Bootable USB resulting in Grub> on 2017 Lenova Ideapad. Help?

Hello! I made (I think…etcher said it was successful) a boot usb with Ubuntu…ended up with only grub>
I have been running Ubuntu on a 128gb thumb drive for months to learn. A family member set this up on a 2019 Ideapad for me.
I thought, because it was already set up to first boot to the stick named “ubuntu” all would be fine to just turn laptop off, pull the stick out and boot with bootable etcher usb.
However, all it did was give me a grub command line. I looked on the internet on this issue and probably made everything worse. i know NOTHING about grub commands, nor terminal.
I suspect it might not be set to boot properly.
note: the Bootable usb was created on my 2016 iMac using Balena Etcher.


I can certainly try to help you with your boot issue and I will request an expert if required, but let me first make sure I understand what you would like to accomplish.

  1. It sounds like you want to install Ubuntu on the hard drive of your Ideapad, and this is after you have been using it from a bootable USB stick for a few months. And over this time it has been verified that Ubuntu runs great on it and has successfully recognized all your hardware (display, mouse, sound, wireless network, etc.) Do I have this correct so far?

  2. Is there anything on your ideapad that you have not backed up to an external drive yet? Please do so if not because converting your Ideapad’s hard drive to Linux will overwrite all the data on it. I’m assuming Windows was installed initially on this laptop.

  3. Do you have 2 USB sticks? One your family member made for you to test and another you made that seems to be not working?

Let me know if I am correct in my assumptions.


correct on all 3 (nothing on drive to backup). Windows looks like it updated, but is only at startup menu and i never used it.
The Ideapad is a gift from the person who made the initial Ubuntu USB.

Originally, the laptop gave me an option at opening to boot to Windows or Ubuntu USB; however that option disappeared for some reason and now boot into the USB automatically.

The Etcher bootable USB was created on my iMac (2016), and it looked like it installed iso and verified correctly.

I went into the bios ? where boot order was and was not sure whether to change anything since #1 was the USB. So I pulled out the “ubuntu” usb and stuck in the one I created and did boot (from power off) and ended up with the grub>

When I searched the web for this problem, I found some commands to try which was to try some “set” command lines which had no effect to correct. I probably did more to mess things up setting grub to root and looking for drive names and trying to boot from choices (i.e. (001,gtr2…those are not the actual numbers, just an example…and I should write down things I do!!)

I appreciate greatly your willingness to help. I am feeling very insecure.


It is my pleasure and no problem at all. Stick with the Jeff.Pro group and your insecurity will vanish and you will become the “talk of the town” at your next dinner party :wink:

Lets first make sure that one of your two USB sticks is still able to boot an Ubuntu live session. Getting into the BIOS can be intimidating, so before we go in there, some Lenovo laptops use the F12 key as a way to change the boot order on the fly.

Lets see if yours can too: first, plug in the bootable USB stick into the laptop and then turn it on. As soon as you see the first Lenovo boot screen, press the F12 key a few times slowly in a row to see if a window then pops up asking for a device to use. You will probably see your hard disk drive in the list ( probably named something like “ATA HDD0” )

Do you also see a USB option? (something like “USB HDD”) If it does, use your arrow keys to highlight this USB option, press your enter key, and then the laptop should boot to a live Ubuntu session.

Let me know if you can get to this point or not.


it says

  1. ubuntu
  3. Windows Boot Manager

Also…Thanks for your encouragement!

When I Clicked on ubuntu, it went to grub>
(this is using the original usb from friend who made Laptop to boot to this usb or Windows)

Michael, when I typed “exit”, it took me to a live session of ubuntu.


I was just collecting instructions on how to boot from the GRUB command line, when I see you were able to do it easily by just exiting the command line. A small victory!

While now in your Live Ubuntu session, do you see an icon at the upper left that is titled “Install Ubuntu”?

If it does, we should be able to install it to your hard drive unless we have to turn off secure boot in the BIOS. Lets first try it and we can always go back to it if needed. Click on it to see if the installer starts.

Wait, I misunderstood. I booted using the old one my friend gave me with laptop. There is no ability to install ubuntu from this usb stick that I can see.
I will put the one I created with Etcher and boot again from that to see what i get? (I never tried “exit” once that took me to grub…however, looks like i changed something on this usb to get grub here, too…??)

Nope, just grub menu on my etcher. I was pushing the f12 key, but it flew immediately to grub VERY fast!
I will try reboot command i see if i can be faster.
Okay, now I see:

  1. ubuntu
  3. USB HDD: SanDisk Ultra
  4. Windows Boot Manager

What do you think I should do now?

Thanks, judy

Select #3 then press enter to see if your USB will boot correctly

grub, then Lenovo ubuntu momogram for laptop…gear going round and round, now this message at bottom of screen:
Checking disks: 19% complete…does this look hopeful? :pray:


Michael!! I think you are a hero!! :star2:
It said there was an error in one file,
now I will begin setup.:pray::pray::pray: Should I try first even though i know it works on this laptop?


It sounds to me like you do now see and option to install Ubuntu. If so, yes start the installer and we will see if we get any errors which would mean we have to go into the BIOS. Maybe not.

Ill be here if you have questions with any of the options

will do


My pleasure, and remember to choose the Erase Entire Disk option as you want to remove windows entirely from the laptop.

it is stuck at authenticating wifi password…curser just going round and round so I can’t cancel. Is there something to push to stop the wifi section. it was connected before i started. oops

It should eventually stop, maybe you entered the password incorrectly as I do that so often with my fat fingers

it had been a long time, but I will try to be patient. :slight_smile: