How to boot LMDE on an UEFI-based pc?

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How to boot LMDE on an UEFI-based pc?

Postby vengiss on Sat Dec 29, 2012 2:49 am

Is it possible to install LMDE on an UEFI-based pc? I copied the iso image to a USB stick but it won't boot at all, I have win7 already installed and it just boots on it even though I select "UEFI: ... USB ..." in the boot device, should I do something to the files before trying to boot it?
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Re: How to boot LMDE on an UEFI-based pc?

Postby viking777 on Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:12 am

The first question I would ask is, does LMDE have Uefi capabilities yet? I don't know the answer for sure, but what I do know is that when I received my new Uefi only laptop, I tried 5 different distros on it and the only one that installed properly was Ubuntu 12.10. The others could be booted from Ubuntu's grub once I had installed it, but none of the other four installed a proper Uefi based grub despite many of them saying they were Uefi capable. Long and short of it is that even distros that claim Uefi capabilities often don't have it or rather they have a system that will work on some installations, but not others. The whole thing is a complete mess.

One thing interested me though and that is you said you were able to select Uefi:USB from your bios. If you can do this then maybe you can install it in non-uefi mode and boot it that way?

Maybe this will help you: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UEFI . Pay particular attention to the section :Case when Ubuntu must be installed in EFI mode.

I know it is about Ubuntu, but the principles are about the same for all distros.
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Re: How to boot LMDE on an UEFI-based pc?

Postby vengiss on Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:02 pm

I see, I have the same problem you had of all the distros I've tried the only one that I've been able to even boot has been Ubuntu 12.10. I think LMDE doesn't have UEFI capabilities, as I understand the distros that do include an "EFI" folder with some configuration files on it so the system can find it at boot. I haven't tried the regular LM 14 version, I'll see it if works though but I really prefer rolling release distros :(
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Re: How to boot LMDE on an UEFI-based pc?

Postby srs5694 on Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:37 pm

Two points:

First, it's conceivable you've got Secure Boot enabled. To the best of my knowledge, only Ubuntu 12.10 really supports Secure Boot yet, although support is in the pipeline for several other distributions. If this is correct, disabling Secure Boot in the firmware might fix the problem. This explanation is unlikely, though, unless there was a typo in your description, since Secure Boot has become an issue with Windows 8. To the best of my knowledge, no Windows 7 systems shipped with Secure Boot active, and AFAIK the standard Windows 7 boot loader doesn't support Secure Boot. Thus, it might be worth checking your firmware, but don't spend too much time on this. (Indeed, until Windows 8's release, few EFI implementations even included Secure Boot options.)

Second, it's possible to install Mint (or any Linux) in BIOS mode and then switch it over to use EFI-mode booting. I've got an LMDE installation that I set up in this way. The procedure is, in brief:

  1. Launch the installer in BIOS mode.
  2. Install normally, making sure you're using a GUID Partition Table (GPT) for your partitions, not the older Master Boot Record (MBR) partition table. If you're installing to a disk that already holds Windows, this should be the way it's set up already.
  3. Use the firmware's boot options tool or something like Super GRUB 2 Disk to boot into Mint.
  4. Install an EFI boot loader for Linux. This is where it gets tricky, since you can't do a complete installation from BIOS mode. You can, though, install the files and then finish the job later. Also, installing the grub-efi package will remove the grub-pc package, which you may need to boot into BIOS mode, so you might not want to do this just yet. Overall, you might want to try ELILO or Fedora's patched GRUB Legacy, at least as a stopgap measure. See my Web page on EFI boot loaders for Linux for more complete installation instructions.
  5. Reboot and use whatever means is available to boot the just-installed EFI boot loader. This is another tricky step to describe because there are so many possibilities and many of them are system-specific. The method that's most likely to work on most systems is to prepare a bootable external disk (CD-R or USB flash drive) with my rEFInd boot manager. (There's a download link to a bootable CD-R image file; or the install.sh script enables you to create a bootable USB flash drive.) With any luck, Mint will boot in EFI mode.
  6. Either use efibootmgr to add the boot loader you installed earlier to the NVRAM settings or replace grub-pc with grub-efi. This will make the system boot Linux in EFI mode. Note that if you use ELILO, it can't chainload to Windows, so you'd need to add rEFInd or gummiboot to the mix, or perhaps rely on your firmware's built-in boot manager (but most of them are very poor).

As you can see, steps #4 and #5 are a bit sticky for the uninitiated, but it is do-able. It will be easier in the future -- and in fact it already is easier for some distributions -- because the 3.3.0 kernel includes its own boot loader. That, in combination with drivers and features provided with rEFInd (especially in version 0.6.0 and later) enables changing steps #4 and #5 into something much simpler -- you can install rEFInd and use it to boot the Linux kernel directly. If I'm not mistaken, though, LMDE still uses a pre-3.3.0 kernel by default, and this approach requires a 3.3.0 kernel.

Ubuntu also has a tool called "boot repair" that can be used to do the work of steps #4 and #5; however, I don't know if it would work with LMDE. If it doesn't, it could make matters worse, so I'm reluctant to recommend using it.
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Re: How to boot LMDE on an UEFI-based pc?

Postby vengiss on Sat Dec 29, 2012 2:53 pm

Thanks for the suggestion I'll give it a go and see if it works, for what it's worth I just tried booting the regular LM14 and it does bott just fine, I think they just haven't implemented that code into the debian version or something like that..
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Re: How to boot LMDE on an UEFI-based pc?

Postby wiugrad2010 on Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:20 am

vengiss wrote:Thanks for the suggestion I'll give it a go and see if it works, for what it's worth I just tried booting the regular LM14 and it does bott just fine, I think they just haven't implemented that code into the debian version or something like that..


Anyone hear/read whether or not EFI/UEFI support will be implemented into the updated LMDE ISO with UP? Although SRS post is very helpful and informative, it is beyond my ability and know-how. Having EFI support already built to work out of box would be great for my noob self who wants to use LMDE
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Re: How to boot LMDE on an UEFI-based pc?

Postby phredbull on Fri May 03, 2013 5:55 pm

I've been trying to install LMDE on my iMac. LMDE still uses the 3.2 kernel, I'm trying to figure out how to update or replace my kernel...
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Re: How to boot LMDE on an UEFI-based pc?

Postby lewyssmith on Mon May 13, 2013 2:57 pm

wiugrad2010 wrote:
vengiss wrote:Thanks for the suggestion I'll give it a go and see if it works, for what it's worth I just tried booting the regular LM14 and it does bott just fine, I think they just haven't implemented that code into the debian version or something like that..


Anyone hear/read whether or not EFI/UEFI support will be implemented into the updated LMDE ISO with UP? Although SRS post is very helpful and informative, it is beyond my ability and know-how. Having EFI support already built to work out of box would be great for my noob self who wants to use LMDE

Alas, currently LMDE has *no* EFI support. To quote its home page:
"No EFI, GPT or secureBoot support."
First, forget 'secure boot': simply turn it OFF in the BIOS.
This lack of EFI is serious for me. LMDE is my main & preferred system on an ageing & cramped 32-bit machine. I have a new 64-bit GPT/EFI box to which I want to transfer everything, LMDE in particular. How do we push for this adaptation?
Someone said he had installed several Linuxes on such a box, but only 1 booted properly. I am having similar lack of success. Manjaro installed but did not boot without drastic fiddling in the machine's EFI directory; nor ever work due to AMD video issues. OpenSuse both installed and booted: well done. But I am not changing to the new box until I have at least 3 Linux's working on it; they normally stop working soon enough after system upgrades; and I am not yet fluent with what EFI fiddling to do after boot loader re-installation.
rEFInd is the key if one can make one's machine go to it automatically.

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Re: How to boot LMDE on an UEFI-based pc?

Postby srs5694 on Mon May 13, 2013 6:29 pm

lewyssmith wrote:OpenSuse both installed and booted: well done.
...
rEFInd is the key if one can make one's machine go to it automatically.


Try installing the rEFInd RPM under OpenSUSE. Chances are when you reboot rEFInd will come up automatically, at least if Secure Boot is disabled. (There are some buggy EFIs that won't do this, though; they require problem-solving and tweaking.)

Once rEFInd is installed, it should almost boot a subsequently-installed LMDE. The trick is that it won't know what options to pass the kernel. These need to go in each distribution's /boot/refind_linux.conf file, which must be customized for each distribution. You can craft this file by hand or, if you can boot the distribution in another way (in BIOS mode or even by using chroot), you can run the mkrlconf.sh script that comes with rEFInd to do the job.
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Re: How to boot LMDE on an UEFI-based pc?

Postby giocitta on Wed May 22, 2013 1:00 pm

Hi srs5694,

my question is probably formulated out of its right place, but I'm a rEFInd newbie and it is difficult for me to find which is the right place!
Well, I have installed Manjaro 0.8.5.2 in one GPT partitioned disk of my computer, and I successfully use UEFI boot and rEFInd. What should I do to install in the same disk also LMDE (or another Linux distribution) without wiping anything there up? Should I prepare a second UEFI System Partition, or will it be sufficient to prepare only the / partition? The new installation should start from an "UEFI" DVD or USB pen, so to have a valid kernel?
Could you give me simple instructions to satisfy my aim?
Many thanks for your patience in reading my simple (and probably silly) question.

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Re: How to boot LMDE on an UEFI-based pc?

Postby lewyssmith on Tue Dec 24, 2013 2:08 pm

giocitta wrote:Hi srs5694,
Well, I have installed Manjaro 0.8.5.2 in one GPT partitioned disk of my computer, and I successfully use UEFI boot and rEFInd. What should I do to install in the same disk also LMDE (or another Linux distribution) without wiping anything there up? Should I prepare a second UEFI System Partition, or will it be sufficient to prepare only the / partition? The new installation should start from an "UEFI" DVD or USB pen, so to have a valid kernel?
giocitta

I have discovered your question very late, but am now much more proficient with EFI than me earlier response.
I would still avoid messing with installing LMDE on an EFI box until it is done properly, without the bodging currently required. I have temporarily installed another LinuxMint with few problems: luckily rEFInd finds it, for it did little to make itself loadable! I now have 5 Linux's on my EFI system, with varying degrees of difficulty. They are all bootable from the EFI boot menu (F12 in my case) - except LinuxMint - or rEFInd, whose magic is that it finds *dynamically* installed Linux's.
For any new Linux installation, you will need:
- a [new] partition for /
- the existing swap partition
- the \EFI partition mounted according to the distribution; normally /boot/efi or /boot/EFI
The important thing is that the distribution installs consciously on EFI. If not, I would not bother.
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