Decrypt and mount LUKS disk from GRUB rescue mode

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Tags: grub luks security recovery

I am running a Linux installation with an encrypted boot partition using LUKS and GRUB. From time to time I enter the wrong password to GRUB which dumps me into grub rescue mode. There is no help, nor any tab completion to get when in that prompt, so you better know your way around. The only other option, which may actually be faster, is to reboot to get another shot. Anyway, here’s how to open a LUKS volume from grub rescue mode and continue booting without rebooting.

Start out by entering an invalid password to GRUB bootloader

Welcome to GRUB!

Attempting to decrypt master key...
Enter passphrase for hd0,gpt2 (<disk uuid>):
error: access denied
error: no such cryptodisk found.
error: disk `cryptouuid/<disk uuid>` not found.
Entering rescue mode...

List all devices found (out of curiosity)

grub rescue> ls

Mount the encrypted /boot partition (as attempted from the start). I know that partition number 2 on the first (and only) disk is mine, hence (hd2,gpt2).

grub rescue> cryptomount (hd0,gpt2)

If you want to specify a UUID instead, use the -u option to cryptomount.

Try to enter the correct passphrase

Attempting to decrypt master key...
Enter passphrase for hd0,gpt2 (<disk uuid>):

Output on success:

Slot 3 opened

Load the module for normal boot

grub rescue> insmod normal

Boot normally as GRUB tried to do at first

grub rescue> normal

Now you should be taken to the next step in the boot process, which in my case is the GRUB OS selection menu. Works for me!

Other commands

The rescue shell does not have a whole lot of commands. It doesn’t even have a help command. For some more information about the available functions, consult the GRUB manual section for “Commands” and the subsection “GRUB only offers a rescue shell”.


If you have any comments or feedback, please send me an e-mail. (stig at stigok dotcom).

Did you find any typos, incorrect information, or have something to add? Then please propose a change to this post.