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#1 2019-09-26 18:26:55

Xi0N
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From: Bilbao - Spain
Registered: 2007-11-29
Posts: 812
Website

Installing on USB - Trying to make it compatible with BIOS and UEFI

I've been searching and found a couple posts that talk about how to achieve this, but i still don't get it quite clear.

My idea is to have a bootable USB that I can carry around and use on multiple different computers: SOme of them BIOS, some other UEFI ones.
At first, I thought of making it BIOS, but you can't get it to boot atr all when the computer is UEFI only.

So, arch install ISO comes to mind: I think it's the most compatible one and AFAIK, does not need to disable secure boot.
How can one achieve this for a USB installation?

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#2 2019-09-26 18:54:33

V1del
Forum Moderator
Registered: 2012-10-16
Posts: 7,635

Re: Installing on USB - Trying to make it compatible with BIOS and UEFI

The Arch ISO needs you to disable secureboot. And read https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Mu … T/MBR_boot

Last edited by V1del (2019-09-26 18:54:48)

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#3 2019-09-26 20:04:52

Roken
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From: UK
Registered: 2012-01-16
Posts: 968

Re: Installing on USB - Trying to make it compatible with BIOS and UEFI

Xi0N wrote:

My idea is to have a bootable USB that I can carry around and use on multiple different computers: Some of them BIOS, some other UEFI ones.
At first, I thought of making it BIOS, but you can't get it to boot atr all when the computer is UEFI only.

I only have my own experience to go on, but I have two USB HDs, both booting to Arch (one boots a basic arch and then launches virtualbox, whilst the other boots a full portable desktop). Both are BIOS boot drives, and both boot just fine on my UEFI only desktop.

What bootloader are you using. I found GRUB problematic, but syslinux works with no issues.


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#4 2019-09-27 03:38:36

Scimmia
Bug Wrangler
Registered: 2012-09-01
Posts: 7,293

Re: Installing on USB - Trying to make it compatible with BIOS and UEFI

Set it up GPT with an ESP. install UEFI bootloader. Install BIOS bootloader. Done.

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#5 2019-09-27 03:56:02

Xi0N
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From: Bilbao - Spain
Registered: 2007-11-29
Posts: 812
Website

Re: Installing on USB - Trying to make it compatible with BIOS and UEFI

Roken wrote:
Xi0N wrote:

My idea is to have a bootable USB that I can carry around and use on multiple different computers: Some of them BIOS, some other UEFI ones.
At first, I thought of making it BIOS, but you can't get it to boot atr all when the computer is UEFI only.

I only have my own experience to go on, but I have two USB HDs, both booting to Arch (one boots a basic arch and then launches virtualbox, whilst the other boots a full portable desktop). Both are BIOS boot drives, and both boot just fine on my UEFI only desktop.

What bootloader are you using. I found GRUB problematic, but syslinux works with no issues.

My idea was to go with GRUB for BIOS and systemd for UEFI, but I guess I'l look into syslinux better.

I want to use btrfs on top of LUKS for the whole device except the boot partition.

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#6 2019-09-27 03:56:34

Xi0N
Member
From: Bilbao - Spain
Registered: 2007-11-29
Posts: 812
Website

Re: Installing on USB - Trying to make it compatible with BIOS and UEFI

Scimmia wrote:

Set it up GPT with an ESP. install UEFI bootloader. Install BIOS bootloader. Done.

Any particular bootloader?

@V1del Thanks for the tip!!!

Last edited by Xi0N (2019-09-27 03:57:14)

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#7 2019-09-27 09:41:37

Lone_Wolf
Member
From: Netherlands, Europe
Registered: 2005-10-04
Posts: 7,299

Re: Installing on USB - Trying to make it compatible with BIOS and UEFI

Scimmia wrote:

Set it up GPT with an ESP.

Older BIOS using systems can't handle GPT drives.


Xi0N, do you expect to use this usb drive on systems manufactured before 2010 AND is it smaller then 2 TiB ?

If yes, going for an EFI System Partition on a MBR formatted disk is a better choice.
https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/EF … oned_disks

I can verify you can boot UEFI that way (for personal reasons I don't use GPT.)


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#8 2019-09-27 14:10:36

Scimmia
Bug Wrangler
Registered: 2012-09-01
Posts: 7,293

Re: Installing on USB - Trying to make it compatible with BIOS and UEFI

Lone_Wolf wrote:
Scimmia wrote:

Set it up GPT with an ESP.

Older BIOS using systems can't handle GPT drives.

There are a few, but most of them aren't older; most BIOS systems don't read the partition table at all, it wasn't until the end of BIOS's life that some firmwares decided to start checking the partition table for no good reason.

Easily worked around with a hybrid MBR setup.

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#9 2019-09-27 16:23:51

Xi0N
Member
From: Bilbao - Spain
Registered: 2007-11-29
Posts: 812
Website

Re: Installing on USB - Trying to make it compatible with BIOS and UEFI

Lone_Wolf wrote:
Scimmia wrote:

Set it up GPT with an ESP.

Older BIOS using systems can't handle GPT drives.


Xi0N, do you expect to use this usb drive on systems manufactured before 2010 AND is it smaller then 2 TiB ?

If yes, going for an EFI System Partition on a MBR formatted disk is a better choice.
https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/EF … oned_disks

I can verify you can boot UEFI that way (for personal reasons I don't use GPT.)

The disk is going to be 16 Gb, it's a kingston key.
And I hope I don't have to boot anything older than 2010, yeah

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