creator GTK for Ubuntu actually writes the image to a USB stick.

The bootloader is written out separately from copying the files, so it's entirely possible that somehow it's corrupting the disk when the bootloader is written.

Is your USB disk configured to be a full device disk or a disk with a partition and partition table? The previous problem was related to the partition spanning the disk without a partition table. If you are unsure, can you please post the output of

# fdisk -l $DEVICE
where $DEVICE is your partition node for the disk (/dev/sdb etc)

To answer your questions:
1> The ISO image also contains a back up of the utility partition. This gets restored in the restore process.
2> The ISO posted online doesn't contain some non-free content that can only be factory installed.

Changed in dell-recovery:
status: New → Invalid
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