How to choose boot device/get to boot menu in Librem Mini?

I’m trying to get into the boot menu of the Librem Mini (v1) with the preinstalled PureOS with Coreos/Seabios/PureBoot or how it’s called (i.e. the non-Heads version) as I want to install some other OS/distro from an USB drive.

However, I seem to be too slow.
At boot there is the rectangular static Purism logo for some time and it says at the bottom right:

ESC → Boot Menu

And indeed I succeeded once, but now I need to boot again and no matter how often I reboot and furiously press Esc (even when I see that exact screen), I cannot get it to get into the menu. The next screen I see is what seems to be the Linux kernel startup already where there is a loading/progress bar and Purisms logo as a text (this time) is animated at the end. Note that between these screens there is a slight delay without signal/a black screen.

This is really annoying and I guess the device just boots too fast.
My keyboard is connected via USB, so it should have no issues there and in GNOME etc. it also works.

Is there any less painful way then trying another 100 times?

Edit: Sometimes I managed to get into GRUB which (again with Esc) presents me with an unhelpful list of “OSes” to boot including PureOS of course and memcheck with different start-up parameters, as it seems.

Have you tried holding the [Esc] key down before you hit the power button and keep it depressed continuously while powering-up the pc and for several seconds afterward? Don’t tap and release. Just hold it down from before you hit the power button.

Also, sometimes there are alternate choices using either F2 or F10. Try all of the F keys. Sometimes with some Bios, you can get a list of actions to choose from using the up and down arrows and the space bar or [Enter] to select. And maybe one choice on the list (if you can find such a list) might be a choice to go to the Boot menu.

Try a different keyboard. Some keyboards aren’t properly initialised when the Librem Mini first boots (there’s a thread about this somewhere on the forum).

You also have to do a happy dance and jingle your car keys while holding the [esc] key down I think.

pressing ESC multiple times will result in the first item in the boot menu being selected / booted

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Yes.

I also tried:

  • different USB ports
  • holding the key and releasing it (if e.g. Esc should also be the key to close the boot menu)
  • three different USB keyboards now

Okay tried another one, but the first I can always get into is just grub.

Or such stuff, but it just does not work.

I now ended up removing the NVMe SSD so it cannot start and then it actually properly tries to boot from external media.

Oh really? :man_facepalming:
If that is true, that explains a lot.
And to be honest, that is a really bad design decision IMHO.

After all, is there at least another key to press that does not do that?
Or should one count seconds and try to guess when to press the Esc key?

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BTW tried that, and indeed, wait until you may see the screen with the Purism rectangle logo and the “Boot menu → Esc” prompt (or if your monitor is slow, just wait some seconds) and press Esc only once.
It may then still take a second, but then I saw a black screen, where I was able to select a boot device.

I agree, but it’s how SeaBIOS works. Actually I think I patched this in my SeaBIOS builds for Chromebooks, maybe I can bring that over here

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Indeed, that would be great! Best fix it upstream, please. :smiley:

I tried pushing it years ago, the SeaBIOS devs like the current behavior

Oh really? That’s… sad…

Do you have a link or so for me to a issue/repository/pull request or so regarding that? Maybe they can be convinced.

Or maybe Purism can convince them or at least integrate a patch into their build?

there’s likely a mailing list thread on it from a few years ago when I initially wrote the patch

Purism doesn’t have any weight to lend to the argument, and there’s not widespread displeasure with the current behavior best I can tell. But I can certainly integrate it into future Purism releases if I want.

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