I've built myself a boot image of a variant of Arch Linux for writing to USB sticks. It uses grub with default values, and it works just fine when booting a physical box from USB. (This question should not have anything to do with Arch though)

Now I'm trying to use the same image with VirtualBox (on a Mac if that matters). First I convert it (still on Linux/Arch):

VBoxManage convertfromraw foo.img foo.vmdk --format VMDK

then I scp it to the Mac, and go through the GUI, selecting "Linux" / "Other Linux (64-bit)", and the .vmdk file as the root disk.

Grub comes up, shows me the right options, then screen blanks (as it is supposed to), thinks for a bit, and then I get some version of "cannot find root disk":

ERROR: device 'UUID=3d6ee...' not found. Skipping fsck.
ERROR: Unable to find root device 'UUID=3d6ee...'.
You are being dropped to a recovery shell.

In that recovery shell:

# blkid


However, if I select grub boot option "fallback initramfs" it boots just fine. If I then say:

# blkid
/dev/sda1: UUID="3d6ee..." TYPE="ext4" PARTUUID="771...-01"
/dev/sda2: UUID="98234..." TYPE="ext4" PARTUUID="771...-02"

which seems to tell me that the UUID it couldn't find is indeed there.

I tried GRUB_DISABLE_LINUX_UUID=true in /etc/default/grub when setting up grub, but then the message is:

ERROR: device '/dev/mapper/loop1p1' not found. Skipping fsck.
ERROR: Unable to find root device '/dev/mapper/loop1p1'.

(Can't fault it for that one I guess ...)

So why would the fallback initframfs find it, but the default does not. Worse, why would blkid show nothing?

(I have posted this question both to Arch Linux and VirtualBox support boards, but no responses so far.)

1 Answer 1


Try to edit your /etc/mkinitcpio.conf (in fallback mode) to have the block hook before autodetect and regenerate the images with mkinitcpio -p linux (see also my more detailed answer on my own question on this topic, I had a very similar problem)

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