Ubuntu: GRUB won't start with USB storage attached


If I start my system with a USB HDD or Flash Drive (thumb stick) attached, GRUB fails to load. Particularly, it just hangs with a blank screen. Normally I would disconnect the drive and reboot, and it works fine, but I'd really like to figure out why this is happening. It's been happening for as long as I can remember (from Ubuntu 10.x to 14.x). I tried looking in dmesg but I didn't expect to find anything there, seems like dmesg would only be able to log if the kernel was running, where GRUB would be responsible for starting the kernel.

I am not trying to boot from these external devices at all, but it is somewhat of a nuisance to have to disconnect any external storage each time, or if someone else uses my computer I have to be mindful to not leave them attached so they can boot to another OS without issues.


Change the internal HDD to the first boot in the bios and You should be able to boot without having to unplug the USB HDD because some (not all) USB HDD have the boot flag on them and without a OS on them they will stall and you will have to reboot the machine.

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