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Fedora 22, disk-encryption passphrase, POST failure, dracut

asked 2015-09-08 01:41:22 -0500

XavierStuvw gravatar image

I was in the process to install Fedora 22-3 on a brand-new Acer desktop (Aspire V11 Touch aka V3 112P P2E7) running on with Windows 8 to create a dual-boot system.

On installing Fedora

I am new to Fedora but not to installing dual-boot systems. I have followed these guidelines on how to do this, up to early point 9 there.

In summary, I switched on the legacy boot mode in the BIOS, put the Flash drive (USB FFD) on top of the boot sequence, started Fedora from the live-USB and began the installation from the icon in the desktop environment. Using the attending GUI I have reclaimed the disk space necessary for the installation from the existing data partition (easy for tell from the disproportionately large size).

Additionally/regretfully I chose to encrypt the disk with the luks method (probably believing that I was about to encrypt solely the partition or a user profile). I then selected one passphrase (for the encryption) and two passwords (for root and the user, having administrative rights). I am convinced to have carefully selected the password to be strong and memorable, although the evidence is that something went wrong there (too).

Start-up trouble 1

At start up, a bare and unfriendly dialogue box with a lock icon and text box shows up. By hitting escape it turns back to text mode, where the context becomes clear.

The system founds a device, realizes it is encrypted and asks for the passphrase. The computer does not accept the ones I type in and, after three attempts, it concludes that the Cryptography Startup failed.

Exceedingly slowly moves it on to the Dracut Emergency Shell. It suggests to save some log files saved in a USB and attach them to a bug report.

Question 1 How do I export a report file to a removable device with dracut? Just to see if there's some devil in the details, beside misapplications on my part.

Question 2 how do I turn off the system cleanly with dracut? shutdown does not exist there. Currently, I type reboot and it goes from text mode to a bare window with the Fedora logo. It then hangs on indefinitely. Then I power off the laptop. At any rate this suggest that dracut requires specific skills.

Just for the sake of narrative, I repeated the passphrase input step upon fastidiously mimicking obvious typos and mistakes to bridge the gap between memory and experience. To no avail though. As an aside, at this stage the keyboard does not signal if caps-on is locked.

Start-up trouble 2

One complication is then that, if I try to boot again from the live-USB, it ignores the boot order while I made no further change made in the BIOS settings in the meantime.

I double-checked the boot sequence: only the Windows Boot Manager is gone, which possibly can be expected as a temporary situation -- see guideline above.

Back to the main point, the boot process directly jumps into ... (more)

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answered 2015-09-08 04:36:53 -0500

  • Question 1: The command line should be close to dracut --mount /dev/sdXY -t vfat.
  • Question 2: try exit
  • Luks passphrase : during the Fedora installation, by selecting your data partition, the encryption applies only to this space (not the whole disk). There is no workaround to force luks (except brutforce).
  • During the boot sequence, press the key to change the boot order. By selecting EFI HDD, Windows should be back. And try the USB legacy to boot from the live-cd.

A good dracut documentation is available here :

Why did you install Fedora with Bios ? You own a recent computer. Usually Windows 8.x runs on EFI. Fedora 64bits works well with EFI too. It wasn't the case of Linux distros few years ago (the tutorial you mentioned was relevant).

I suggest you to don't wast time and reinstall in EFI mode without encryption, apparently you don't need. You don't have data to recover or a system fully configured. It should be a good bet.

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Thx for clarifications and corrections! | Simply setting the boot mode back to UEFI yields 'No bootable device found'. If the live usb is also plugged in, Live Fedora does start | I can see the partition table in the Disks utility. Windows 8 is still there. As a result of the previous doings, there are also a sda6 (BIOS boot, 1 MiB), sda7 (ext4, 500 MiB, who put it there?) and sda8 (the space reclaimed to install Fedora) | I am tempted to ext4-format these three with the Disks utility for a clean start. Then install manually and mount root to the current sda8. Is this safe?

XavierStuvw gravatar imageXavierStuvw ( 2015-09-08 07:13:19 -0500 )edit

That seems ok to remove those 3 partitions. sda7 is used to store the kernels and is mounted in /boot. I assume that sda1 is your /boot/efi.

To have a good overview, you can double check with these commands : lsblk -afp and sudo lshw.

yolo gravatar imageyolo ( 2015-09-08 10:33:20 -0500 )edit

This thread is sorted. Anaconda does rounds up a successful installation. Thanks to member yolo for helping me out. Lesson learned on present-day UEFI/BIOS systems, useful resource here. For completeness I still experience issues at reboot time with the POST invariably splashing into Windows 8, but this is dealt with in a separate post

XavierStuvw gravatar imageXavierStuvw ( 2015-09-10 02:47:44 -0500 )edit

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Asked: 2015-09-08 01:41:22 -0500

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Last updated: Sep 08 '15