Cannot install apps or update - endless loop

This is a follow on from an earlier post where I installed Freedombox on a x86_64 PC by copying the disk image to the internal drive of the PC. I’m now having software installation and update problems.

Update: possible grub error - see log below.

Problem Description
When trying to install apps after a clean install of Freedombox, the installation process just cycles endlessly in the browser. The same happens for Update which, at the time of writing, has been running for over 4 hours with no sign of progress.

Steps to Reproduce

  1. Copy Freedombox disk image using dd to internal drive of PC, reboot and configure.
  2. Install an app, say, miniDLNA or TinyTinyRSS.
  3. The installation never finishes, but endlessly cycles.
  4. The installation can be interrupted.
  5. Rebooting does not resolve the problem.

Expected Results
I expected to see successful installation of each app.

Actual results
The installation process cycles endlessly until aborted.


  • Debian GNU/Linux 11 (bullseye) and FreedomBox version 21.7
  • Hardware: Intel i5 x86_64 PC, installed on internal SSD
  • How did you install FreedomBox?: Downloading stable image from

I managed to capture the update log (which disappears after a few seconds) … I hope I grabbed the correct part. Looks like a grub error … and I’m out of my depth!

Log started: 2022-10-27  13:24:56
quota not working (qgroup not set)
quota not working (qgroup not set)
Preconfiguring packages ...
Preconfiguring packages ...
(Reading database ... 
(Reading database ... 5%
(Reading database ... 10%
(Reading database ... 15%
(Reading database ... 20%
(Reading database ... 25%
(Reading database ... 30%
(Reading database ... 35%
(Reading database ... 40%
(Reading database ... 45%
(Reading database ... 50%
(Reading database ... 55%
(Reading database ... 60%
(Reading database ... 65%
(Reading database ... 70%
(Reading database ... 75%
(Reading database ... 80%
(Reading database ... 85%
(Reading database ... 90%
(Reading database ... 95%
(Reading database ... 100%
(Reading database ... 52119 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack .../grub2-common_2.06-3~deb11u1_amd64.deb ...
Unpacking grub2-common (2.06-3~deb11u1) over (2.04-20) ...
Preparing to unpack .../grub-pc_2.06-3~deb11u1_amd64.deb ...
Unpacking grub-pc (2.06-3~deb11u1) over (2.04-20) ...
Preparing to unpack .../grub-pc-bin_2.06-3~deb11u1_amd64.deb ...
Unpacking grub-pc-bin (2.06-3~deb11u1) over (2.04-20) ...
Preparing to unpack .../grub-common_2.06-3~deb11u1_amd64.deb ...
Unpacking grub-common (2.06-3~deb11u1) over (2.04-20) ...
Setting up grub-common (2.06-3~deb11u1) ...
Installing new version of config file /etc/grub.d/10_linux ...
Installing new version of config file /etc/grub.d/20_linux_xen ...
Installing new version of config file /etc/grub.d/30_os-prober ...
Installing new version of config file /etc/grub.d/30_uefi-firmware ...
Installing new version of config file /etc/grub.d/41_custom ...
Setting up grub2-common (2.06-3~deb11u1) ...
Installing new version of config file /etc/kernel/postinst.d/zz-update-grub ...
Installing new version of config file /etc/kernel/postrm.d/zz-update-grub ...
Setting up grub-pc-bin (2.06-3~deb11u1) ...
Setting up grub-pc (2.06-3~deb11u1) ...
You must correct your GRUB install devices before proceeding:

  DEBIAN_FRONTEND=dialog dpkg --configure grub-pc
  dpkg --configure -a
dpkg: error processing package grub-pc (--configure):
 installed grub-pc package post-installation script subprocess returned error exit status 1
Errors were encountered while processing:
quota not working (qgroup not set)
needrestart is being skipped since dpkg has failed
Illegal snapshot.
quota not working (qgroup not set)

Running kernel seems to be up-to-date.

Failed to check for processor microcode upgrades.

Restarting services...

Service restarts being deferred:
 systemctl restart NetworkManager.service
 systemctl restart freedombox-manual-upgrade.service
 systemctl restart systemd-logind.service
 systemctl restart unattended-upgrades.service
 systemctl restart wpa_supplicant.service

No containers need to be restarted.

No user sessions are running outdated binaries.
E:Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1)
Log ended: 2022-10-27  13:25:04

You will need to manually set up grub to resolve this issue. You will only need to do this once.

To resolve the issue, login to SSH (or Cockpit), become root user, and run the commands shown here:

A dialog will appear, and you will need to select the location to install grub. Make sure that you select the device (like /dev/sda), not the partition (like /dev/sda1).

For a normal Debian install, this step is done within the installer. FreedomBox doesn’t currently detect and fix the issue. (Except during a dist upgrade, where we ignore the issue by assuming that grub was already configured.) Maybe we can add something to the Software Updates module to try to fix this automatically (Detect and fix grub install location issue (#2296) · Issues · FreedomBox / FreedomBox · GitLab).

1 Like

Thanks, @jvalleroy … it worked!

I had set up an admin user and used this to login to the console on my PC running Freedombox. I did not know the root user credentials, so just used the sudo prefix to run the grub configuration steps you highlighted from the log (thanks for that!).

I now have a fully updated and functioning Freedombox running on an old PC. It’s been quite a ride!

Looking back, the steps for installation are reasonably straightforward, but at the time, each little problem or hurdle was an insurmountable problem that sent me to this forum to find hints about how to solve it. I’m very grateful for the support I received from users who replied to my questions. I hope I can return the favour as my FB competence improves!