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How to Link to the Dell Diagnostic partition from your Ubuntu Linux operating system on a Dell PC

Summary: This article takes you through how to reconnect the Dell Diagnostics Partition to your Linux Ubuntu Operating Install if it didn't come from the factory installed with that operating system. ...

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Article Content


The following article provides information about how to use the Dell diagnostics on boot if you have reinstalled with Ubuntu Linux on your Dell PC.

Table of Contents:

  1. Using the Dell diagnostics with an Ubuntu install
  2. Dell Diagnostic Partition
  3. GRUB2 Menu Configuration


Using the Dell diagnostics with an Ubuntu install


This guide takes you through linking the GRUB2 boot loader to the partition that contains the Dell diagnostics. The diagnostics partition is from when the system was originally configured in the factory.

It will let you boot to the diagnostics if you are experiencing any hardware issues with your Dell PC.

If you get any errors from these diagnostics, please contact your Technical Support for a resolution.

If you have recently reinstalled your Dell PC with an Ubuntu Linux Operating System (OS), then you will want to read and follow the guide below.

SLN151665_en_US__1icon Note: If you get any errors from these diagnostics, please contact your Technical Support for a resolution.

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Dell Diagnostics Partition


  1. Did your system ship with a Dell Diagnostics Partition installed?

    1. No, it did not ship with any onboard diagnostics. Then, I am afraid this guide is not going to do you any good.

    2. Yes, but you wiped and formatted the whole Hard Drive. Again, I am afraid if there is no existing partition to link to then this guide is not going to do you any good.

    3. Yes and the partition is still there. Most of our newer systems, including desktops do ship with this partition. Then please follow the steps below to get this partition working again.

      Note: Originally the way to boot to these diagnostics was by pressing the F12 key at the Dell Splash Screen. This brought up a Boot Once menu. Using the cursor or arrow keys, you could select Diagnostics and press the Enter key to boot to them.
    4. If you are unsure that you had this partition, you can check if the partition still exists by running this command in Ubuntu.

sudo mount -t vfat /dev/sda1 /mnt


SLN151665_en_US__1icon Note: In these examples, I am calling the diagnostics partition /dev/sda1 and the drive location as hd0.1. For naming Conventions, you can find out more from one of our Ubuntu articles.

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GRUB2 Configuration Menu


  1. Have you already installed the Ubuntu OS on your system?

    1. Yes, then follow step 2 below.

    2. No, then please ensure that you do not delete the diagnostics partition when you choose which partitions to delete. Or which to install to, during the install process and then come back and pick up this guide from step 3.

  1. During the install, the GRUB program will have run a probe for any other bootable partitions on your Hard Drive. However because the diagnostics partition is a small DOS partition that is formatted in FAT, GRUB will not pick it up. You must configure it manually.

  2. You must edit the file which defines the custom bootable partitions.  /etc/grub.d/40_custom. It should show an entry like the picture below.

exec tail -n +3 $0
# This file provides and easy way to add custom menu entries. Simply type the
# menu entries you want to add after this comment. Be careful not to change
# the 'exec tail' line above.

  1. Append the lines below to the end of the file. 

SLN151665_en_US__1icon Note: Make sure there are no extra characters.

menuentry "Dell DOS Diagnostics (on /dev/sda1)" {
insmod chain
insmod fat
set root=(hd0.1)
chainloader +1}

  1. Update the GRUB2 Menu, using the command below.

sudo update-grub2

  1. Now reboot your system and test if it worked?

    Dell DOS Diagnostics should have appeared as the last line in the GRUB2 boot menu. You could boot to it, and the diagnostics should run from that point.

    Once the diagnostics have run through, the system should reboot to the GRUB2 menu.

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Additional Information:


SLN151665_en_US__1icon Note:
Software support is by Canonical through the following methods:
Technical Support is provided by Dell:

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Article Properties

Affected Product

G Series, Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Fixed Workstations

Last Published Date

31 May 2024



Article Type