Going from an unscaled to scaled Decryption screen in Pop!_OS


If you are like me, you began using Linux back when the GRUB command was the rage and things were not quite as fast as they are in boot today with the startup routine in Pop!_OS or any other Debian-based derivative. When I found Ubuntu years ago, that was a god-send of joy, but upgrades were always pretty much a wipe and reinstall for safety sake. When I became a System76 user and they announced the tightly integrated Pop!_OS system based on Ubuntu which is based on Debian, I gave it a try and have never looked back.

My choice has been rewarded over the years with great hardware and even better software and support. Case in point, I recently ran into an oddball issue wherein my decryption screen was huge. I mean like monstrously HUGE. I am taking the kind of huge that seems like the system is YELLING AT YOU:

1

Now, I not a dope, i’ve been around the old block a time or two but his one had me stumped. Many an hour of searching through Google, DuckDuckGo didn’t yield much. almost every solution expected that I would be running Grub and it would be an easy-as-pie fix with a few simple steps.

Well, the problem is that “I ain’t got no stinkin’ grub here” so none of those were going to solve the issue. No, this was going to need something a little different to solve. After a few days, I remembered that actual live human beings who can provide technical support were available at System76, the company where I’ve been buying my machines.

So I hit on plan to ask the dumb technical question to solve my issue. I opened a ticket with the support team there. They got right back to me an ask the qualifying questions. They gathered a few bits of evidence and determined which issue I was having with the boot decryption screen. After a few days of me traveling out to the farm and back we finally got it all described appropriately and I got a response on how to fix the issue.

On the hopes that someone might need to solve a similar issue, I wanted to share that with you now.

The Solution

In my case, I run an Nvidia 3050 card, so I wasn’t’ getting the modules to run at startup, leading to an impossibly large decryption prompt on my 4K TV monitor. The TV’s are far cheaper to run and easier for me to see at scale anyway.

Edit the modules file like so:

sudo nano /etc/initramfs-tools/modules

This will open the nano editor as a superuser to allow you to modify the drivers to load earlier within the boot sequence and provide the desired output at the decryption screen.

Once that is done, add the following lines at the end of the file:

nvidia
nvidia_drm
nvidia_modeset

Save the file, then close the editor. Next run the following command on the terminal:

sudo update-initramfs -c -k all

What this will do is tell the system to add those Nvidia kernel modules to the boot image (also known as the “initramfs”), which will allow them to load before the drive is decrypted. This should change the behavior of the decryption prompt so it renders at the correct resolution. Reboot the system to verify the change.

Remove the change

If this doesn’t work, simply edit the file and remove the module lines. Save the file and reboot the system. No harm, no foul.

Thanks to Christian Wagner of System76 Support for the solution and for being so helpful. Truly appreciate all that the team at System76 do.

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