UEFI install and boot guidance

Questions about Grub, UEFI,the liveCD and the installer
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juansolo57
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UEFI install and boot guidance

Post by juansolo57 » Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:39 pm

I attempted a clean installation of Petra on a new system I built. I booted off the LiveDVD, partitioned my hard drive, and went through the installation workflow. Everything seemed to be going well until the installer completed and told me to reboot. I removed the media, rebooted, no love- the system wasn't finding the installed OS. I did a lot of searching and eventually found a solution, but in hindsight it was much harder to find the necessary information than I feel was necessary. For this and other reasons I decided to register and post what I learned in the hope that it might help somebody.

The problem ultimately revolved around the fact that the new system utilized a UEFI-capable motherboard. For some reason almost all discussion of GPT (GUID Partition Table) and UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) installation issues seem to revolve around Windows and/or dual-booting with Windows. This led me to believe that GPT was a Windows-centric technology, so I dismissed it. I also saw a lot of people saying the "fix" was to turn off UEFI and use Legacy boot instead (if your motherboard supports it). That and setting SATA to IDE rather than AHCI. All of that proved to be at least somewhat misleading, at worst outright incorrect.

Here is what you really need to know if you're struggling with installing Mint on a UEFI-enabled system:

1. GPT is not Windows-centric. It's part of the UEFI standard and should be considered foundational to any UEFI install.
2. fdisk (at least versions I've used) does not support GPT. You have to use Gparted, which handles GPT quite nicely. If you're trying to follow "legacy" MBR partitioning workflows using fdisk, you're going down the wrong path (unless of course you want to turn off UEFI and use "Legacy" boot, which I can only assume would work because I didn't try it).
3. Turn off Secure Boot. Apparently there is a way to use Secure Boot with Linux, but results may vary. Doing things my way, the only 'sacrifice' your system makes is Secure Boot.
3. You still need to create a separate primary /boot partition. You can partition the rest of your disk however you like.

Petra will install to a GPT disk and automatically install grub2. Once you get over the GPT hurdle and create a home for the bootloader, the rest is a cakewalk.

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gold_finger
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Re: UEFI install and boot guidance

Post by gold_finger » Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:14 pm

juansolo57 wrote: For some reason almost all discussion of GPT (GUID Partition Table) and UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) installation issues seem to revolve around Windows and/or dual-booting with Windows. This led me to believe that GPT was a Windows-centric technology, so I dismissed it. I also saw a lot of people saying the "fix" was to turn off UEFI and use Legacy boot instead (if your motherboard supports it). That and setting SATA to IDE rather than AHCI. All of that proved to be at least somewhat misleading, at worst outright incorrect.
Thanks for clarifying some of this for those that are unfamiliar with it. Think most of the confusion stems primarily from the fact that most users are dealing with new computers that come pre-installed with Windows on it (whether they want it or not) -- consequently most of the forum posts mention Windows. Most of them, in turn, are trying to duel-boot rather than replace. Situation gets complicated by the fact that Windows may or may not be installed in UEFI-mode. Most of the time (I believe) it is and if that's the case Mint must use the same mode and must be the same type (64-bit, or 32-bit) as the currently installed Windows. Trying to force a Mint install in BIOS/Legacy-mode in this situation is most definitely the source of many problems. Similarly, if Windows is installed in BIOS/Legacy-mode and Mint in UEFI-mode, that also causes problems.

If someone wants to ditch Windows completely, then they can simply delete all the partitions and start fresh with Mint in either mode.
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mintybits
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Re: UEFI install and boot guidance

Post by mintybits » Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:51 am

UEFI will work with either MS-DOS or GPT formatted disks.
UEFI will only boot 64-bit OSs
UEFI requires an EFIboot partition. This is comon to all OSs on the disk.
Secure boot needs to be disabled unless the OS has a key. I believe Fedora and Ubuntu have keys.
GPT is only necesary for disks larger than 2TiB.
For an easy life, install on MS-DOS format with legacy BIOS booting. :wink:

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loligater
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Re: UEFI install and boot guidance

Post by loligater » Mon Feb 03, 2014 10:38 pm

I did write a guide for just this, if you would like to try it. Here it is

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