QubesOS 4.2 RC3 Clean Install Issue on Librem 14

Hi all,

I have attempted to do a clean install QubesOS 4.2 RC3. However it does not even boot from the USB with the following error:

mount: mounting /dev/sda1 on /media failed: invalid argument
/bin/media-scan: line 25 [: -ne: unary operator expected
!!!!! Something failed during USB boot
!!!!! Starting recovery shell

Was anyone able to do a clean install on Librem 14?


No: I am not in a position to experiment with release candidates for Qubes OS.

Try using a different USB port and consider creating a thread on the Qubes OS forum.

(I have no chance to reproduce your environment but…)

If you get to the recovery shell, can you see whether the USB drive is showing up in /dev and, if so, whether you can mount it manually? That won’t solve your problem but it might shed light on what the situation is.

I installed RC2 build on L14 without any problem.


Downloading RC2, thanks for your comment. Will share further findings here.

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RC2 is was detected by Librem 14 and is being installed. There is must be something wrong with the RC3 .iso

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Today we are at Qubes RC4. Librem 13 V2, with Qubes USB not proceeding. I posted on Qubes forum, and someone suggested that having two drives might be related to the cause. When I first received this Librem 13 V2 (used) the previous own had reinstalled Qubes to the SSD, and left the original Bi-Win drive blank. I tried to install a second Qubes onto the Bi-Win, and had starting issues. So I blanked the Bi-Win drive, and no starting problems.

As I having been testing by re-installing Qubes rather frequently, and I used the signed weeklys versions of Qubes, I am pretty sure this ‘installer will not start from USB’ began about September 1, 2023. I discovered several Live Versions of Linux also would not boot. That was over a month ago.

I used a signed weekly dated the beginning of August to install and updated. After becoming frustrated with some of not being able to install some third party software, I decided to forego 4.2 testing until the final is out, hoping they upgrade some things, including documentation. and re-install Qubes 4.1. Qubes 4.1 seemed to do as well as usual. Still needed to upgrade to Fedora 38, when Qubes RC4 came out. Qubes RC4 dumps into the recovery console. I took the low road of more effort and re-installed an earlier version of Qubes. Ran Updates.

On Looking at Devices (inside my finished install of Qubes 4.2.) I see the blank Bi-Win drive to be listed twice, with both listings showing its total size.

If I open laptop and try to remove drive, or just unplug it. I am likely to break something else with my old eyes, clumsy fingers. and my local computer store wants a lot of $$ to do anything, like open back, pull extra drive, (they are entitled to be paid, it is where they earn a living. Support their kids.) I will not go to them.

I know there has been reported malware for boot sectors which can trickily install itself, without my knowledge or consent. My focus is on, I have to solve this issue for my computer to be secure.

I have thought that it possible that part of the issue might be in Pure Boot. However the Librem 13 V2 is an older computer, and I am not completely certain I can re-install Pure Boot and get a version meant for this. I think, /have to agree with the policy, Purism can’t keep providing updates for older models. and I am not certain the blocks are in place to keep me from accidentally installing Pure Boot better suited for later models.

Still, because security might be involved. I don’t feel I should just be satisfied with getting my Librem 13 V2 to work. I don’t think that the Qubes Developers will be much concerned with this, they likely do not have my hardware to test with. I will have to pursue doing multiples of these things. Replace boot sector. Find someone to disconnect extra drive. Replace Pure Boot with factory version. ???

I know that a lot of Linux installers are designed not to completely write a new boot sector, but like Ubuntu, just add enough information to allow multiple Linux distros to be chosen at boot time. As of now I have put the latest Desktop Fedora 38 workstation onto the Librem 13 V2.

Curious as to what you know, find out? Do you have two drives in your Librem 14? Do you have the latest Pure Boot.?

Sorry to write soo much. Accuracy of what has transpired seemed necessary.

Thanks for any help.

Yes and yes.

I just saw;

I will try.

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