Ubuntu: No option to choose between Ubuntu or Windows at startup; tried many suggestions already


Yesterday I used a live cd to install Ubuntu 14.04 on a computer already loaded with Windows 8. The Ubuntu install did NOT recognize any operating system on the computer, so I chose Something else and ended up with several partitions. (If it matters, I have four Windows partitions (recovery, boot, the main one with all my files, and some other one that's tiny so I didn't worry about it), plus a main Ubuntu one / and swap.)

After installing Ubuntu and restarting, there has been no option to choose between Ubuntu and Windows at startup; it simply starts up as Windows. Ubuntu is now installed but I have no way to use it!

What I've tried:

  1. I tried using the Advanced System Settings on Windows to enable the boot selection, but Windows 8 didn't recognize any other operating systems either.
  2. I held down shift during startup to try and get the grub screen, but no luck. (After a full Windows 8 shutdown, not the fastboot crap.) Also, f8, no luck.
  3. Other guides said to get boot-repair. I downloaded the image file, burned it to a cd, and tried to boot from it, but nothing happened; Windows booted normally. I booted from the live cd, opened the terminal, and (as instructed by this guide on Ubuntu Forums)

    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair && sudo apt-get update  

    Everything goes fine until the very end, when the last two lines back read:

    W: Failed to fetch http://ppa.launchpad.net/yannubuntu/boot-repair/ubuntu/dists/trusty/main/binary-amd64/Packages  404 Not Found  E: Some index files failed to download.  They have been ignored, or old ones used instead.  

    That 404 HTTP error was talked about here: Can't find boot-repair package for the newest version of Ubuntu, so using that advice I did:

    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair  sudo sh -c "sed -i 's/trusty/saucy/g' /etc/apt/sources.list.d/yannubuntu-boot-repair-trusty.list"  sudo apt-get update  sudo apt-get install -y boot-repair && boot-repair  

    Boot repair worked (woohoo!) and it ran for a few seconds before a pop-up that says

    EFI detected. Please check the options.

    I selected to fix most frequent problems. It told me to disable SecureBoot in BIOS.

    It did some thinking, then told me to put this into a new terminal:

    sudo chroot "/mnt/boot-sav/sdb5" dpkg --configure -a  sudo chroot "/mnt/boot-sav/sdb5" apt-get install -fy  sudo chroot "/mnt/boot-sav/sdb5" apt-get purge-y --force-yes grub* shim-signed linux-signed*  

    I was prompted to go forward, and it said to copy-paste the following into the terminal:

    sudo chroot "/mnt/boot-sav/sdb5" apt-get install -y --force-yes grub-efi-amd64-signed shim-signed linux-signed-generic  

    After going forward, it said an error occurred during the repair, and to write down this URL, and to email boot.repair@gmail.com if I still have boot problems. It also reminded me to disable SecureBoot in BIOS.

    I disabled SecureBoot, but nothing had changed. Windows still booted, just like before.

  4. I booted from the live cd again and opened my grub file.

    sudo gedit /etc/default/grub  

    The grub file came up, I added a # in front of GRUB_HIDDEN-TIMEOUT=0, saved, and in the terminal wrote:

    sudo update-grub  

    This comes backs:

    /usr/sbin/grub-probe: error: failed to get canonical path of '/cow'.  

And that's as far as I've gotten. No luck whatsoever. Can someone help me figure out what I'm doing wrong here?


Try to reinstall now that EFI is disabled. You could also use SuperGrubDisk


I'm no expert but I suspect that EFI blocked Grub from being put on the MBR.


use advanced options(at left bottom) in boot-repair not the recommended

open advanced options in boot-repair

in advanced options=>main options (no changes needed)

advanced options=>GRUB location (select "place grub into" select "sda")

advanced options=>GRUB options (select "Purge grub before reinstalling it")

advanced options=>Other options (unselect the "Repair Windows boot files" & "Check internet connection"if they are selected)

this might overwrite your windows boot-loader with grub, then u can select the OS from grub boot-loader


Login as usual into your account and then type this in terminal
(for terminal press Ctrl+Alt+T):

sudo update-grub  

After this you'll find in the last line the name of the other OS (In your case Windows 8)

After this, restart as usual and you'll find the dual boot menu.


If you have Ubuntu properly installed (I run Xubuntu): when you start and you get to the Windows login screen, press SHIFT and hit "Restart".

This gets the machine to restart and to look for alternative options.

Select the "boot from media" option and Ubuntu should be there to be selected even though your disk or pendrive are no longer plugged in into the machine.

Worked for me with Xubuntu 12.04 and Windows 10.


If your bios is a UEFI bios then I would make sure to check in the BIOS that it set to boot to your GRUB efi file.

There should be a menu where you can pick what to boot to from your boot partition. Inside the boot partition should be a folder called GRUB. In that folder should be an efi file that will boot to GRUB.

Good luck.


Well actually that happened to me too when I installed Ubuntu with "something else" option . The thing that worked for me, Ubuntu is installed you just need to go to the boot menu (you can possibly access this menu by using F12 and choose UEFI boot mode)

Now under boot device menu choose the option as Ubuntu.

Now restart and it should work fine.



You haven't been around for 3 1/2 years so you will never read this answer. It is for everyone else that finds this question. There are seven answers so far none with any up-votes.

You turned off secure boot after running boot-repair. You were supposed to turn off secure boot first and then run boot-repair. That is why it didn't work.


0 Login as usual into your account and then type this in terminal (for terminal press Ctrl + Alt + T ): sudo update-grub After this you'll find in the last line the name of the other OS (In your case Windows 8) After this, restart as usual and you'll find the dual boot menu.

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