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Struggling to dual boot install Q4OS Centaurus alongside Windows 10 on Dell XPS 15 9575 2in1

by Hawke published Apr 21, 2021 08:35 PM, last modified Apr 22, 2021 12:39 AM
I have been using the previous version of q4os for about a year, very happily on my Dell XPS 15 2-in-1. I started having issues and found the the Samsung 970EVO was failing, so backed up everything, and with a hardware cloning device copied to a fresh matching SSD. The Windows side booted right up, but I couldn't get q4os to boot. This was last week. I have since completely wiped all the q4os partitions, etc. in frustration, and have been trying to get just a basic dual-boot install working. The install runs fine, but on boot I get the grub> prompt. Try as I might, I cannot get the grub setup to work on this system. I am logging my battle to get this working here, in the hopes that it may help others in the future.

Here are notes from installing previously a year ago, February 2020:

I don't know why this newer version is so much more difficult to install on the identical laptop.  The previous version a year ago was quite easy, even when I added LVM partitioning and such.

I REALLY like using Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE), and Q4OS is especially easy to use it under, while other distros tend to be more of a PITA to get TDE working with. I was happily using the previous version of Q4OS then I started having problems with claws-mail, and the developer refused to help because of how old a version is bundled with the previous version of Q4OS, then my drive started failing, so it seemed time to make the upgrade to Centaurus, and hopefully resolve the claws-mail issue with an upgrade (fresh install). Alas, it has been a disaster. My primary system has been down for almost a week now, killing my productivity. I wouldn't have done it now with everything going on, but for the failing SSD, I was left without much choice. I don't want to give up on Trinity and Q4OS, and I have posted to the Q4OS forum hoping for help, but if they don't respond soon, I am going to have to give up and just throw straight Debian or (gack!) Ubuntu. But that will impair my productivity long term, so one more day before giving up...

I have tried both the LIVE USB installer and the Windows-based installer, with the same issue, the installer doesn't create a usable boot menu.
The system has a fair number of partitions, which I wonder may be an issue. This is UEFI type newer system.
Here is system information:
Intel i7-8705G, 16 GB RAM, 2 TB Samsung 970 EVO (brand new replacement of the same previous one).
Boot= UEFI
Weirdly I have to enable "RAID" in the BIOS > SATA Operation to boot windows, and previously working q4os, I would need to switch that to "AHCI" for the linux side to boot. It would be nice not to have to change this bios back and forth if possible, but if still necessary to get this working, I'll do whatever it takes. smile
Booting the Live USB, my partition information looks like this (after having wiped all the LVM, crypto, etc. I had before, and wiping the gpt and efi partitions I created trying to get this to work to no avail):
/dev/nvme0n1p1 - EFI system partition - fat32 - Label: ESP - 650MB - flags: boot, esp
/dev/nvme0n1p2 - MS reserved - unknown - .. - 128MB - flags: msftres
/dev/nvme0n1p3 - basic data - ntfs - OS - 242GB - flags: msftdata
/dev/nvme0n1p4 - basic data - ntfs - APPS - 220GB - flags: msftdata
/dev/nvme0n1p5 - .. - ntfs - WINRETOOLS - 990MB - hidden, diag
/dev/nvme0n1p6 - .. - ntfs - IMAGE - 11GB - hidden, diag
/dev/nvme0n1p7 - .. - ntfs - DELLSUPPORT - 1GB - hidden,diag

following partitions are ones I have been creating in various ways trying to get things working, but failing, so any of the following can be blown away and changed to whatever it takes to get this to work:
/dev/nvme0n1p8 - EFI - fat32 - 650MB - boot, esp
/dev/nvme0n1p9 - ROOT - ext4 - 100GB - ..
/dev/nvme0n1p10 - BOOT - ext2 - 1GB - boot, esp
/dev/nvme0n1p11 - SWAP - linux-swap - 3GB - ..
/dev/nvme0n1p12 - HOME - ext4 - 1.25TB - ..
/dev/nvme0n1p13 - GPTboot - grub2 core.img - 1MB - bios, grub

No matter which installation approach I take (short of blowing away the existing working Windows and Dell partitions), Live USB or installed from windows, it will not boot to Q4os after.
When install from Live USB, on reboot after install, I just get the

When using the install from Windows, after install is complete, upon reboot I get:
Boot chainload, phase 1 ...
umount: can't unmount /host1: Invalid argument
Host filesystem not found, make Windows partition accessible.
Press [Enter] to reboot ..._


Dell XPS 15 9575 2 in 1.
So, starting this process over, and posting what happens until either something works, or someone has some suggestions.
Removed all but the Windows Boot Manager option from the bio boot sequence options.
Blew away all partitions from 8+.
Boot List Option in Bios is set to UEFI (rather than "Legacy External Devices").
BIOS System Configuration > SATA Operation set to AHCI. When set to RAID On, that is only way Windows will boot, but q4OS live usb doesn't detect the hard drive at all.
RAID on = "SATA is configured to suppoirt RAID mode (Intel(r) Rapid Restore Technology) (only 1 HD in this system though).
AHCI = "SATA is configured for AHCI mode".
Created a 100MB partition unformatted (p8).
Booted from Q4OS live usb.
Ran installer.
Selected the p8 partition to install into.
installer completed process without error.
Rebooted (pulled out USB live stick when it powered off).
Boot up did not find any usable partition but the windows one.
Went into the BIOS to create boot entries > Settings > Boot Sequence:
No options listed except "Windows Boot Manager".
Just shotgunning here (I tried the "most logical" approach before, now just trying every combination trying to get this to work), added many boot options for gpt1 and gpt7,  as well as:
System failed to find anything to boot from, and so rebooted itself again and then loaded the Windows Recovery automatically (Even though I have the Windows Boot Manager disabled in the BIOS Boot Sequence).
Hitting f12 for boot options reveals the list, plus one added to the top I did not manually add myself, I am assuming the q4OS installer added, even though it didn't show up in the menu options or the BIOS previously:
Q4OS Centaurus. -> Selected this.
Something flashes by in the upper left hand corner too quickly to read, then it shows error message:
"Boot chainload, phase 1 ...
umount: can't unmount /host1: Invalid argument
Host filesystem not found, make Windows partition accessible.
Press [Enter] to reboot ...
So I reboot into back into the BIOS Setup, and change the SATA Operation from AHCI to RAID On, and reboot...
Hit F12 for device boot menu
Select Q4OS Centaurus in this mode, same thing, something about loading os files, then the same exact error that Windows partition not accessible (even though I verify that I can boot into windows in this RAID on mode still).
Reboot set bios sata back to ahci, boot up and select next item on the boot device menu:
gpt1 (which is label for the following: PciRoot(0x0)/Pci(0x1D,0x4)/Pci(0x0,0x0)/?/HD(1,GPT,E93C3E8D-F14F-4F81-8AD4-2BC9971B453C), File Name: \EFI\BOOT\BOOTX64.EFI.
Which attempts to load Windows (as expected), but will fail with BSD "INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE due to being AHCI sata mode.

Next option selected, label gpt7 (represents:  (which is label for the following: PciRoot(0x0)/Pci(0x1D,0x4)/Pci(0x0,0x0)/?/HD(7,GPT,37317CA-C493-4862-BEB9-73868126599F), File Name: \EFI\BOOT\BOOTX64.EFI.
Which generates the following error:
Press F1 Key to retry boot.
Press F2 key to reboot into setup.
Press F5 to run onboard diagnostics.
F1 reboot just comes back to the same issue, the other 2 are as described of course.







Blue screen comes up with
Top of screen stating: "Shim UEFI key management"
in center of screen "Press any key to preform MOK management"
and in lower left corner a countdown "Booting in ..x.. seconds". If I do nothing, it boots, and I am presented with:
Press F1 key to try boot. Press F2 key to reboot into setup, etc. (although in much larger font size than the previous one).
If I hit any key before the countdown expires, presented with small menu:
"Continue Boot"
"Enroll key from disk"
"Enroll hash from disk".

I am not touching the keys at this point, so continue boot selected. and back to the Press F1 ... etc.

Something not found (goes by too quickly on screen to read what), then immediately fails and reboots system.


Press F1 key to retry boot. etc.


Loading Q40S.. some more text flashes by, then
Boot chainload , phase 1... error, etc.


The blue menu with MOK Management (as the name indicates.

Loading Q4OS....
Boot chainload, phase 1...
umount error etc.




All of the above was with the Q4OS Live USB installer option selecting the disk's MBR for the installation location (nvme0n1):
"Master Boot Record of Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus 2TB /dev/nvme0n1".

The following are with the boot code installed to:
"System Partition (/)"

Finish install, reboot (pulling out LIVE USB),

Debian menu selection





Menu Selection: Q4OS Centaurus:

Result: boot chainload, phase 1...

umount: can't unmount, etc....


gpt1 result: tries to load windows.

gpt7 result: Press F1 key to retry boot., etc....

fs0-debian-shimx64 result: grub>

" " grubx64 result: grub> prompt

" " " wubildr-grubx64.efi result: loading Q4os... Boot chainload.. fail.

" " " " shimx64.efi result: bootchainload fail.




Trying again with the q4os-winsetup-3.0 approach.

Two options, install to drive C or drive D. 

Starting with C, the result: 

 reboots, initializing q4os system.... Boot chainload, phase 1... umount: can't unmount. Fail.


Try again installing to D: the result: Identical results.



 debian menu select, result: grub>.

From grub> prompt:

grub> ls

(proc) (hd0) (hd0,gpt9) (hd0,gpt8) (hd0,gpt7) (hd0,gpt6) (hd0,gpt5) (hd0,gpt4) (hd0,gpt3) (hd0,gpt2) (hd0,gpt1) (hd1)

grub> ls (hd0,gpt8)/    <shows the root filesystem/os installed from try1  and hd0,gpt9)/ shows the root fs/os from try 2)

lost+found/ proc/ sys/ dev/ run/ bin initrd.img initrd.img.old lib lib32 lib64 libx32 program_files sbin vmlinuz vmlinuz.old boot/ etc/ home/ media/ mnt/ opt/ root/ srv/ tmp/ usr/ var/


grub> set pager=1

grub> set root=(hd0,9)

grub> set boot=(hd0,9)

grub> set prefix=(hd0,9)/boot/grub

grub> insmod normal

grub> normal


 Now I finally get something:

Boot menu in blue shown:

GNU GRUB version 2.02+dfsg1-20

* Q4OS Desktop 3.14 'Centaurus'

* Advanced options for Q4OS Desktop 3.14 'Centaurus'

* Debian GNU/Linux 10 (buster) (on /dev/nvme0n1p8)

* Advanced options for Debian GNU/Linux 10 (buster) (on /dev/nvme0n1p8)


 Selecting first option, a blank scvreen with cursor, then after 90 seconds,  I get once again this error:

Gave up waiting for foot file system device. Common problems: - Boot args (cat /proc/cmdline)

- check rootdelay= (did the system wait long enough

 - missing modules (cat /proc/modules; ls /dev)

ALERT! UUID=1ede63b3-5fc2-4ba5-9b65-d964ae16136e does not exist. Dropping to a shell!

BusyBox v1.30.1 (Debian 1:1.30.1-4) built-in shell (ash)

Enter 'help' for a list of built-in commands.



 Switch back in BIOS to ACHI SATA mode.


Select Q4OS Centaurus...

Initializing system...   then boot chainload error once again.



select debian menu item.

Get grub> prompt.


grub> set pager=1

grub> set root=(hd0,9)

grub> set boot=(hd0,9)

grub> set prefix=(hd0,9)/boot/grub

grub> insmod normal

grub> normal

Have user login (have been here before many times) (but I have to keep manually entering the above grub entries to get here, have tried several times with grub-install previously and it wouldn't "take". But will try again documenting here to see if can figure out where it is going wrong (or maybe get it to actually work this time around.

 Login as user.

Only option for now is the default KDS Plasma (worry about Trinity desktop later).

Select minimal laptop for now, can go with more fully loaded one later when booting issue is resolved first.

Select "ultimately minimal desktop, you will be free to set anything up yourself".

Click the Install button. Click the Finish button.

At desktop now.

Run apt update

apt upgrade




 efibootmgr -v          
BootCurrent: 0018
Timeout: 10 seconds
BootOrder: 0000,0018,0001,0002,0003,0004,000C,0016,0012,0013,0014,0015,0009
Boot0000* Windows Boot Manager  HD(1,GPT,e93c3e8d-f14f-4f81-8ad4-2bc9971b453c,0x800,0x14
Boot0001* gpt1  PciRoot(0x0)/Pci(0x1d,0x4)/Pci(0x0,0x0)/NVMe(0x1,00-25-38-52-11-91-03-9D
Boot0002* gpt7  PciRoot(0x0)/Pci(0x1d,0x4)/Pci(0x0,0x0)/NVMe(0x1,00-25-38-52-11-91-03-9D
Boot0003* fs0-efi-debian-shimx64-efi    PciRoot(0x0)/Pci(0x1d,0x4)/Pci(0x0,0x0)/NVMe(0x1
Boot0004* fs0-efi-debian-grubx64-efi    PciRoot(0x0)/Pci(0x1d,0x4)/Pci(0x0,0x0)/NVMe(0x1
Boot0005  Diskette Drive        BBS(Floppy,Diskette Drive,0x0)..BO
Boot0006* USB Storage Device    BBS(USB,USB Storage Device,0x0)..BO
Boot0007  CD/DVD/CD-RW Drive    BBS(CDROM,CD/DVD/CD-RW Drive,0x0)..BO
Boot0008  Onboard NIC   BBS(Network,Onboard NIC,0x0)..BO
Boot0009* Q4OS Centaurus        HD(1,GPT,e93c3e8d-f14f-4f81-8ad4-2bc9971b453c,0x800,0x14
Boot000C* fs0-efi-debian-wubildr-grubx64ef      PciRoot(0x0)/Pci(0x1d,0x4)/Pci(0x0,0x0)/
Boot000D* Diskette Drive        BBS(Floppy,Diskette Drive,0x0)..BO
Boot000E* USB Storage Device    BBS(USB,USB Storage Device,0x0)..BO
Boot000F* CD/DVD/CD-RW Drive    BBS(CDROM,CD/DVD/CD-RW Drive,0x0)..BO
Boot0010* Onboard NIC   BBS(Network,Onboard NIC,0x0)..BO
Boot0012* Diskette Drive        BBS(Floppy,Diskette Drive,0x0)..BO
Boot0013* USB Storage Device    BBS(USB,USB Storage Device,0x0)..BO
Boot0014* CD/DVD/CD-RW Drive    BBS(CDROM,CD/DVD/CD-RW Drive,0x0)..BO
Boot0015* Onboard NIC   BBS(Network,Onboard NIC,0x0)..BO
Boot0016* fs0-efi-deb-wub-shimx64-efi   PciRoot(0x0)/Pci(0x1d,0x4)/Pci(0x0,0x0)/NVMe(0x1
Boot0018* debian        HD(1,GPT,e93c3e8d-f14f-4f81-8ad4-2bc9971b453c,0x800,0x145000)/Fi

 # grub-install /dev/nvme0n1


 grub-install /dev/nvme0n1
Installing for i386-pc platform.
grub-install: warning: this GPT partition label contains no BIOS Boot Partition; embeddi
ng won't be possible.
grub-install: warning: Embedding is not possible.  GRUB can only be installed in this se
tup by using blocklists.  However, blocklists are UNRELIABLE and their use is discourage
grub-install: error: will not proceed with blocklists.





Downloaded q4os-3.14-x64-instcd.r4.iso
cp to usb
boot from usb install.
Select no questions asked. Use largest free space (over 1TB free for now).
Doesn't boot properly. Have to do the grub> set root=, set prefix, etc.

# grub-install /dev/nvme0n1
Installing for i386-pc platform.
Installation finished. No error reported.

Still just grub > (have to manually set root, boot, prefix, etc.).










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