Dual Boot after Upgrades problem

My Toshiba Satelite laptop was Open Suse 13.2 dual booted with Windows 8.0 (needed for certain mapping apps and connecting with my cell phone). Win 8 is almost useless even for this limited application and Suse was the OS used daily. Everything was working fine with Suse as the default boot.

Then I upgraded to Win 8.1 to facilitate another upgrade to Win 10 which I HOPE (???) will be better than 8. This apparently overwrote the boot sector so ONLY Win will boot (the Linux partitions are intact).

How do I get the boot loader running again so I can set Suse as the default once more?


Ok is this an EFI boot or a legacy boot? Procedures are different depending.

I do not know. Win 8 came installed on the laptop. I followed instructions to install Suse as a dual boot a long time ago. After that, the boot screen showed two choices to boot Suse and one for Win. Doing nothing led to a Suse Linux boot.

Right now, am away from home and do not have access to the original build notes to answer questions. I needed to access my cell phone backup using win. It automatically upgraded itself to win 8.1 and eliminated the boot options in the process. Now I can’t access the Linux docs, bookmarks, passwords I need away from home. I thought it might be simple to fix. If it isn’t easy, I will just have to wait until I get home.


Is /sys/firmware/efi present?

Well if 8.x came on the machine then it is EFI boot. Assuming you booted the installer in EFI mode then openSUSE should also be in EFI mode. It may be that the upgrade simple made Windows the default boot so at boot press F10 (may be something different read your hardware docs) to get to the EFI BIOS boot selection screen set openSUSE to be the default boot. It is possible that Windows totally wiped any other OS from the BIOS. If so the best way is to use the FULL DVD and do an upgrade to reinstall. That will perserve you set up An EFI boot does not use the traditional MBR so do not follow instructions on fixing the MBR. They are out of date if you don’t use legacy boot.

If you managed to install openSUSE in legacy mode with Windows in EFI mode all bets are off. The whole thing is broken start over.

Win won’t recognize the Linux Partitions (except to recommend formatting them) so I don’t know exactly how to see if that file is present.

You can’t see that from Windows LOL

In fact Windows shows you so little it is a wonder any can actually use it to manage a computer. Oh well :stuck_out_tongue:

You need to boot to a live Linux of any sort and see if there is a small partition that is FAT formatted. This is the efi boot partition and it should have a windows and an openSUSE directory. If it is missing an openSUSE directory 1) it was removed by the Windows upgrade or 2) you installed openSUSE in legacy mode

If you had this working able to boot both Windows and Linux from the grub menu then I doubt that Linux was installed in legacy mode. So the reference to openSUSE must be in two places. First in the EFI boot partition and also in the EFI BIOS’s memory. If missing from either place then it won’t boot. It could also be as I said before that Windows has simply made itself default OS so you need to get into your BIOS and change that. How to do this depends on the machine. Find the instructions from the maker. It is often F10 or F12 at boot but may very well be something else. There apparently is no standard. :’(

The BIOS (f12 here) shows 1) Optical Drive 2) Hard Drive 3) LAN 4) USB. Nothing about an EFI boot partition.

Both Win and Linux were booting from the GRUB menu before.


I have the full Suse 13.2 installation DVD with me but nothing with live Linux. Is there anything that can be done with the installation DVD?

This is a slow internet connection where I am staying but I think I might be able to download live to a thumb drive overnight. How big is the live version?


Yes you can reinstall but pick the upgrade option it will keep all your programs and save your personal stuff. You will have to reinstall all the updates since it takes you back to day one but with all the programs you installed still there and all your settings/data saved.

The BIOS is just showing you the devices attached you must get to the EFI boot menu

But you really need to understand if your machine is the new EFI type or the old legacy. If it shipped with Win 8.x then it would be an EFI BIOS and it must have an EFI boot menu. How you get to it you have to find out from the people that made it, or some times the BIOS boot screen may show the option though in general it does not last very long to actually read what is on it. Check along the bottom of the BIOS boot screen maybe you will see the needed keys there. If the machine is EFI you DO NOT want to install openSUSE in legacy mode. You must boot the installer in EFI mode. If you get to the installer first menu and you see options at the bottom you are in legacy mode. What default mode an external drive boots in is again determined by the EFI boot screen settings.

Does this look like the proper procedure to access and change the Boot Settings?


This is beyond my technical competence to understand so I will need explicit, simple instructions.


Arggggggg. Yes it appears that Toshiba has made it so you must have Windows to control your computer. If that is their procedure then follow it. If openSUSE does not show in the presented list of OS’s then Windows may have removed the entry it may also have removed the openSUSE entry in the EFI boot partition. In any case if it is not in the list though possible to fix with other mean I suggest with your level of knowledge you simply bite the bullet and reinstall using the FULL DVD and selecting upgrade. Yes you want to upgrade from 13.2 to 13.2 This should correct the boot problem. Things to be aware of

  1. if the installer’s first screen has options at the bottom then it has booted in legacy and will default install a legacy boot. you DO NOT want this stop fix the settings in the EFI to boot the device in EFI mode or ask for additional help here

  2. Selecting upgrade should reselect all the proper partitions. But always double check so you don’t overwrite the wrong partitions. So be sure that root is set to be installed on the previous used root partition and home is the previous home and that swap is the previous swap. Go to expert mode to adjust if needed. None of the partition should be set to format. Root should mount as /root and home as /home and swap as swap. In addition there should be a small FAT formatted partition that is mounted as /boot/efi. All this should be automatic but if any of it is wrong and you do not know how to fix it come back and give a complete description of the problem. it take litle to double check and doing it wrong could possible wipe out your data

  3. the boot loader should be selected as grub-efi. any thing else stop and ask here

  4. if secure boot is set on in the EFI then you need to check the secure boot box must be checked. noted it does no harm to check it even if not using secure boot in the EFI BIOS

Most of the above should be automatic but always double check since in computers nothing can go wrong go wrong go wrong

5) Thank both Toshiba and Microsoft for the great consideration they give to all us stupid users :stuck_out_tongue:

It is not about excellence, usefulness or consideration. It is about CONTROL. Never forget it. Resist.

I will get started with the upgrade and get back to you ASAP.


I ran the upgrade but did not see any options anywhere. It just upgraded files from the dvd. The only internet I have here is WiFi which did not set up or connect during the upgrade.

The last procedure was to install the boot manager but there were no options of any kind. Then it rebooted from the optical drive and wanted to re-run the upgrade. Removing the dvd boots to win just like it did before.

What happens if I do a new installation instead of an upgrade? What are the pitfalls there?


With any install you get a scheme page this tells you exactly what the machine is going to do before it does anything permanent, at that point you can change anything that needs changing. You need to go to expert mode to change things before the scheme. Note that expert mode just means here are all the controls tweak as you want. It must show the boot loader and it must be grub-efi NOT just grub or anything else

Did the installer show options at the bottom of the first menu screen??

Did you find the EFI boot menu did it list openSUSE does it now??

With a new install you must tell the installer explicitly where the various partitions are and how they are too be mounted and formatted. It will and should format root but you can override the format on home thus protecting personal data and settings. It will format root and you will lose any extra programs you may have install over and above the default programs. With a reinstall it can not guess where you want things to go. On a completely new install you generally give the OS space to install into but on a reinstall you have to explicitly tell it were the parts go. So you must take charge

Thank you for your patience.

I finally got back home where I have my own desk (instead of a coffee table), a computer that works, decent internet speed and a local Suse 13.2 .iso. Maybe we can make some progress now.

We started out talking about a live USB or DVD. Should I make one? Wouldn’t a DVD be more generally useful (more likely to boot) when I use guest computers away from home?


IMO USB sticks are the best but we speak of live ISO images on a DVD is most likely but some images are small enough for a CD. None of the Installers for 13.2 are small enough except for the network installer. Ther is a rescue version that does fit a CD. The “live” versions only have a single major desktop so are about 900 meg. That is the Gnome and the KDE. neither version can do a upgrade they only do new installs. Only the full install ISO does upgrades and also contains both KDE and Gnome desktops. It runs about 3.5 gig I think and fits a DVD. Any of the ISOs can be placed on a USB stick if it will fit and you can install or run things from the stick

There are options on the install but you do have to select expert mode.

But if you plan on a new install and already have an install you must tell the installer explicitly where you want everything to go. ie what partitions to use and how to mount them. You can tell the installer NOT to format the home partition and thus save anything you have there. The root partition should be reformatted if this is a true new install. Swap is simply mounted. If you don’t say where you want thigns it will attmept to make the space needed from a Window partition if it can and make 3 new partitions.

An upgrade (assume the same version) does NOT format root partition but simply replaces any program is can and resets things back to the same as the first time you installed. But any programs you have installed above the defaults will have to be upgraded later. By default home is not formatted thus saving any setting you have.

now assuming you are doing a new install on an already installed system. This is good for full ISO or either live ISOS’s

If an EFI machine you should boot the installer in EFI mode (see manufactures instruction on how to do this if you don’t know) You need to change to expert mode set the small FAT format partition to mount as /boot/efi.

Set the swap to the old swap partition.

Set the root (/) to the old root partition. Should be set to format use the file system of your choice. Default is BTRFS but ext4 is perfectly fine. If you had set the size less then 40 gig for root I’d recommend you go with ext4. It should be formatted in any case and mounted as /

Set home partitions to the old home partition should be mounted as /home DO NOT FORMAT or change file systems

If the boot loader is not set as grub2-efi set as such

Best to simply check secure boot box. If not using it does not matter but does no harm. If using it you must check the box

In Windows be sure that fast boot is full off. It totally messes any multiboot even with other MS products.

I apologize again for being slow to respond to those kind enough to help. Emergency priorities keep intruding in my life.

I made an openSuse 13.2 live KDE disc and booted the laptop with it.

Now I can answer arvidjaar’s question in post #4 of this thread - /sys/firmware/efi is present.

In response to gogalthorp’s questions in post #7: 1) there is a small FAT partition, but it does not contain any directory that mentions Linux, and 2) there is no reference to linux in the BIOS.

I really would like to get the boot loader working again without reinstalling.


Please boot rescue disk and post output of “efibootmgr -v”.

What should have been a relatively simple problem is turning into a nightmare.

Every time I turn on that computer, it automatically upgrades Windows. Now, I cannot access the BIOS except in a limited way via the Toshiba HW Setup utility. F12 at startup does nothing. Also it no longer recognizes the openSuse 13.2 live KDE or installation disk as bootable.

Yesterday, I could boot to Linux. Today, only Windows.

Is this unique to my Toshiba L70-A laptop or is this more general? Is this my problem only or is Microsoft making dual boot impossible?

Where do I go from here?