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#1 2013-06-13 22:23:21

tuttle
Member
Registered: 2013-06-13
Posts: 1

Do I need an UEFI-bootable USB to install UEFI-bootable Arch?

Hi,

I am completely new to Arch Linux having used Ubuntu for the last 4 years (only Windows before that time).

I have studied the wiki and searched the forum for almost a week now since I received my new Lenovo Thinkpad X230 which has firmware from the time that this model came out (Summer 2012).

It came with a pre-installed Windows 7 Pro, but I am not using this and I plan to nuke this OS entirely and run it in Linux on a vrtual computer (VBox).

[What I want:]

I want Arch Linux to boot using UEFI, and the harddisk is to be encrypted using LVM on LUKS with a backup of the LUKS header and also automatic backup f the entire drive on an encrypted external harddisk drive.

[Here is my problem:]

I am stuck at the very first step which is creating the install medium so that i can begin the actual installation procedure.

I have created an UEFI-bootable USB using both the procedure described in the WIki; both the simple transfer of files from the archlinux installation ISO file and, when that did not work, I tried the procedure overwriting bootx64.efi file with the .efi-file from the rEFInd package, again following the steps on how to make an UEFI-bootable USB.

I have tried to go through the installation procedure on a virtual machine before actually installing the system on my entire harddisk. I can explain what I did here, but that is besides the question that I want to ask in this thread.

[The question:]

[Do I need an UEFI-bootable USB to install UEFI-bootable Arch Linux installation?]

I have spent so much time trying to make the UEFI-bootable USB work, but the screen either turns blank, or I am shown the EFI shell. When in this shell I only have the knowledge to change to the USB drive and go tto the folder with the boot loader (or boot manager?), and when I simply type

SHELL> bootx64  ## Can't remember if I also wrote the .efi part of the filename

I just get a blank screen again.

Last edited by tuttle (2013-06-13 22:24:11)

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#2 2013-06-14 00:17:47

cfr
Member
From: Cymru
Registered: 2011-11-27
Posts: 5,675

Re: Do I need an UEFI-bootable USB to install UEFI-bootable Arch?

You do not need a UEFI bootable USB for Arch to install for UEFI boot. However, you do need some UEFI bootable USB (for Linux) but it could be e.g. Ubuntu rather than Arch. I can also think of a way to do it without that but I am not sure whether that would work as I've never done it. (Whereas I have installed Arch without a UEFI bootable Arch USB using one for Ubuntu at the last step.)

It is however much simpler to use a single Arch USB for the whole installation process. Moreover, I worry that if you have this problem with the UEFI USB, you'll have the problem after you install and try to boot Arch, as well. I think there have been some recent threads about this but I haven't been following them so I might be mistaken. Search the forums and have a look-see.

It would probably be good to tell us *exactly* what you did e.g. what commands you typed, what output you got. That way people can see if they can spot any mistakes.


How To Ask Questions The Smart Way | Help Vampires

Arch Linux | x86_64 | GPT | EFI boot | grub2 | systemd | LVM2 on LUKS
Lenovo x121e | Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-2367M CPU @ 1.40GHz GenuineIntel | Intel Centrino Wireless-N 1000 | US keyboard with Euro | 320G 7200 RPM Seagate HDD

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#3 2013-06-14 01:23:27

WonderWoofy
Member
From: Los Gatos, CA
Registered: 2012-05-19
Posts: 8,412

Re: Do I need an UEFI-bootable USB to install UEFI-bootable Arch?

This isn't totally true.  It would certianly be easier to get UEFI working by initially booting ito some Linux UEFI environment.  But you could also just put the boot manager or bootloader at \EFI\boot\bootx64.efi and configure it.  Then set the system to boot UEFI and choose the drive that has this ESP, and it will take you into that bootloader.  So assuming it is then configured correctly to boot your Linux, you're good to go.

What UEFI is required for is to have the necessary /sys directories avialable in the running system to create efibootmgr entries.  This is how you make a firmware boot manager entry for you Linux boot manager (so the firmware entry for grub-efi for example).  Though you can also make a firmware entry with bcfg in the UEFI Shell.  Some firmwares come with the UEFI shell installed on the system itself, and some require that you put it on your ESP yourself.  You could just put the UEFI Shell on the ESP as \EFI\boot\bootx64.efi and then just use bcfg to make a firmware entry also.

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#4 2013-06-14 21:53:28

cfr
Member
From: Cymru
Registered: 2011-11-27
Posts: 5,675

Re: Do I need an UEFI-bootable USB to install UEFI-bootable Arch?

Thanks, WonderWoofy. I wasn't sure if that would work. I've used it with grub when grub was already installed but I didn't know if it would install the rest if it found it could not create the boot entry. Obviously I realise you can use something other than grub but I was also not sure if all firmware would recognise a boot manager in the "default location" or only some of them. I had the impression it *sometimes* worked but not always depending on the firmware. (Then again, everything about UEFI seems to be in that category.)


How To Ask Questions The Smart Way | Help Vampires

Arch Linux | x86_64 | GPT | EFI boot | grub2 | systemd | LVM2 on LUKS
Lenovo x121e | Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-2367M CPU @ 1.40GHz GenuineIntel | Intel Centrino Wireless-N 1000 | US keyboard with Euro | 320G 7200 RPM Seagate HDD

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#5 2013-06-15 00:54:46

WonderWoofy
Member
From: Los Gatos, CA
Registered: 2012-05-19
Posts: 8,412

Re: Do I need an UEFI-bootable USB to install UEFI-bootable Arch?

Yeah, this is highly dependednt on the firmware, but he default location I believe is part of the UEFI spec.  I have heard of some machines defaulting the the M$ bootloader position though... which seems pretty horrible.

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#6 2013-06-15 01:31:11

srs5694
Member
From: Woonsocket, RI
Registered: 2012-11-06
Posts: 719
Website

Re: Do I need an UEFI-bootable USB to install UEFI-bootable Arch?

WonderWoofy wrote:

Yeah, this is highly dependednt on the firmware, but he default location I believe is part of the UEFI spec.  I have heard of some machines defaulting the the M$ bootloader position though... which seems pretty horrible.

You're right on both counts (the official fallback bootloader being EFI/BOOT/bootx64.efi on x86-64 and some implementations using EFI/Microsoft/Boot/bootmgfw.efi instead of or in addition to EFI/BOOT/bootx64.efi); however, this convention was originally intended only for removable media. I'm not sure which came first, but some manufacturers began applying the convention to hard disks and it was eventually added to the EFI spec. Thus, some computers -- especially ones with older EFIs -- might not honor the fallback boot loader position on hard disks. On such computers, you either have to get the boot loader registered with the NVRAM or you need to put a boot manager on a removable disk (floppy disk, USB flash drive, CD-R, etc.) using the fallback filename.

As a side note, honoring the fallback filename on hard disks, although a convenient way around firmware bugs, also opens a small Pandora's Box of problems. Most notably, it invites a contest between OSes to overwrite each others' boot loaders, much as happens on BIOS-based computers. This was one of the many BIOS problems that EFI was intended to leave behind -- but it looks like we're stuck with it for another 20 years....

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#7 2013-07-07 20:58:35

jones
Member
Registered: 2013-03-14
Posts: 86

Re: Do I need an UEFI-bootable USB to install UEFI-bootable Arch?

@tuttle

would you happen to have an update on the situation? smile

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