Need Help Installing Neon

Despite having installed the last two Neon LTS versions, I am having a time trying to install the latest. I’m not trying to preserve anything. My laptop has two drives. I have always setup the following:
500 MB sda1 for boot (more on this below)
Rest in sda2 as linux lvm
All of sdc as linux lvm

I then add sda2 and sdc1 as physical volumes. I create a ‘neon-vg’ volume group. I create the following logical volumes:
16 GB swap
100 GB root
360 GB home

I use mkfs.ext4 to format root and home. I use mkswap to format swap.

I wrote the live KDE installer to a flash drive and boot from that. I can setup the above via Konsole during the live boot. I then click the icon on the desktop to install. I choose manual install for partitions. I map root and home logical volumes. Here is where the confusion and problems begin.

When I hit next, I get a warning about not having an 8 MB, unformatted GPT partition with the right flag set. Is that in addition to the 500 MB boot partition I created? Do I map that boot partition (/dev/sda1) to /boot? What partition type was I supposed to use? I’ve tried EFI and Linux in both fdisk and gdisk. I really need help figuring out what parition(s) I need other than swap, root, and home, how it/they should be setup in fdisk or gdisk, and what file system if any should be on them.

Another issue is that, if I check to format the swap, home, or root logical volumes within the installer, once I proceed to install, I will quickly get a failure saying it can’t mkfs that partition because the file doesn’t exist. Often, when I then exit the installer and look, there is no more /dev/neon-vg folder even though I can run pvs, vgs, and lvs commands and see everthing.

The one time I thought I would get the install to succeed, I did not check the boxes to format anything, as I already did that anyway prior to running the installer. The 500MB boot partition was configured via fdisk as EFI. I used mkfs.fat -F 32 to format as FAT32. I ignored the warning about the 8MB GPT partition. The install got all the way to the progress bar completing and then gave me an error about not being able to create a symbolic link to vmlinuz. When I searched for that issue online, I saw people asking about the exact same error. Answers said the boot partition can’t be FAT32 because it doesn’t support sym links. But, every how-to I can find on setting up an EFI partition for Linux says to format it as FAT32.

I wrote this on my other laptop running the previous KDE Neon distribution. It does not have the extra 8 MB partition. I used fdisk when I set it up. It has the same 500 MB boot partition is set to type ‘Linux’.

Please help! I’m not very familiar with boot partitions, EFI, MBR, etc. So, please be specific.

After many more attempts to use GPT and EFI, I decided to set them aside. I used gdisk to clear all GPT and MBR info from my drive (sda) and delete all partitions. I then used fdisk to create the partitions listed above, choosing linux for the 500MB boot partition (sda1). I set the boot flag on the boot partition as well. The other partition is still type lvm. I have the lvm partition on the second disk as well. I then created the same lvm setup as listed in my post above. I used mkfs.ext2 to format the boot partition and mkfs.ext4 on root and home. I then clicked the desktop icon to install. I chose manual partitioning and mapped home and root to their respective LVs. I then selected the sda disk and mapped sda1 to /boot. It already had the boot flag set. I did not check any boxes to format since it is already done and fails every time I try it anyway. There is a drop-down at the bottom of the installer for choosing where the MBR resides. I can pick the drive (sda) or the /boot partition. I’ve tried both. Same result. The install gets to nearly done and then fails saying ‘Bootloader could not be installed’ followed by “grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg returned error code 1”. The install then exits. In Konsole I can see that /sda1 is mounted to /tmp/calamares-root-…/boot. That folder has a grub folder with files. Any idea what I have done wrong to cause the installer to fail here?

I’ve done several installs lately and have either got a similar “Bootloader could not be installed” or the install succeeds but won’t actually boot upon restarting. I’ve used boot-repair to fix whatever the problem is, and it successfully boots after that. The most recent install after fixing the initial install proceeded to not boot after immediately installing updates. Again, boot-repair fixed the problem. I’m sure I’m doing something wrong.

(The only reason for so many installs recently is that updates have borked something leading to various unbootable situations - either a kernel panic, the dreaded black screen with blinking cursor, or a grub issue that drops me to the grub rescue prompt.)