I'm trying to install Xubuntu on a 2015 Dell XPS 13 laptop, but I've been running into all sorts of bootloader-related problems. To make a long story short, I've installed several different distros on this machine over the past few weeks, but the trouble didn't begin until after I installed Fedora 21. Here's a quick summary of events:
- I originally installed Xubuntu 14.10 and 15.04 Beta 1 alongside Windows 8 without any problems.
- I erased the entire disk and installed Fedora 21 using LVM with encryption and the default partitioning scheme.
- I've attempted numerous times to erase the entire disk and install Xubuntu 14.10 and Xubuntu 15.04 Beta 1 using various partitioning schemes. Sometimes I get an error message stating that GRUB installation failed. At other times, the installation completes without error, but when I reboot my machine, Ubuntu is not detected as a boot option. Unfortunately I don't have any error logs available from the times when the GRUB installation failed, and I haven't been able to reproduce that specific problem recently.
- I tried erasing the disk and installing Fedora 21 again, and the installation completed successfully. I could boot into Fedora without error.
- I again attempted to erase the disk and install Xubuntu and Ubuntu 14.10, but I encountered the same problems as before: the installation completes successfully, but there are no entries in the Dell boot menu.
I'm using UEFI with Secure Boot disabled for all of this. All I want to do is to erase the disk and perform a standard installation of Ubuntu or Xubuntu with no other operatinng systems installed.
Currently I have Xubuntu 14.10 (and no other OS) installed, but it's not showing up in the boot options when I turn on my machine. I've tried running boot-repair, and it's giving me this message:
GPT detected. Please create a BIOS-Boot partition (>1MB, unformatted filesystem, bios_grub flag). This can be performed via tools such as Gparted. Then try again.
I'm confused by this, because I'm booted using UEFI. (
/sys/firmware/efi is present.)
I realize that this is not a lot of information to go on, but I'd be extremely grateful if anyone could point me in the right direction or suggest what might be causing this problem.
In case it's relevant, I'm running the Dell A03 BIOS on this machine. I replaced the stock Broadcom wireless card with an Intel 7260NGW while Fedora was installed in order to get better out-of-the-box networking support without messing with proprietary drivers. That hasn't caused any obvious problems.
Everything described here was done in UEFI mode with Secure Boot disabled using 64-bit ISOs.
I've tried creating installation media using both Startup Disk Creator and
dd and encountered problems in both cases.
I've been jumping between distros in an effort to find something with a relatively recent kernel that plays nicely with this machine. I've been trying to install Xubuntu 15.04 Beta 1 rather than Beta 2 in order to avoid this bug.
Summary, Speculation, and Questions
I've tentatively ruled out the following possible explanations (but feel free to correct me if I'm mistaken here):
- Bad USB drive
- Improperly created installation medium
- Booted in wrong mode
It seems like something changed after I installed Fedora, though I suppose that could just be a coincidence. But here's what's puzzling me:
- Why would installs conducted after formatting the partitions repeatedly fail to properly install a bootloader? Shouldn't a fresh, standard installation of Ubuntu work 99% of the time?
- Why has the installer displayed "failed to install bootloader" errors on some occasions but completed without error on other occasions?
- Why am I getting errors about BIOS compatibilty mode when I've been using UEFI and GPT all along?
Terrifying possibilities that I've considered but don't know how to diagnose:
- There's something wrong with my laptop's hardware.
- There's something wrong with the Dell BIOS.
- Fedora made some sort of change to the disk that's persisted despite my repeated attempts to format it and install Ubuntu.