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  • Welcome!

    I'll get straight to the point.

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    Pop!_Planet Founder

Help with broken fstab / crypttab / EFI


New member
Apr 7, 2020
Hi all,

This is a copy of a post I made on the pop_os subreddit. I haven't had much (any) luck with responses there so hoping someone can help me here - I hope the dual posting accross sites is OK. If I get an answer here I will post a reply on the reddit post saying so and directing readers to this post (and vice versa).

Also apologies in advance if I've posted in the wrong sub-forum. I am by absolutely no means a sys admin / expert user, but I don;t think this query fits well into any of the other sub-forums on this site.

So without further ado:

I seem to have broken my Pop_OS install (nVidia 19.10) on a Thinkpad X1 Extreme.

  • Due to needing to run Windows for some applications I wiped my old Pop-only install, I installed Windows first on nvme1, but ensured the EFI partition was 1Gb to accommodate Pop. Partitions as:
nvme1n1p1 = EFI
nvme1n1p2 = Windows recovery or something (small, auto installed by Win)
nvme1n1p3 = Windows C
  • Then booted into a Pop live USB, setup a LUKS encrypted volume nvme1n1p4 for / and swap
  • I set up a separate LUKS volume on nvme0n1p1 for /home
  • With some difficulty I was able to get Pop to install in this configuration (having to install first with /home as a simple directory in /root and then redirecting /home to the to the actual /home lv setup on the second SSD once installed
This was all well and good until (at least I think until) I decided to change the names of the LUKS volumes in /etc/crypttab from whatever they were before (can't remember sorry) to "crypt-popos-main" for the volume on nvme1n1p4 and "crypt-popos-home" for the one on nvme0n1p1.After that Pop would not boot and instead I was dumped into initramfs.

How I tried to fix:
  • With a live USB and used the installer repair option (didn't work, kept failing)
  • Read up and realised the failed boot was due to me having not updating initramfs
  • Live USB again, luksOpen the volumes, mounted, chrooted and updated initramfs (FAILED)
  • Realised I have to actually luksOpen the volumes from the liveCD with the same name as I'd used in /etc/crypttab (i.e. "crypt-popos-root")
  • Live USB again, luksOpen the volumes, mounted, chrooted and updated initramfs (SUCCESS!)
However now I'm in a very odd scenario - PopOS prompts for the crypt password on bootup (but only if I press F12 after choosing the linux bootloader option to get to terminal text entry (sorry don;t know the proper phrase), the usual graphical password prompt - with the little hard disk icon to the left - doesn't work) HOWEVER, I cannot get to a login screen. After entering the correct password for the volume the screen goes black and I can't get any further :(

I have tried booting into the Live USB and updating the install on the SSD via chroot, updated all packages, cleaned apt etc, still no luck. I have also tried reading the boot logs in /var however the last log was from when the system was working, there are no recent logs.

If anyone knows what is going on or how I can resolve this I would be much obliged.

My crypttab looks like this:

crypt-popos-main UUID=ed26d35c-5f13-4511-8e42-635fe22f67ce none luks
crypt-popos-home UUID=35a41645-1581-4ee5-9370-5a08a872b4ac none luks
and my fstab looks like this:

PARTUUID=29682747-542d-4a59-9af5-82f57c678288  /boot/efi  vfat  umask=0077  0  0
/dev/mapper/vg--popos--main-lv--popos--data  none  / ext4  errors=remount-ro 0 1
/dev/mapper/vg--popos--main-lv--popos--swap  none  swap  defaults  0  0
I have been into the EFI partition and it looks a bit of a mess tbh, but I can boot into the linux bootloader and load Windows fine, so I think it's working correctly.

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