Linux Fu: UEFI Booting | Hackaday

Linux Fu: UEFI Booting | Hackaday

Except if your pc is pretty previous, it likely takes advantage of UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) to boot. The concept is that a bootloader picks up documents from an EFI partition and works by using them to start out your operating process. If you use Home windows, you get Windows. If you use Linux, there’s a fantastic likelihood you are going to use Grub which may perhaps or may possibly not display you a menu. The difficulty with Grub is you have to do a good deal of configuration to get it to do distinct issues. Granted, distros like Ubuntu have resources that go as a result of and do a lot of the get the job done for you and if you are glad with that, there is no harm in working with Grub to boot and regulate many running units.

An alternate would be rEFInd, which is a good modern UEFI boot supervisor. If you are nonetheless booting via usual (legacy) BIOS, the installation may possibly be a hassle. But, in typical, rEFInd, once installed, just automatically picks up most things, like Home windows, Mac, and Linux running programs and kernels. The greatest explanations you may modify the configuration is if you want to hide some items you never treatment about or modify the visible theme.

Fundamental principles

A UEFI computer retailers boot information and facts in nonvolatile RAM. You can examine this and even make some adjustments employing the Linux utility efibootmgr:

$ efibootmgr
BootCurrent: 0004
Timeout: 1 seconds
BootOrder: 0004,0003,0001,0002,0005,0006
Boot0001* UEFI OS
Boot0002* UEFI:CD/DVD Generate
Boot0003* ubuntu
Boot0004* rEFInd Boot Manager
Boot0005* UEFI:Detachable Unit
Boot0006* UEFI:Network System

Usually, you will not want to instantly incorporate or delete factors utilizing this instrument, even while you can. Typically, your operating technique takes treatment of all that. Even so, it is a ache to select one particular partition in excess of the other if you, for example, boot Home windows and Linux. You can see from the higher than dump that I really do not do this, at least not on this personal computer. However, I do frequently boot from a removable disk or have numerous kernels or even working programs set up in distinctive locations.

Grub can handle all this, of training course. Especially if you use a distribution with a great deal of tools, they will scan, wanting for issues, and rebuild your grub configuration. But if that configuration ever goes terrible and you ignore to establish, appear out! Time to boot from a rescue disk, additional than very likely. Grub is the two a boot loader and a boot menu. But rEFInd is a boot menu manager only.

Professionals and Downsides

There are many good reasons you may decide for rEFInd. The major practical purpose is that it scans for bootable merchandise on each and every boot. It is also wonderful seeking and can help touchscreens and mice, but not both at the exact same time. There was an Inquire Ubuntu publish the place the writer of rEFInd detailed the execs and negatives among his code and Grub. His positive aspects checklist contain:

  • Scans for new kernels on every boot
  • Eye candy
  • Responsible booting fo Windows with secure boot lively
  • Able to start BIOS-method bootloaders
  • Ability to velocity up installs if you don’t set up Grub at all
  • Demanding enforcement of secure boot insurance policies

Of class, there are also some downsides. Grub is the “official” way to cope with issues for most distributions and you can presume distros and equipment will be compatible with it. It depends mainly on a one developer. Grub is simpler to use with networking, LVM, and RAID booting, despite the fact that these are attainable with rEFInd, too. Due to the fact rEFInd scans on every boot, there is a quick pause when you boot, of training course.

It is probable to have rEFInd boot into Grub, and that can be helpful occasionally, but in normal, you are going to want to use rEFInd rather of the Grub menus. Just one exception is if you want an crisis USB generate with rEFInd on it, that could be useful because it can largely configure alone.


If you use a distro that can manage Ubuntu PPAs, installing the system is uncomplicated.

sudo apt-increase-repository ppa:rodsmith/refind
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get set up refind

You can also locate specific guidance on installing in unique instances on the project’s site. Once you put in, you possibly do not have to do just about anything, but you may want to search the configuration file (one thing like /boot/efi/EFI/refind/refind.conf). There you can modify a couple of issues like timeouts, default kernel solutions, and the like. There are pretty a several choices, but most of them are commented out.

You can also make guide entries, a great deal like Grub. There are numerous examples in the default configuration file, but you will discover they all have the disabled search term in them, so you would remove that key phrase following producing adjustments to match you. You can also pick a text-based mostly method, the default display screen resolution, and other parameters. I adjusted the line to clearly show some applications (like reboot or boot into BIOS setup) that had been not on by default. In quite a few conditions, you won’t have to have any alterations at all.

If you see entries on the display you really don’t want, spotlight them and press the minus indicator. Never worry, you can control the “hidden tags” utilizing a menu if you transform your intellect later.

Be warned that even though the procedure does aid secure boot, if you use it, it may perhaps need a little tweaking. Here’s the excellent news. If it doesn’t work, just transform the boot order back to boot Grub initial and you can troubleshoot from there.


One particular enjoyment matter you can do is get unique themes for the software. These are just collections of artwork utilised as the banner and as icons for distinct distributions. For some explanation, the program did not mechanically pick up my Neon with the Neon symbol, even although it was present. My straightforward answer was to switch the default Tux penguin with a copy of the Neon logo.

I’ve examine that urgent F10 will screenshot rEFInd, but evidently, I really don’t have the latest version, so I experienced to depend on my phone to choose an aged-university screenshot. You can see why I altered the penguin emblem.


The instruments along the base permit you operate a memory test, or reboot and shut down. You can also launch an EFI shell or change the EFI boot buy.

Very low Hazard

Any time you dink with the booting of your laptop or computer, you are having a possibility. Even so, if you put in with Grub, you can usually leave it as an option from rEFInd. If you get in large problems, Grub is however there and you can boot from a rescue medium and use efibootmgr to select your default Grub setup. The documentation for rEFInd has a excellent writeup on what the creator calls “boot coups” when an operating process — searching at you, Windows — presumptively requires in excess of booting.

If you never twin boot, you can likely stick with Grub. It is great to have a far more modern day-hunting boot menu, but it isn’t that persuasive. But if you dual boot with Windows, Mac, or other EFI-capable working programs, or even if you modify kernels normally, you must actually examine out rEFInd.

For some specialised conditions, you may want to look at out a specialized fork of rEFInd, which features selected supplemental characteristics. You can uncover out a lot more about the dissimilarities on its residence website page.

If you want extra technological details on UEFI, here you go. Of course, as Scotty famously stated, “The extra they overthink the plumbing, the less complicated it is to stop up the drain.” UEFI is a significant attack goal, and it has been strike right before.