SOLVED: Linux Mint 21 Mate beta and MBR/GPT

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pccobbler
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SOLVED: Linux Mint 21 Mate beta and MBR/GPT

Post by pccobbler »

I tried to install 21 MATE beta, but was met with warnings about not having an EFI partition, which I assume means that GPT is the default. This is different than 20.

My laptop is one that still allows for legacy boot -- it was impossible to run anything except Windows 10 until I turned off UEFI boot -- so GPT is not so interesting for me. My SSDs are all 512 GB or smaller, so GPT is not necessary.

I interrupted the installation and created the partitions -- EXT4 for everything under slash, but also a tiny swap partition, both MBR -- on a different PC. Then I restarted the installation. The warning about needing an EFI partition still persisted.

Does 21 installation override my creation of MBR and create GPT or does it leave it alone?

Why doesn't installation offer a choice of MBR or GPT (is that inherited from Ubuntu)?
Last edited by pccobbler on Fri Jul 29, 2022 5:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Cosmo.
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Re: 21 and MBR/GPT

Post by Cosmo. »

If there is no partition table on the drive, when you install or if you explicitly choose in the installer to create a new partition table, the installer looks for the mode of the computer (legacy or uefi) and selects accordingly the matching partition table. But if you create a partition table beforehand with GParted, the installer creates a new one only in case, that you explicitly select this command.

This is the behavior since more than 5 years until now. I do not know, if this has been changed in LM 21, but this should be easy to find out.

You can even in legacy mode use GPT and I would do so; GPT is more robust and the number of partitions is not limited, so there is no need to handle with the laborious extended partition.
Note that you need to create a little bootloader partition, if you use GPT in legacy mode.

Another thing: a swap partition is pointless. Mint creates during installation automatically a swap file and in case it must be changed in size this is easier to do.
pccobbler
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Re: 21 and MBR/GPT

Post by pccobbler »

Thanks for the reply.

Something about your first paragraph is confusing. I've installed many distributions on this laptop: Linux Mint, Devuan, Sparky Linux, and Manjaro. Recently distributions have started warning that GPT is the best option. But LM 20 did not warn me about an EFI partition, while 21 beta did, even though BIOS has been set to legacy boot (which I realize is a Frankenstein UEFI, but it's called legacy boot) for years. If LM is truly matching the BIOS setting, it should never have asked about EFI.

I did not know that LM creates a swap file. I create a swap partition out of habit, because some distributions (Devuan, for one) mention it at boot.
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Re: 21 and MBR/GPT

Post by Cosmo. »

I wrote in my post, that I did not check, if the described behavior of the installer in LM 21 is really identical to the previous versions, I simply assumed so.

On the other hand: Creating a partition table means in any case, that the drive gets completely emptied. So if you find, that the installer of LM 21 worked differently you can go back without loosing anything (except some time).
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Jo-con-Ël
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Re: 21 and MBR/GPT

Post by Jo-con-Ël »

pccobbler wrote:
Wed Jul 27, 2022 1:49 pm
I tried to install 21 MATE beta, but was met with warnings about not having an EFI partition, which I assume means that GPT is the default.
Wrong assumption. That means nothing about disk partitioning scheme but boot mode. You are booting Linux Mint Live on UEFI mode so, installing on such mode, you need an EFI partition to place grub-efi loader.

It is strange as you said you have "turn off UEFI boot". To be sure use boot menu (see here or your computer user's manual) key on starting PC and choose USB option accordingly the way/mode you want to install. If you want to install on BIOS mode the one w/o UEFI signature.

About partitioning, you can install Linux on BIOS mode on GPT or MBR/msdos disk and install on UEFI mode on MBR/GPT disk. Only current Windows edition need UEFI boot mode to install/boot on GPT disks. Also you wont have dual boot if Linux is not installed in the same mode as Windows.

In other hand removing all partitions and creating new partitions on installing using Something else option (neither with Gparted or DIsks) does not change partition scheme on disk. Mint's installer do not offer to change disk partitioning scheme unless you choose the option to Erase/Delete all and install Mint.

Please post back following codes results in any case (copy and paste one line each time on terminal).

Code: Select all

inxi -Fxxxz
sudo fdisk -l
sudo blkid
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spamegg
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Re: 21 and MBR/GPT

Post by spamegg »

Hello pccobbler

The EFI partition warning seems to be default starting with the Ubuntu 22.04 base. I recently installed Mint 21 Beta and Ubuntu Studio 22.04, and got the same warning from both.

I think they are starting to deprecate MBR and transition everyone to use EFI by default. I think that in the near future, new hardware will probably drop Legacy boot support. They have already started dropping it a few years ago.

I ignored the warnings and just installed using MBR anyway (no EFI partitions), both distros work fine. My motherboard BIOS supports Legacy boot.
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Re: Linux Mint 21 Mate beta and MBR/GPT

Post by rene »

spamegg wrote:
Wed Jul 27, 2022 4:21 pm
I think that in the near future, new hardware will probably drop Legacy boot support.
While that's undoubtedly true, we (well, I in any case) also only recently found that Grub in fact supports UEFI/MBR, with "an ESP" in the sense of a FAT-formatted partition of MBR-type 0xef. It also supports Legacy/GPT and then together with standard Legacy/MBR and UEFI/GPT any combination.

Mint 21.x features a new installer; it's schtick might just be said universal compatibility, maybe even in the sense of allowing the user to switch BIOS-mode on the fly; have BIOS-mode really only decide if the MBR-Grub or EFI-Grub is invoked. It would in that sense be sort of interesting to know if that new installer would if an MBR-ESP is found install itself there or also there.

Even if not that though it seems that as far as Grub is concerned Legacy and UEFI are in fact in essence decoupled from MBR and GPT.

Mind you; a note here is that MBR is obsolete crap and GPT much better, and that as long as you (can) disable Secure Boot UEFI is fine as well.
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Re: Linux Mint 21 Mate beta and MBR/GPT

Post by pccobbler »

@spamegg

"in the near future, new hardware will probably drop Legacy boot support. They have already started dropping it a few years ago."

This is true. My old (2013) HP allows it. I could only find one newish laptop that allows it, an Asian gray-market HP, though the BIOS is very different between the two.


@Jo-con-Ël

Linux Mint MATE 21 beta is running on an external SSD via USB 3.0. The internal SSD has Devuan on it. Both internal and external SSDs are MBR as per inxi. So I actually installed it the way I wanted to.

~$ fdisk -i

Code: Select all

Disk /dev/sda: 119.24 GiB, 128035676160 bytes, 250069680 sectors
Disk model: THNSNJ128GCSU   
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 33553920 bytes
Disklabel type: dos
Disk identifier:

@rene

"as long as you (can) disable Secure Boot UEFI is fine as well."

I did. I had no choice, because Linux would not run otherwise.
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Jo-con-Ël
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Re: Linux Mint 21 Mate beta and MBR/GPT

Post by Jo-con-Ël »

pccobbler wrote:
Wed Jul 27, 2022 6:39 pm
@Jo-con-Ël

Linux Mint MATE 21 beta is running on an external SSD via USB 3.0. The internal SSD has Devuan on it. Both internal and external SSDs are MBR as per inxi. So I actually installed it the way I wanted to.

~$ fdisk -i
Once again, partitioning scheme does not mean boot mode in case of Linux.

Now it looks like ubiquity can install both BIOS and UEFI loader on certain cirscumstances and boot on both modes

Any way, it is not disk partitioning scheme what you need to check on inxi result to know the mode you are booting. If you have already installed Mint on BIOS mode and boot in such mode you will see BIOS or UEFI[Legacy] on inxi report Machine chapter preceding firmware/BIOS maker and version.

On your previous inxi report here last year is was UEFI[Legacy] so you were booting LM 20.2 on BIOS mode (most probably UEFI and Legacy support was enabled on computer setup).

Also there are other ways to confirm boot mode BIOS/UEFI (by example running sudo efibootmgr -v).

Once you are sure you are booting on BIOS mode, there is no other system installed on UEFI mode (so no EFI/ESP partition at all) you can install and pay no attention on that warning so Continue, There is a bug reported about this warning on Ubuntu 22.04 you can see here.

Please, provide those other codes I asked for and complete fdisk result.

(Edited)
Last edited by Jo-con-Ël on Sat Jul 30, 2022 7:21 pm, edited 12 times in total.
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pccobbler
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Re: Linux Mint 21 Mate beta and MBR/GPT

Post by pccobbler »

@Jo-con-Ël

If I execute "sudo fdisk -l" in a terminal, all serial numbers are revealed. No.
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Re: Linux Mint 21 Mate beta and MBR/GPT

Post by Jo-con-Ël »

It is up to you. Bye.
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zcot
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Re: Linux Mint 21 Mate beta and MBR/GPT

Post by zcot »

Just for the open discussion, I have never seen, since before 2013 even, an UEFI system that allows you to set it to strictly-only, restricted, BIOS-only. You can set the boot mode to UEFI only, where a BIOS boot would not work, or you could set it to some version of "both", where either boot mode would succeed, but I do not even know of the existence of a system where you can force UEFI to not work.

ie. The system was booted into UEFI mode if it says any word about the esp partition.
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Re: Linux Mint 21 Mate beta and MBR/GPT

Post by pbear »

pccobbler wrote:
Wed Jul 27, 2022 1:49 pm
I tried to install 21 MATE beta, but was met with warnings about not having an EFI partition ...
With no small amount of effort, I was able to reproduce this bug. It's a sly one, though, and definitely new for Ubuntu 22.04 and derivatives. On the bright side, if you use manual installation and push on notwithstanding the warning, you should end up with a legacy boot USB drive.

A little background. I've spent a lot of time on full install to USB drive. I've very familiar with how LM18, 19 and 20 work, and their Ubuntu counterparts. Installing in BIOS mode, including legacy mode on UEFI computers, was drop-dead simple, except there's an annoying bug when using erase-and-install in LM20, where the installer creates a superfluous-but-harmless EFI partition. And this could be avoided by using manual install.

When Ubuntu 22.04 was released, I tested several scenarios, including erase-and-install in both BIOS and UEFI. Also, full install to USB drive in UEFI mode, which historically has had a very unpleasant bug (which persists) that shouldn't be relevant to your problem. What I had not tested - never occurred to me to test - was installation in legacy mode. My BIOS mode installation was in VirtualBox. Note: I'm doing all these tests with Ubuntu 22.04, because that's the ISO I have on hand. Mint uses the exact same installer, though (except LMDE), and has always tracked Ubuntu step-for-step on installer bugs.

Reproducing your scenario, I had to dig out of a closet an old Win 8.1 laptop, which is the only computer I have that can do legacy mode. First installation seemed to go fine - no warning about needing an EFI partition - until I went to boot. To my surprise, ended up at a Grub prompt. Turns out, the installer had bollixed the internal drive's boot loaders. Also, had installed in UEFI mode even though the live session was booted in legacy mode (confirmed in Terminal before I ran the installer), using the internal drive's EFI partition! I had, of course, specified installation of the boot loader to the USB drive, but this was ignored (the same UEFI bug as mentioned above).

Okay, do over. Boot live session in legacy mode. Disable EFI partition on internal drive (see tutorial). Set up USB drive for manual installation. Let 'er rip. And there it is: the no EFI partition warning. Click to continue. Complete installation; shut down live session. Boot USB drive in legacy mode. Yup that works. Repair internal drive's boot loader (fortunately, I know how). Disable legacy boot. Put computer back in closet.

By the way, unable to test (without blowing up the laptop completely), but expect erase-and-install on the internal drive would end up as a UEFI system, even if the live session is booted in legacy mode. OTOH, manual install should work. Also, my results might be at least partly firmware related. The laptop I used has an early version of UEFI, Insyde F.49 (updated to the latest available, Jul'18), known to be somewhat flaky.

Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any questions.
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Re: Linux Mint 21 Mate beta and MBR/GPT

Post by hydrurga »

pbear wrote:
Fri Jul 29, 2022 12:50 am
With no small amount of effort, I was able to reproduce this bug. It's a sly one, though, and definitely new for Ubuntu 22.04 and derivatives. On the bright side, if you use manual installation and push on notwithstanding the warning, you should end up with a legacy boot USB drive.
[...]
Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any questions.
I've just come across this issue on a laptop with is set up to boot in legacy BIOS mode (I have two disks on the laptop, both MBR, multiple partitions for various purposes), booting the beta installer from a YUMI USB in legacy mode. The "no UEFI partition" message generated by the installer spooked me, particularly as it added that the installation would likely fail as a result. Can I just confirm that I should be able to ignore that message and continue on with the installation? To be honest, it seems ridiculous to me that this message should be generated in cases where someone wants to install in legacy mode.
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Re: Linux Mint 21 Mate beta and MBR/GPT

Post by rene »

hydrurga wrote:
Sat Jul 30, 2022 6:33 pm
To be honest, it seems ridiculous to me that this message should be generated in cases where someone wants to install in legacy mode.
It is. And I must say that I am taking it as a sign that Ubuntu is... having some issues. As far as I've been able to find this problem has existed since 21.10 -- so in all that time Ubuntu QA wouldn't have tried their new installer with a legacy system and MBR? As in, what?

Yes, pbear said you can just ignore the warning and go ahead.
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Re: Linux Mint 21 Mate beta and MBR/GPT

Post by hydrurga »

zcot wrote:
Thu Jul 28, 2022 6:01 pm
ie. The system was booted into UEFI mode if it says any word about the esp partition.
I have to say that this is not what I experienced. I even checked that this was the case with an ls /sys/firmware on the installer live session command line. Despite that, I was given the ESP warning message when attempting a manual install ("Something else").
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Re: Linux Mint 21 Mate beta and MBR/GPT

Post by zcot »

hydrurga wrote:
Sat Jul 30, 2022 6:41 pm
zcot wrote:
Thu Jul 28, 2022 6:01 pm
ie. The system was booted into UEFI mode if it says any word about the esp partition.
I have to say that this is not what I experienced. I even checked that this was the case with an ls /sys/firmware on the installer live session command line. Despite that, I was given the ESP warning message when attempting a manual install ("Something else").
I am mistaken on that. It is not an accurate statement, I guess given the more recent updates from Ubuntu 22.04(or 21.10 as rene stated) / Mint 21.
Last edited by zcot on Sat Jul 30, 2022 6:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
hydrurga
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Re: Linux Mint 21 Mate beta and MBR/GPT

Post by hydrurga »

rene wrote:
Sat Jul 30, 2022 6:39 pm
It is. And I must say that I am taking it as a sign that Ubuntu is... having some issues. As far as I've been able to find this problem has existed since 21.10 -- so in all that time Ubuntu QA wouldn't have tried their new installer with a legacy system and MBR? As in, what?

Yes, pbear said you can just ignore the warning and go ahead.
That's great, thanks. It does seem like a wee bit of an oversight of Ubuntu not to have tested that. I'm sure that there are still a few of us legacy guys out there. :)
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Re: Linux Mint 21 Mate beta and MBR/GPT

Post by hydrurga »

zcot wrote:
Sat Jul 30, 2022 6:44 pm
I am mistaken on that. It is not an accurate statement, I guess given the more recent updates from Ubuntu 22.04(or 21.10 as rene stated) / Mint 21.
No problem. Just the installer not being very smart. Oh well, progress isn't always forward. :)
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Re: SOLVED: Linux Mint 21 Mate beta and MBR/GPT

Post by rene »

I know it's going to sound generic Ubuntu complainy (but am not actually generally very generically Ubuntu complainy): given my above "QA" remark I might decide to have had enough of Ubuntu as a base; may "diversify", i.e., hop, before desktop Ubuntu implodes fully.
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