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#1 2022-11-30 00:14:13

Registered: 2022-03-16
Posts: 5

[SOLVED] Boot Partition has run out of space

I think I messed up at the beginning of my install process and will have to reinstall. I have been booting fine for 6 months or so but I started getting a notification on boot that the boot partition is low on space. Also gnome is warning me that the volume "boot" has only 2.0 KB disk space remaining (down from 4.7 MB before last update). Boot partition is the same one that windows had and is 157MB, shared with windows and grub.
I have tried to delete things that I don't need from the boot partition but it won't let me change anything. Which means that if I ever have issues booting I'll be majorly stuck since the boot sector won't let me alter it at this point.
I think I was misled, the only reason I am dual booting is that I read that the only way to update the dell firmware is through the dell app that runs in windows. I don't otherwise use windows.

Before installing Arch on this computer I tried NixOS. When I installed NixOS I followed some instructions that had me create a separate boot partition for Linux so that there were two boot partitions, one for windows and one for NixOS. This seemed to work fine and I didn't have any problems but when I installed Arch I followed the instructions in the wiki that said to only have one EFI partition and to not mess with the windows boot partition if dual booting. Hence the single, windows created boot partition at this point.

so the questions are
1 Is it bad to have more than one boot partition?
2 What is the best way to set up dual boot boot sector(s)?
3 Is dual boot necessary to maintain security through updating firmware with windows software?

Thank you for your time!

Last edited by archoo (2022-12-01 18:48:17)

Would you happen to have a tissue?


#2 2022-11-30 00:47:14

Inspector Parrot
Registered: 2011-11-29
Posts: 29,374

Re: [SOLVED] Boot Partition has run out of space

archoo wrote:

... but it won't let me change anything.

You're going to have to elaborate on that.  Why won't it.  And what is the "it" that will not let you?  What's the actual command and error message?

As for your questions:

1) You cannot have more than one efi partition.  But you can have a separate boot (partition or directory) and efi partition.  You do not need to mount the esp on /boot (I prefer to and I think it simplifies many things, but it's not required).

2) Huh?  It sounds like you are mixing concepts / terms from uefi and legacy bios.  This is a uefi system, right?

3) Not in my opinion.  I nuke windows on every machine I own and have never had any reason to want to use a windows-only update tool for anything.

Last edited by Trilby (2022-11-30 05:43:02)

"UNIX is simple and coherent..." - Dennis Ritchie, "GNU's Not UNIX" -  Richard Stallman


#3 2022-11-30 01:35:49

From: Cymru
Registered: 2011-11-27
Posts: 7,129

Re: [SOLVED] Boot Partition has run out of space

1) The UEFI specification says one EFI partition and only one. I have only ever had one and, on my last machine, one was more than enough trouble. However, some firmware will apparently tolerate multiple EFI partitions on different disks. As Trilby suggested, you can move stuff to another non-EFI partition if you use an appropriate boot loader and partition type.  Note that 157M is non-compliant with the spec anyway. An EFI should be fat32 and, hence, at least 512M and some firmware won't boot with smaller. UEFI implementations are flaky, temperamental, highly variable and predictably unpredictable.

2) Have the boot loader of your choice load your kernel and initramfs from a different partition. (Doesn't have to be a separate boot partition - could be just /boot on your root partition.) You will want to mount your ESP somewhere else in that case. Alternatively, abandon Windows and you can make your ESP as large as you like.

3) I nuked Windows without booting on my previous laptop and this one. I would do the same again. *But* I bought machines I could update without Windows. Whether you can update the firmware without Windows is entirely in the gift of your laptop manufacturer. For my previous machine, I had to borrow a CD drive and get IT to burn the firmware CD on Windows. Now, I just use fwupd in Linux. Personally, I'd be less worried about security and more worried about issues a firmware update might resolve. Last year, an update solved a thermal sensor issue which only manifested with an updated kernel and this was not a new machine. So even if you don't need a fix in Linux now, you might in a year or three. It is also possible I am just clueless about the security risk, but since I have disabled most of the Linux-hostile security features in firmware, I don't know how much it could matter.

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#4 2022-12-01 18:47:40

Registered: 2022-03-16
Posts: 5

Re: [SOLVED] Boot Partition has run out of space

Thank you both, very helpful!

Would you happen to have a tissue?


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