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Friday, July 31, 2015

ArchLinux UEFI and Dell XPS 2015

unrelated important thing first: I am blogging on my own website too, you can read my very first public entry in there!
I will keep posting here less web-centric related issues, or mostly rants, and will post there interesting stuff about HTML5, JavaScript, client/server and Mobile Web development ... now, back to the topic ...

archibold and my Dell XPS Developer Edition

So they changed my motherboard today, it suddenly stopped recognizing the Hard Drive, and even trying other drives didn't work at all.
Kudos to Dell for their assistance: the day after a person with already all necessary pieces arrived at my door and substituted the Motherboard with a very quiet and professional attitude.
... when I've asked assistance for a Lenovo Yoga Pro 3 they never even come back ...

If you've never heard about archibold, it's an installer which aim is to simplify ArchLinux and, optionally, GNOME configuration. Since I already backed up my Dell, and even if it was working like a charm, I've decided to erase it and see if I could make it work via UEFI.
Apparently this BIOS could be quite problematic and while efibootmgr seems to work without problems, it actually doesn't: it puts the EFI label into the list of Legacy boot-able devices so it won't work!

Not only the boot manager

If you have tried my installer before, I suggested to use UEFI=NO and enable Legacy mode on the bios. This was because not only I couldn't figure out how to install via UEFI, but I was using genfstab generated /etc/fstab during the installation and it was storing wrong UUIDs.

Finally Managed to install with UEFI boot!

The TL;DR story is that if you have an EFI partition created through gparted, and you have Syslinux on it, you should go in the part of the bios where you can add UEFI partitions manually, selecting syslinux/syslinux.efi file to boot from.

I know this sucks, but it's something you eventually do "once in a lifetime" so I believe it's OK.
Another setting change I made was the following one: disable secure boot and be sure legacy is off.