We may need some tools for troubleshooting that make it easier for us to fix errors when installing or starting computers:
- Labtix on a USB stick :-) ,
- Labtix on USB stick, installed with "dd" with the Live USB Maker,
- Labtix on DVD,
- a finished standard Labdoo installation on a hard drive to test whether a device can / wants to boot with Labdoo,
- a finished legacy Labdoo installation on a hard drive to test whether a device can / wants to boot with Labdoo legacy,
- Super Grub 2 Disk (link) as a starting aid for Labtix or Labdoo,
- Clonezilla-Live or Parted Magic to install if nothing else works,
- Boot Repair Disk ( link ) to fix boot problems with Labdoo.
- optional: USB adapter for SATA to be able to "plug in" a hard drive externally,
- optional: USB hub for USB / USB-C slots if a laptop doesn't have enough slots
You don't have to create all of these tools directly. It is enough to create them when needed. But the more problem cases you have worked on, the more complete this tool collection becomes.
The easiest way can often be to install a hard drive with a finished Labdoo installation in a "problem" computer. This saves time and nerves!!!
Computer remains "dead":
When plugging in the power supply, the DC indicator light does not light up or the computer beeps:
- Power supply defective or not suitable? Make sure you have the correct DC plug.
- No RAM memory installed?
- Battery deeply discharged? If possible, try starting without a battery or powering the computer for a while. Depending on the device, it can take a few minutes to an hour until the device is bootable!
UEFI not accessible:
- Win 10 or 11 is started in installation mode and the UEFI is not accessible: remove the hard drive and delete it externally.
- If Windows is already installed and boots to the login screen: Click the power icon, click the "Restart" option with Shift/Shift key >>"Advanced options">> "Troubleshoot" >> "UEFI settings" . In the UEFI then put the Labtix stick first in the boot settings, deactivate secureboot if necessary.
- Common keys to get into UEFI: ESC, F1 (Lenovo), F2, F10, F12 (Dell), Del . Depending on the setting in the UEFI, the "Fn" key must be pressed at the same time.
- Some devices (some Lenovo or Sony) have their own button to boot into UEFI, sometimes quite hidden. A search on the Internet can be informative.
- If Labtix boots into the UEFI boot menu: Boot Rescue Menus >> Reboot into BIOS/UEFI Setup. Labtix may have to be booted via the computer's boot menu.
- If you have one, try a Labtix DVD and boot into the UEFI using the Boot Rescue Menu (see above).
- Boot into the UEFI boot menu with a Xubuntu USB Live stick. This contains the “UEFI Firmware Settings” option. Is also possible with some other *buntus. You may have to boot via the computer's boot menu.
- Sometimes it helps to consistently remove all drives and don't overlook the SD card slot.
- On some devices, removing the CMOS battery can force an error message from which access to the UEFI is often possible. Similarly, some devices have a reset button on the bottom that can be reached through a small hole.
Labtix does not boot into the Grub boot menu:
- Secureboot switched off in UEFI?
- USB boot not possible, e.g. by excluding USB boot in UEFI
- Some devices only boot Labtix in UEFI mode, others only in legacy mode, so it makes sense to try it out. The same applies to the installed images.
- "USB-always power on" activated in UEFI?
- A common problem is the poor connectivity of some USB sticks in USB sockets. If you pull the stick approx. 1mm outwards, the stick may have better contact. If the LED on the stick (if present) lights up or flashes, the contact should be OK.
- Use Labtix DVD?
- Use Labtix on a stick installed in Labtix with the Live USB Maker with the "dd" option?
- The device simply does not want to start with the bootloader used by Labtix or ignores it due to the computer firmware used (e.g. on some Acer laptops). If the device accepts the SuperGrub2Disk bootloader (from USB or CD), Labtix can be started using SuperGrub2Disk. https://www.supergrubdisk.org
- If all else fails, you can install a hard drive in the device on which you have installed Labdoo.
- If only Win 10 or 11 stubbornly boots, the only solution is to remove the hard drive to start Labtix and/or get into the UEFI. The hard drive should then be erased using an external USB adapter and checked for errors using DiskCheck in Labtix.
- (for Labdoo Germany) ...and if all else fails, then send the IT donation to the central post office https://platform.labdoo.org/de/hub?h=119075
Labtix hangs when booting:
- If Labtix hangs when booting, it is worth trying out the boot options “failsafe” (driver problems), “nomodeset” (graphics driver problems) or acpi=off (power management problems),
- A network search with the computer type, "Linux" and "Boot options" can lead to success in special cases,
- If the boot process hangs with the message "waiting for devs to be fully populated ..." you can cancel this process with Ctrl + C,
- sometimes a device just won't boot with Labtix. Alternatively, an image can be installed with Parted Magix or Clonezilla Live. The content can then be installed from Labdoo.
- There is always the option of installing a hard drive pre-installed with Labdoo.
- Destination disk damaged? Check with check disk.
- Contact to the install disk or the server used is not stable? Or files do not exist on the specified paths?
- The Labdoo images use a block size of 4096 bytes. This can cause problems with a few SSDs/NVMEs. Unfortunately, the only solution is to replace the hard drive.
- The target hard drive could be too small for the selected image and content.
- In general you should carry out an installation with a freshly booted Labtix. If the installation scripts were aborted or hard drives or shares were added or deleted in Labtix, artifacts in the operating system may prevent the installation scripts from running correctly.
- Some hard drives have write and/or read protection. The values in Disk-Check then look normal, but no partitions can be deleted or created. The only quick solution here is to replace the hard drive.
Note: Labdoo Germany accepts MacBooks as IT donations. Labdoo Switzerland does not.
- If Labtix does not boot (which is the rule), hold down the Alt key immediately after pressing the power button until a selection of bootable media appears.
- The computer's NVRAM may need to be deleted first:
- Power button, then hold down "Alt", "P", "Cmd", "R" at the same time for approx. 30 seconds,
- In Labtix, pay attention to the clock frequency, if necessary limit it to approx. 2 Ghz with Cpupower-Gui to avoid overheating during the installation of Labdoo. Use the temperature_workaround in Labdoo!
- MacBooks with the T2 chip are unfortunately not compatible with Labdoo. The same applies to the new MacBooks with ARM processors.
Labdoo does not boot:
- Try booting via the computer's boot menu. Common keys: Esc, F9, F12 on tablets/convertibles Power + Vol"+" or Vol"-". If necessary, together with the Fn key.
- Use Gparted in Labtix to check whether the installation on the hard drive looks correct:
- Standard installation: grub2core.img, efi partition and Linux partition present and extended to the entire drive?
- Legacy installation: Linux partition present and extended to the entire drive?
- "Boot flag" and efi flag (standard installation only) set?
- Check the hard drive again with Disk Check in Labtix. By deleting hard drives with "shred" when installing Labdoo, they can be damaged if they were already on the brink anyway.
- The boot mode may need to be changed in UEFI. Sometimes Labtix only boots in UEFI mode on the same device, but Labdoo boots in Legacy or CMS mode or vice versa
- Move Labdoo up in the boot order in the UEFI,
- look in the boot menu of the computer to see whether the Labdoo installation appears there and whether it can be started from there,
- Start Labdoo using Super Grub 2 Disk (https://www.supergrubdisk.org). Connect to the Internet. Open a terminal with "Ctrl" + "Alt" + "T" and reinstall the bootloader with the command "sudo grub-install". This may cause Labdoo's bootloader to be entered into the computer's firmware.
- Start the computer with "Boot Repair Disk" ( link ), establish an internet connection and follow the instructions. Can solve one or two UEFI problems.
Get more messages:
In its default setting, Labdoo does not display the kernel boot messages during booting, but rather the Mate boot logo ("plymouth"). However, if booting or shutting down hangs or takes a long time, you can use the boot messages to diagnose possible sources of error.
To display the boot messages while Plymouth is displayed: press "ESC" + "F1"
If you want to show all messages:
- After switching on, use the shift key to make Grub's boot menu visible. If necessary, try several times, the default time window is 3 seconds!
- If you are in the boot menu and the first entry is activated, press the "E" key to enter editor mode.
Find the line with
linux /boot/vmlinuz....and replace
noplymouth. The American keyboard layout applies!
- Boot with F10.
The most recent boot messages can be used to search for errors on the Internet. When searching, always specify the device used.
The changed settings only apply once, so they have to be changed every time you boot.
When the computer boots into Labdoo, the "dmesg" command in the terminal displays the boot messages. Problems are usually displayed in red.
Secure boot activated and cannot be deactivated
Important note: Labtix does not boot with Secureboot!!! However, the Grub boot menu appears and the message “secureboot” appears at the bottom left. However, it is often possible to access the UEFI in order to deactivate Secureboot via the Boot Rescue Menus >> Reboot into BIOS/UEFI Setup entries.
On some computers, Secureboot can only be deactivated if an administrator password has previously been set in the UEFI.
There is a small trap with some Acer computers: if you deactivate Secureboot and set the boot mode to "UEFI", Secureboot is automatically activated again!
If the computer's UEFI is protected with an unknown password and Secureboot is activated, it is still worth trying to install. As a rule, all *buntus like Ubuntu Mate, the basis of the Labdoo images, can be installed easily with Secureboot.
Since Labdoo images are installed through cloning, the installation step in which the Ubuntu secureboot certificate is entered into the computer's firmware is no longer necessary. This means that, depending on the computer firmware or the secure boot settings, the computer is prevented from booting Labdoo. Nevertheless, it is worth a try to have the certificates subsequently entered into the firmware. Unfortunately, this doesn't always work.
Installation of Labdoo:
- The quickest way to work is to install a hard drive pre-installed with Labdoo.
- Does the computer still have to be installed, e.g. because of a soldered hard drive
- Installation with Clonezilla in Parted Magic, then install contents in Labdoo.
- If the Labdoo installation does not boot: see "Labdoo does not boot".
Once Labdoo has been made to boot (unfortunately this is not always possible), an update must be carried out:
- Connect to the Internet and open a terminal with "Ctrl" + "Alt" + "T" and enter the following commands one after the other:
sudo apt update>>> check for updates,
sudo apt upgrade>>> run the updates.
- If asked, answer yes and provide the Labdoo admin password.
During the update you should be asked whether you want to create a secureboot password. This must be answered in the affirmative and entered accordingly. Write on a piece of paper and keep it safe :-)) . It may be that if there are changes to the hardware (e.g. new WiFi card) the password will be requested!
- Restart Labtix once, then enter
sudo apt autoremove>>> in the terminal to remove unnecessary files.
For very inflexible devices:
Unfortunately, this type of installation is not trivial, which is why the procedure can only be outlined superficially. If you really want to give it a go, you'll have to search online from time to time to get further:
- Install a hard drive pre-installed with Labdoo in the device,
- Install Xubuntu on the device in parallel. During the installation, the kernel or its secure boot certificate is entered into the UEFI partition and the firmware of the computer.
- In the corresponding window, select the option "Install Xubuntu alongside Ubuntu",
- during Xubuntu installation, set the partition size for Xubuntu to approximately 12 Gb,
- After installation, set the default boot entry of the Grub bootloader to the partition with Labdoo. Unfortunately it's not entirely trivial; it's best to use the Internet to find out,
- After booting into Labdoo for the first time, update the system once as described above.
...and if nothing works, send the IT donation to the central post office... ;) (Labdoo Germany only)
Continue reading to the next page:
Labtix boot setting and persistence
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Installed tools for Labtix