Hello reader,

Did you just buy a new laptop, hoping you could just install (k)ubuntu and start working like a pro? And did this turn out to be an unpleasant experience because (k)ubuntu won’t boot? And are you also weirded out by my infomercial-style writing? Then I have the solution for you!

About a week ago I bought a nice new IdeaPad with awesome specs. After installing kubuntu, I couldn’t get it to boot up. It took me a while to find the problem, which turned out to be the simplest possible explanation (A typical case of Occam’s razor).

Assessing the damage

To make sure you’re experiencing the same problems, make sure you followed the following steps first, before trying the solution I’ll propose further down the article.

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Make sure you used a 64bit version of the OS. If you came here because of a problem with a UEFI-bootable device, it’s highly likely you need 64bit.

Boot

If you’re using Legacy boot (BIOS), first make sure your boot mode is set properly (legacy, also set priority to legacy). Also make sure you have QuickBoot/FastBoot, Intel Smart Response Technology (SRT) and in the case of a laptop running windows 8, Fast Startup disabled.

In terms of booting, also make sure the correct boot order (the HDD first) is set.

Installation

This one might sound silly, but make sure you successfully installed (k)ubuntu, and that it didn’t crash on some sort of error.

The proposed fix

In my case, the problem was a missing boot flag. That’s silly, and can easily be fixed.

Start live cd/usb

We’ll need a terminal so we can run some commands to fix this problem. First, start the live cd. Once there, open up a terminal.

Check boot flag

Before we start messing with our disk, let’s first make sure that the missing flag is indeed the problem. Run sudo fdisk -l and check if your primary disk (HDD) has a boot flag enabled. You can read more about this here.

Set the boot flag

If the boot flag doesn’t exist, this is most likely the cause of your OS not booting.

  1. First, find the name of your primary disk. In my case, this is nvme0n1.
  2. Run fdisk, so we can manipulate the disk and add the boot flag.
    • sudo fdisk /dev/nvme0n1
  3. Now were in interactive mode, run the following commands in sequence:
    • a (toggle a bootable flag)
    • 1 (partition number)
    • w (write changes)
    • q (quit)
  4. Reboot your machine. You should now boot to (k)ubuntu.

I hope this helps someone!