Ubuntu – Can’t get to Grub (UEFI) on Sony VAIO Ubuntu 15.04 Dual Boot

dual-bootgrub2sonyuefiwindows 7

Okay. I've been trying to get GRUB to load for a long time (bordering on two years of attempts). I have windows 7 on a Sony VAIO (SVS151190X) and I am attempting to boot Ubuntu 15.04 through GRUB, but I can't get to GRUB…

This post is an overall extension of details of a similar/same problem posted in: https://askubuntu.com/questions/666690/cannot-boot-ubuntu-15-04-using-sony-vaio-with-win-8-1-pre-installed

Things I've Tried:

  1. Use easyBCD (yes, I realized it only works with MBR based systems so
    I undid everything I did with that
  2. Use bcdedit command in cmd in windows to change the path of {bootmgr} to /EFI/ubuntu/grubx64.efi that didn't work, I ran boot-repair and used it to ONLY reinstall grub and then I went back to windows and change the path of {bootmgr} to /EFI/ubuntu/shimx64.efi and still no success. Then I reset {bootmgr}'s path to the original windows path (/EFI/Microsoft/Boot/bootmgfw.efi).
  3. Then, I tried what was mentioned in other articles: replacing the bootmgfw.efi with the grubx64.efi file, but that did not work. There were many other efi boot files (ones for UEFI boot as stated in grub.cfg, which I used as a reference to figure out what some files did) in /EFI/Microsoft and /EFI/Boot. I replaced every single one with grubx64.efi (renamed of course). For each replacement I renamed the windows file from file.efi to file.win.efi.

By the way, I attempted to directly edit grub.cfg (carefully, using the files I was supposed to edit as reference, in addition to searching the file for all references to bootmgfw.efi. I only edited the list, and specifically the path when I renamed the windows files; nothing else (except right below the list where it has a path for one of the windows things). Now, the reason I had to do this was because sudo grub-update returned:
/usr/sbin/grub-probe: error: failed to get canonical path of /cow.
This occurred after installing boot-repair in a live session, since before I install it boot-repair is just an unknown command…BUT then I tried it again right now in this live session (after sudo apt-get install grub) and it worked fine and I made sure the windows paths were set correctly, but that is not important until I actually gain access to grub.

Also, my BIOS only contains the options of booting off the internal HDD, external device, disk drive, or network. There are no options of selecting windows or Ubuntu, just HDD.

I've viewed so many help pages, including:

So, has anyone successfully dual booted Ubuntu with Windows, after the things I listed above did not work for you and you found a solution that did?

Help is much appreciated, thanks in advance.

Edit: To clarify, Ubuntu is installed and so is the grub boot loader, I just can't manage to arrive at the grub boot loader when I boot my laptop.

Best Answer

  • Many Sonys have cruddy firmware (EFIs) that refuse to launch anything but the Windows boot manager -- that is, EFI/Microsoft/Boot/bootmgfw.efi. The only workaround I know of is to replace that file with GRUB (or, if Secure Boot is active, with Shim, with GRUB stored in its normal filename in the EFI/Microsoft/Boot directory). The Boot Repair program can do this automatically, but you must enter the Advanced menu and select the appropriate option, which is called something like "back up and replace boot files" (I don't recall the precise wording).

    Another thing you might try is replacing the stock Windows installation with a fresh install from retail (not OEM) disks. See here for information on how to obtain various Windows installation media legally. The point of this procedure is to remove the manufacturer-specific cruft that infests most computers and that can add an extra layer of complexity to the boot process.

    The most radical solution is to re-install everything in BIOS/CSM/legacy mode, bypassing EFI-mode booting. The limitations in the Sony apply to EFI mode only, so a BIOS-mode boot should bypass these problems; however, such a conversion would be tricky to carry out without a full re-install, and even with a re-install, there will be problems. See my page on CSM issues for details.

    I know you say you've tried much of this and it hasn't worked. Unfortunately, your problem is that you've got a defective computer. If you hadn't had it for so long, I'd suggest you return it to the store for a refund, but I doubt if they'd take it back after two years.