intermittent boot failure dell inspiron 3593

Bug #1883785 reported by Sandy Patterson on 2020-06-16
This bug affects 6 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
grub2 (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Sometimes on reboots and quick cold boots (poweroff then hit power immediately) I get

error: Command failed. -repeated a number of times then
error: you need to load the kernel first.

Press any key to continue...

* cold booting usually fixes this and I'm able to boot normally.
* I have three identical laptops and have seen the issue on 2 (i've only installed 20.04 on two).
* I don't see the problem on 18.04.
* If I go into the grub> menu many commands fail "true" "cat" but some don't "ls" "false."
* Once i'm in grub> menu I can fix things by running "rmmod tpm" then subsequent commands start working again and I can exit and continue.

The source for grub points to tpm.c when I search for "Command failed." I also notice that there's no such file in 2.02 version of grub so maybe that's related to why it doesn't work.

I haven't been able to find a combination of BIOS settings that mitigates this. I have tried disabling everything I could think of.

This laptop has Intel PTT which I think is baked into the BIOS (which I upgraded to the newest).

* Once the system fails to boot:
* enter grub> by pressing 'c'
* type 'rmmod tmp'
* press 'esc' to go back to menu and select desired option and system boots again.

sudo cp /etc/grub.d/40_custom /etc/grub.d/06_notpm
sudo bash -c 'echo "rmmod tpm" >> /etc/grub.d/06_notpm'
sudo update-grub

I will have these laptops for some time but won't be able to test much beyond a week or two most likely.

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 20.04
Package: grub2-common 2.04-1ubuntu26
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 5.4.0-37.41-generic 5.4.41
Uname: Linux 5.4.0-37-generic x86_64
ApportVersion: 2.20.11-0ubuntu27.2
Architecture: amd64
CasperMD5CheckResult: skip
CurrentDesktop: ubuntu:GNOME
Date: Tue Jun 16 16:33:42 2020
InstallationDate: Installed on 2020-06-08 (8 days ago)
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 20.04 LTS "Focal Fossa" - Release amd64 (20200423)
 PATH=(custom, no user)
SourcePackage: grub2
UpgradeStatus: No upgrade log present (probably fresh install)

Sandy Patterson (xandey) wrote :
Sandy Patterson (xandey) wrote :

Upon some further research, it looks like this bug is similar:
However, that bug seems to happen all the time where as for me it's intermittent.

I tried the workaround from the linked bug and can confirm that when I experience the issue I can boot successfully by:
* 'c'
* grub> rmmod tpm
* 'esc'
* 'enter' to select normal boot menu entry.

description: updated
Sandy Patterson (xandey) on 2020-06-17
description: updated
Sandy Patterson (xandey) on 2020-06-17
description: updated
Emil (nostormo) wrote :

Exacly the same issue on same Dell 3593, issue persist also on Linux Mint 20.04 (guess because it is based on Ubunu 20.04). Latest kernel.

Sometimes solved by enabling / disabling secure boot. Other times boot order Ubuntu/SSD, SSD/Ubuntu, unchecking SSD. Using recover kernel 5.40 mode/update grub.

On reboot it works every time.
On shut down....sometimes does not load OS after day/two or 4/5 days.

Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in grub2 (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Pablo Pedemonte (ppedemon) wrote :

*Exactly* the same error here. Dell 3593, Ubuntu 20.04. Never tried the "rmmod tpm" fix, will do next time it happens. Two questions:

  - Can anyone affected confirm this doesn't happen with Ubuntu 18?
  - Does WORKAROUND 2 in original post lead to permanent solution? Looks like it should.


Sandy Patterson (xandey) wrote :

@ppedemon Well, I'm the OP so WORKAROUND 2 does work for me (obviously). I deployed these laptops with it after testing that it was stable so I don't have access to them anymore. I did look into the git history of grub and it seems to be related to some patches around TPM where it fails to perform some sort of tracing if the tpm chip isn't happy. This happens regardless of whether you've installed using secure boot or not. Anyway, It wasn't happening for me on 18.

I had a forum posting here where oldfred got me on the right track. I tried to include all the information in this bug report though.

I have installed Kubuntu 20.04 on a Dell Inspiron 15 5593 and I have the same problem. I've used the workaround 2 and it seems that solves the issue. Thanks.

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