New EFI boot manager available: rEFInd

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Freddy1
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Re: New EFI boot manager available: rEFInd

Postby Freddy1 » Sun Apr 26, 2015 5:24 am

I have just bought a new computer...
Acer XS-603 - 1TB - HDMI, With Windows 8.1 installed, what else ???
Before i installed the new computer i downloaded 3 Linux distributions, Ubuntu, Mint and PClinuxOS...
FIRST...It was not easy to remove Windows.
Because its efi boot, and i now nothing about that, i had troubles to install Linux.
I have erased me whole hard disk and it has take me many hours to install Mint on me computer.
How i done it, with a bit of luck and adjusting me bios settings i think that’s the reason i could. Me other computers have no efi boot-loader...
I must buy another computer for me lady, and i asked the vendor... Can i buy one with an empty hard disk ??? NO WAY ! I say to the vendor, i buy a computer, not Microsoft... Its a free country, i can run on me computer what i want !!! Nothing to do.
So i am very pleased with this post ! It will help me to install Linux on me lady's computer.
NOTE : A little story from a dummy, i must learn a lot !!!
Thanks !
Freddy1

srs5694
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Re: New EFI boot manager available: rEFInd

Postby srs5694 » Sun Apr 26, 2015 2:44 pm

Try one or both of the following:

  • In Windows, use "bcdedit" to set the default to rEFInd. You can do this from an Administrator Command Prompt window by typing "bcdedit /set {bootmgr} path \EFI\refind\refind_x64.efi".
  • Use EasyUEFI, which is a GUI Windows tool for managing the EFI boot process.

If neither of those tools works, and if "efibootmgr" in Linux doesn't work, then your EFI is badly broken. (Either its configuration has gotten confused or it's very buggy -- and I'd argue that the former indicates the latter.) You might try upgrading your firmware (if an update is available) and trying again. If that doesn't work, then you'll have to either ditch the computer or figure out a workaround based on renaming rEFInd, as described here.

Freddy1
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Re: New EFI boot manager available: rEFInd

Postby Freddy1 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 2:33 am

Mint is running now on me Acer...
If i look in the app "disk" i see a Efi partition, i think that’s good. Its partitytype Efi system. (537MB)
So i think me computer is ok.
Thanks for the reply.
Freddy1

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Dngrsone
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Re: New EFI boot manager available: rEFInd

Postby Dngrsone » Tue Apr 28, 2015 10:12 am

srs5694 wrote:Try one or both of the following:

  • In Windows, use "bcdedit" to set the default to rEFInd. You can do this from an Administrator Command Prompt window by typing "bcdedit /set {bootmgr} path \EFI\refind\refind_x64.efi".
  • Use EasyUEFI, which is a GUI Windows tool for managing the EFI boot process.

If neither of those tools works, and if "efibootmgr" in Linux doesn't work, then your EFI is badly broken. (Either its configuration has gotten confused or it's very buggy -- and I'd argue that the former indicates the latter.) You might try upgrading your firmware (if an update is available) and trying again. If that doesn't work, then you'll have to either ditch the computer or figure out a workaround based on renaming rEFInd, as described here.


Thanks, srs, I've been searching for this bit for a while... I've already broken things with my first try, but I am out of time for unbreaking it this morning... probably won't get back to it until tomorrow.
Try politeness; people will like you for it.

Freddy1
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Re: New EFI boot manager available: rEFInd

Postby Freddy1 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:21 am

Ok, Windows is removed from me Acer...
Like a say before Mint is running on that computer now, and starts up, but slow.
Restarting the computer is another question, that is not good, sometimes it starts up, but not all way’s.
When i look at me partitions on the disk utility, i have a Efi partition.
But, i ask myself.. Could that computer if i want Linux alone WITHOUT windows not be totally formatted ??? And than without that Efi partition on it ?
IF NOT, i have made a big error to buy that Acer. I consider to call Acer Belgium to ask a few questions about that, its not Wright to bild a computer for just only Windows... Point out, its just not wright.
Greetings,
Freddy1

Freddy1
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Re: New EFI boot manager available: rEFInd

Postby Freddy1 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 8:19 am

Now, i have contacted by mail Acer Belgium, and asked the following...
When i bought this computer i was told, you can install without problems Linux on it, that is not so easy as told.
When i go to the shop, i give good money for good advice, AND i buy a computer, NOT Microsoft.
Erasing the whole hard-disk should not be a problem, and installing Linux or BSD should also not be a problem.
I can not believe that they make computers and they managed to make it an obligation to run Windows on it, i still think there is a freedom off choice.
I am curious what i get as answer !
Computing must be fun, and not complicate, i work with Linux sins i was independent... In those day's there are no problems, now its a chaos. :(
Greetings,
Freddy1

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Re: New EFI boot manager available: rEFInd

Postby srs5694 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 8:46 am

Freddy1, the EFI System Partition (ESP) is a necessary part of a computer that boots in EFI mode. It's not some Microsoft conspiracy or wasted space; it's where the boot loader -- for any OS -- is stored. If you completely wipe the disk and install nothing but Mint on the computer (in EFI mode), you'll have an ESP at the end of the task. This is normal.

Also, most EFI-based computers have a Compatibility Support Module (CSM), which enables them to use older BIOS-based boot loaders. I often wish this weren't true, because activating the CSM (sometimes called "legacy mode") means that two entirely different boot modes can be used (EFI/UEFI and BIOS/CSM/legacy). Novices often don't realize which boot mode they're using, which can lead to problems, such as Windows being installed in EFI mode and Linux in BIOS mode. This is a problem because mode-switching is usually harder than it should be. The end result of CSM is therefore often greater confusion and more problems with no real benefit. On the other hand, if you're single-booting and you're already familiar with all the quirks of BIOS-mode booting, you can activate this support and pretend the computer is one from five years ago, with a straight-up BIOS and no EFI. This may be easier in the short term, but sooner or later I expect the CSM will disappear (some computers today lack it), so you'll have to learn about EFI eventually.

To learn more about how EFI booting works, I recommend you read the following:


In my experience, the biggest problem with EFI-mode booting is that people don't understand it. Worse, they often drag BIOS assumptions into it, and those assumptions simply do not apply to EFI, which results in people digging themselves into holes that they wouldn't have dug if they didn't have BIOS assumptions to begin with. Reading a bit about the technology will help a lot.

Freddy1
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Re: New EFI boot manager available: rEFInd

Postby Freddy1 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:37 am

You’re Wright. I must learn more about... And i will do so.
Just i was a little bit confused and "angry" I don't like win 8.1... I use linux a long time...
I will read your links to the efi pages, and do me best to learn how what it really means.
Thanks a lot for the advice ! :)
Greetings,
Freddy1

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Re: New EFI boot manager available: rEFInd

Postby mr_raider » Wed May 10, 2017 9:46 pm

Does refind support booting from NVMe drive partitions? If so, how should they be designated?
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hd_scania
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R: New EFI boot manager available: rEFInd

Postby hd_scania » Sat Jul 01, 2017 9:19 pm

Here, I have installed rEFInd 0.10.8 under my laptop from your SourceForge front pages, under the Buster (Debian), Sonya (Mint), Betsy (Mint), Rosa (Mint) repo, however NONE of the Mint repo are providing rEFInd and the Buster repo are only shipped with rEFInd 0.10.4, anyway thx SourceForge allowing to install software if not to be found inside the OS themselves and publish my developments with their Git repo. :)
https://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=242&t=254059&p=1367794#p1367794
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Other Debian derivatives: Kali, Devuan, Ubuntu.
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fabien85
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Re: New EFI boot manager available: rEFInd

Postby fabien85 » Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:56 pm

@hd_scania : refind is not part of the official Ubuntu or Mint repositories, however you can add the developer's PPA to get the same result, see http://www.rodsbooks.com/refind/installing.html#packagefile

I dont think Roderick Smith still reads this forum, so @mr_raider you probably wont get an answer unless someone else knowledgeable knows. Perso I think refind can boot anything that is readable with the EFI firmware. So for your partition, the way to find out would be to launch an EFI shell and see if you can read that partition (note that if the filesystem is not FAT, you will need to load an adapted EFI driver for that filesystem). That's all I'm able to say.

On another unrelated note, I have noticed a behaviour I'd like to report. I'm not sure if this will be useful to anybody but anyway.
On a Mac, you could previously install refind to an hfs+ partition, so that it would appear in macOS' startup manager (accessed via System Preferences > Startup Disk), and it would also appear in the boot manager (accessed pressing alt/option during boot). The former was a nice feature, allowing for instance to easily recover from a boot coup.
I have tried doing this on an external SSD dual-booting Mint and macOS Sierra (10.12). I found that refind can be blessed and does works as the default bootloader, it does appear in the boot manager, and it works to boot it, and it does appear graphically in the startup manager. However it seems you cannot use the macOS startup manager to (re)set refind as the bootloader. Everytime I select the refind option, I get the following error message by macOS :
You cannot modify the startup disk of the selected disk
The generation of the startup cache on the partition of the startup utility has failed

(translated into english)
I tried enabling/disabling the journaling on that refind hfs partition, but that didnt change anything. Following this stackexchange post (second comment below the first answer), this seems to be an issue that popped up with El Capitan (10.11).
I will report if I find a solution to this. But otherwise, this kills the interest of having refind on a separate hfs partition, you can as well put it on the ESP at the fallback location (EFI/BOOT/bootx64.efi) and you will get the same effect (i.e. refind appearing in the alt/option boot manager) in a simpler way.

mr_raider
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Re: New EFI boot manager available: rEFInd

Postby mr_raider » Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:16 pm

Yeah I figured it out. Nvme works with refind.
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Re: New EFI boot manager available: rEFInd

Postby Dngrsone » Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:26 pm

Well, I decided to give Kubuntu 17.10 a try, since it's been a few years since I've played with *buntu proper.

Now I have a mess: where previously I had four icons on my rEFInd splash: Win 10, Mint KDE 17.3, xfce 18, and Mint KDE 18.1; now I have eight icons. Of these four new boot options, I'm not really certain which is actually the correct one to boot straight into Kubuntu and which I can delete.

To make things even more entertaining, it seems like everything falls under the /boot/efi/EFI/Ubuntu folder (because let's not give Mint it's own identity...).

Does anyone have a tutorial on this kind of mess before I wade in and risk breaking things in a bad way?
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Re: New EFI boot manager available: rEFInd

Postby fabien85 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:54 am

tl;dr : update refind, remove grub

When you installed Kubuntu, you probably installed grub together with it.
The problem is that Mint and Kubuntu are riding on main-Ubuntu's grub, so they conflict together. I find best not to have grub at all, just let refind boot the kernel directly.
Also in the latest Ubuntu versions (and thus all the derivatives, Mint, Kubuntu...), new EFI programs have been included or renamed. For instance Mokmanager.efi (a utility to manage secure boot keys on PCs with secure boot enabled) has been renamed mmx64.efi. Refind <0.10.7 presents Mokmanager.efi in the tools section of its boot screen (second smaller row below the bootloader row), but does not know about mmx64.efi ; if you upgrade your refind to a version >=0.10.7 it will recognise mmx64.efi as a tool and put it on the corresponding row. Next, fwupx64.efi has been introduced by Ubuntu, that's a tool to update the firmware for some computers where the manufacturer cooperates with Linux. Refind <0.10.3 doesnt know about it either, but if you upgrade to a version >=0.10.3 it will put it in the tools list.
Next, you might have both a boot entry for shimx64.efi and grubx64.efi. Shim is an EFI program designed to comply with secure boot and chainload to grubx64.efi, ie it's unnecessary if secure boot is deactivated. And in general, if you can directly launch the kernel (/boot/vmlinuz-...) from refind, grub is unnecessary as well.
By editing /boot/efi/EFI/refind/refind.conf you can also blacklist specific files from appearing in your bootloader list.

So I suggest you update refind to the latest version, that will get rid of the EFI tools by putting them in the tool row. Then if you can boot the kernel directly, just uninstall grub-efi-amd64 using synaptic (or whatever package manager is provided by Kubuntu).
If there are still remaining boot entries that you dont know what they are, post their exact description here (also mention if there is a specific icon etc, all possible details) and we will try to see what they are and what to do with them.


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