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Revision as of 15:43, 24 February 2018 by Nl6720 (talk | contribs) (Revert. #Scripted installation means using refind-install SCRIPT, manually copying rEFInd files belongs to #Manual installation, refind.conf editing belongs to #Configuration.)
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rEFInd is a UEFI boot manager capable of launching EFISTUB kernels. It is a fork of the no-longer-maintained rEFIt and fixes many issues with respect to non-Mac UEFI booting. It is designed to be platform-neutral and to simplify booting multiple OSes.

Note: In the entire article esp denotes the mountpoint of the EFI System Partition aka ESP.


Install the refind-efi package.

rEFInd has read-only drivers for ReiserFS, Ext2, Ext4, Btrfs, ISO-9660, HFS+, and NTFS. Additionally rEFInd can use drivers from the UEFI firmware i.e. FAT (or HFS+ on Macs or ISO-9660 on some systems).

Note: Your kernel and initramfs need to reside on a file system which rEFInd can read.

To find additional drivers see The rEFInd Boot Manager: Using EFI Drivers: Finding Additional EFI Drivers.

Scripted installation

The rEFInd package includes the refind-install script to simplify the process of setting rEFInd as your default EFI boot entry. The script has several options for handling differing setups and UEFI implementations. See refind-install(8). For many systems it should be sufficient to simply run:

# refind-install

This will attempt to find and mount your ESP, copy rEFInd files to esp/EFI/refind/, and use efibootmgr to make rEFInd the default EFI boot application.

Alternatively you can install rEFInd to the default/fallback boot path esp/EFI/BOOT/bootx64.efi. This is helpful for bootable USB flash drives or on systems that have issues with the NVRAM changes made by efibootmgr:

# refind-install --usedefault /dev/sdXY

Where /dev/sdXY is the partition of your ESP.

You can read the comments in the install script for explanations of the various installation options.

Note: By default refind-install installs only the driver for the file system on which kernel resides. Additional file systems need to be installed manually or you can install all drivers with the --alldrivers option. This is useful for bootable USB flash drives e.g.:
# refind-install --usedefault /dev/sdXY --alldrivers

After installing rEFInd's files to the ESP, verify that rEFInd has created refind_linux.conf containing the required kernel parameters (e.g. root=) in the same directory as your kernel. If it has not created this file, you will need to set up #Passing kernel parameters manually or you will most likely get a kernel panic on your next boot.

By default, rEFInd will scan all of your drives (that it has drivers for) and add a boot entry for each EFI bootloader it finds, which should include your kernel (since Arch enables EFISTUB by default). So you may have a bootable system at this point.

Tip: It is always a good idea to edit the default config esp/EFI/refind/refind.conf to ensure that the default options work for you.
Warning: When refind-install is run in chroot (e.g. in live system when installing Arch Linux) /boot/refind_linux.conf is populated with kernel options from the live system not the one on which it is installed. You need to adjust kernel options in /boot/refind_linux.conf manually.

Secure Boot

See Managing Secure Boot for Secure Boot support in rEFInd.

Using PreLoader

See Secure Boot#Set up PreLoader to acquire signed PreLoader.efi and HashTool.efi binaries.

Execute refind-install with the option --preloader /path/to/preloader

# refind-install --preloader /usr/share/preloader-signed/PreLoader.efi

Next time you boot with Secure Boot enabled, HashTool will launch and you will need to enrol the hash of rEFInd (loader.efi), rEFInd's drivers (e.g. ext4_x64.efi) and kernel.

See refind-install(8) for more information.

Tip: The signed HashTool is only capable of accessing the partition it was launched from. This means if your kernel is not on the ESP, you will not be able to enrol its hash from HashTool. You can workaround this by using #KeyTool, since it is capable of enrolling a hash in MokList and is not limited to one partition. Remember to enrol KeyTool's hash before before using it.
Using shim

Install shim-signedAUR. Read Secure Boot#shim, but skip all file copying.

To use only hashes with shim, execute refind-install with the option --shim /path/to/shim

# refind-install --shim /usr/share/shim-signed/shimx64.efi

Next time you boot with Secure Boot enabled, MokManager will launch and you will need to enrol the hash of rEFInd (grubx64.efi), rEFInd's drivers (e.g. ext4_x64.efi) and kernel.

To sign rEFInd with a Machine Owner Key, install sbsigntools.

Tip: If you already have created a MOK, place the files in the directory /etc/refind.d/keys with the names refind_local.key, refind_local.crt and refind_local.cer.

Execute refind-install with the options --shim /path/to/shim and --localkeys:

# refind-install --shim /usr/share/shim-signed/shimx64.efi --localkeys

refind-install will create the keys for you and sign itself and its drivers. You will need to sign the kernel with the same key, e.g.:

# sbsign --key /etc/refind.d/keys/refind_local.key --cert /etc/refind.d/keys/refind_local.crt --output /boot/vmlinuz-linux /boot/vmlinuz-linux

Once in MokManager add refind_local.cer to MoKList. refind_local.cer can be found inside a directory called keys in the rEFInd's installation directory, e.g. esp/EFI/refind/keys/refind_local.cer.

See refind-install(8) for more information.

Using your own keys

Follow Secure Boot#Using your own keys to create keys.

Create directory /etc/refind.d/keys and place Signature Database (db) key and certificates in it. Name the files: refind_local.key, refind_local.crt and refind_local.cer.

When running install script add option --localkeys, e.g.:

# refind-install --localkeys

rEFInd EFI binary will be signed with supplied key and certificate.

Manual installation

Tip: rEFInd can boot Linux in many ways. See The rEFInd Boot Manager: Methods of Booting Linux for coverage of the various approaches.

If the refind-install script does not work for you, rEFInd can be set up manually.

First, copy the executable to the ESP:

# mkdir -p esp/EFI/refind
# cp /usr/share/refind/refind_x64.efi esp/EFI/refind/
Tip: If you want to install rEFInd to the default/fallback boot path, copy rEFInd executable to esp/EFI/BOOT/bootx64.efi:
# mkdir -p esp/EFI/BOOT
# cp /usr/share/refind/refind_x64.efi esp/EFI/BOOT/bootx64.efi

Replace esp/EFI/refind/ with esp/EFI/BOOT/ in the following instructions.

Then use efibootmgr to create a boot entry in the UEFI NVRAM, where /dev/sdX and Y are the device and partition number of your ESP. If you are installing rEFInd to the default UEFI path esp/EFI/BOOT/bootx64.efi, you can skip this step.

# efibootmgr --create --disk /dev/sdX --part Y --loader /EFI/refind/refind_x64.efi --label "rEFInd Boot Manager"

At this point, you should be able to reboot into rEFInd, but it will not be able to boot your kernel. If your kernel does not reside on your ESP, rEFInd can mount your partitions to find it - provided it has the right drivers.

rEFInd automatically loads all drivers from the subdirectories drivers and drivers_arch (e.g. drivers_x64) in its install directory.

# mkdir esp/EFI/refind/drivers_x64
# cp /usr/share/refind/drivers_x64/drivername_x64.efi esp/EFI/refind/drivers_x64/

Now rEFInd should have a boot entry for your kernel, but it will not pass the correct kernel parameters. Set up #Passing kernel parameters. You should now be able to boot your kernel using rEFInd. If you are still unable to boot or if you want to tweak rEFInd's settings, many options can be changed with a config file:

# cp /usr/share/refind/refind.conf-sample esp/EFI/refind/refind.conf

The sample config is well commented and self-explanatory.

Unless you have set textonly in the config file, you should copy rEFInd's icons to get rid of the ugly placeholders:

# cp -r /usr/share/refind/icons esp/EFI/refind/

You can try out different fonts by copying them and changing the font setting in refind.conf:

# cp -r /usr/share/refind/fonts esp/EFI/refind/
Tip: Pressing F10 in rEFInd will save a screenshot to the top level directory of the ESP.


Pacman updates the rEFInd files in /usr/share/refind/ and will not copy new files to the ESP for you. If refind-install worked for your original installation of rEFInd, you can rerun it to copy the updated files. The new config file will be copied as refind.conf-sample so that you can integrate changes into your config file using a diff tool. If your rEFInd required #Manual installation, you will need to figure out which files to copy yourself.

Pacman hook

You can automate the update process using a pacman hook:


Description = Updating rEFInd on ESP

Where the Exec= may need to be changed to the correct update command for your setup. If you did #Manual installation, you could create your own update script to call with the hook.


The rEFInd configuration refind.conf is located in the same directory as the rEFInd EFI application (usually esp/EFI/refind or esp/EFI/BOOT). The default config contains extensive comments explaining all its options, see Configuring the Boot Manager for more detailed explanations.

Passing kernel parameters

There are two methods for setting the kernel parameters that rEFInd will pass to the kernel.

Tango-view-fullscreen.pngThis article or section needs expansion.Tango-view-fullscreen.png

Reason: Add "Full auto detection" using Discoverable Partitions Specification and /etc/fstab reading. (Discuss in Talk:REFInd#)

For kernels automatically detected by rEFInd

If rEFInd automatically detects your kernel, you can place a refind_linux.conf file containing the kernel parameters in the same directory as your kernel. You can use /usr/share/refind/refind_linux.conf-sample as a starting point. The first uncommented line of refind_linux.conf will be the default parameters for the kernel. Subsequent lines will create entries in a submenu accessible using +, F2, or Insert.

"Boot using default options"     "root=PARTUUID=XXXXXXXX rw add_efi_memmap"
"Boot using fallback initramfs"  "root=PARTUUID=XXXXXXXX rw add_efi_memmap initrd=/boot/initramfs-linux-fallback.img"
"Boot to terminal"               "root=PARTUUID=XXXXXXXX rw add_efi_memmap"

Alternatively, try running:

# mkrlconf

Which will attempt to find your kernel in /boot and automatically generate refind_linux.conf. The script will only set up the most basic kernel parameters, so be sure to check the file it created for correctness.

If you do not specify an initrd= parameter, rEFInd will automatically add it by searching for common RAM disk filenames in the same directory as the kernel. If you need multiple initrd= parameters, you must specify them manually in refind_linux.conf. For example, a Microcode passed before the initramfs: ... initrd=/boot/intel-ucode.img initrd=/boot/initramfs-linux.img.

Warning: initrd path is relative to the root of the file system on which the kernel resides. This could be initrd=/boot/initramfs-linux.img or, if ESP is mounted to /boot, initrd=/initramfs-linux.img.

For rEFInd to properly match multiple kernels with their respective initramfs you must uncomment and edit extra_kernel_version_strings option in refind.conf. E.g.:

extra_kernel_version_strings linux-hardened,linux-zen,linux-lts,linux

Manual boot stanzas

If your kernel is not autodetected, or if you simply want more control over the options for a menu entry, you can manually create boot entries using stanzas in refind.conf. Ensure that scanfor includes manual or these entries will not appear in rEFInd's menu. Kernel parameters are set with the options keyword. rEFInd will append the initrd= parameter using the file specified by the initrd keyword in the stanza. If you need additional initrds (e.g. for Microcode), you can specify them in options (and the one specified by the initrd keyword will be added to the end).

Manual boot stanzas are explained in Creating Manual Boot Stanzas.


menuentry "Arch Linux" {
	icon     /EFI/refind/icons/os_arch.png
	volume   "Arch Linux"
	loader   /boot/vmlinuz-linux
	initrd   /boot/initramfs-linux.img
	options  "root=PARTUUID=XXXXXXXX rw add_efi_memmap"
	submenuentry "Boot using fallback initramfs" {
		initrd /boot/initramfs-linux-fallback.img
	submenuentry "Boot to terminal" {
		add_options ""

It is likely that you will need to change volume to match either a filesystem's LABEL, a PARTLABEL, or a PARTUUID of the partition where the kernel image resides. See Persistent block device naming#by-label for examples of assigning a volume label. If volume is not specified it defaults to volume from which rEFInd was launched (typically EFI System Partition).

Warning: loader and initrd paths are relative to the root of volume.

Installation alongside an existing UEFI Windows installation

Note: The usual caveats of Dual boot with Windows apply.

rEFInd is compatible with the EFI system partition created by a UEFI Windows installation, so there is no need to create or format another FAT32 partition when installing Arch alongside Windows. Simply mount the existing ESP and install rEFInd as usual. By default, rEFInd's autodetection feature should recognize any existing Windows/recovery bootloaders.


Tango-go-next.pngThis article or section is a candidate for moving to Unified Extensible Firmware Interface.Tango-go-next.png

Notes: Although rEFInd has a special interface for these common tools, they are not a feature of rEFInd. (Discuss in Talk:REFInd#)

rEFInd supports running various 3rd-party tools. Tools need to be installed separately. Edit showtools in refind.conf to choose which ones to show.

showtools shell, memtest, mok_tool, gdisk, netboot, ...

UEFI shell

See Unified Extensible Firmware Interface#UEFI Shell.

Copy shellx64.efi to the root of the EFI System Partition.


Install memtest86-efiAUR and copy it to esp/EFI/tools/.

# cp /usr/share/memtest86-efi/bootx64.efi esp/EFI/tools/memtest86.efi

Key management tools

rEFInd can detect Secure Boot key management tools if they are placed in rEFInd's directory on ESP, esp/ or esp/EFI/tools/.


Follow #Using PreLoader and HashTool.efi will be placed in rEFInd's directory.


Follow #Using shim and MokManager will be placed in rEFInd's directory.


Install efitools.

Place KeyTool EFI binary in esp/ or esp/EFI/tools/ with the name KeyTool.efi or KeyTool-signed.efi.

See Secure Boot#Using KeyTool for instructions on signing KeyTool.efi.

GPT fdisk (gdisk)

There is no package for the EFI version of gdisk, but you can download a binary from gdisk's author.

Download gdisk-efi-*.zip from SourceForge, extract the archive, and copy gdisk_x64.efi to esp/EFI/tools.


Tango-view-refresh-red.pngThis article or section is out of date.Tango-view-refresh-red.png

Reason: iPXE is not packaged in refind-efi anymore. (Discuss in Talk:REFInd#)
Note: PXE support in rEFInd is experimental.

refind-efi contains the iPXE UEFI binaries, you just need to copy them to esp/EFI/tools/.

# cp /usr/share/refind/tools_x64/ipxe_discovery_x64.efi esp/EFI/tools/ipxe_discovery.efi
# cp /usr/share/refind/tools_x64/ipxe_x64.efi esp/EFI/tools/ipxe.efi

Tips and tricks

Using drivers in UEFI shell

To use rEFInd's drivers in UEFI shell load them using command load and refresh mapped drives with map -r.

Shell> load FS0:\EFI\refind\drivers\ext4_x64.efi
Shell> map -r

Now you can access your file system from UEFI shell.


Btrfs subvolume support

Auto detection

To allow kernel auto detection on a Btrfs subvolume uncomment and edit also_scan_dirs in refind.conf.

also_scan_dirs subvolume/boot

Next add subvol=subvolume to rootflags in refind_linux.conf and then prepend subvolume to the initrd path.

"Boot using standard options"  "root=PARTUUID=XXXXXXXX rootflags=rw,subvol=subvolume initrd=subvolume/boot/initramfs-linux.img"

Manual boot stanza

If booting a btrfs subvolume as root, amend the options line with rootflags=subvol=<root subvolume>. In the example below, root has been mounted as a btrfs subvolume called 'ROOT' (e.g. mount -o subvol=ROOT /dev/sdxY /mnt):

menuentry "Arch Linux" {
        icon     /EFI/refind/icons/os_arch.png
        volume   "Arch Linux"
        loader   /boot/vmlinuz-linux
        initrd   /boot/initramfs-linux.img
        options  "root=PARTUUID=XXXXXXXX rw rootflags=subvol=ROOT"

A failure to do so will otherwise result in the following error message: ERROR: Root device mounted successfully, but /sbin/init does not exist.

Apple Macs

mactel-bootAUR is an experimental "bless" utility for Linux. If that does not work, use "bless" from within OSX to set rEFInd as the default boot entry:

# bless --setBoot --folder esp/EFI/refind --file esp/EFI/refind/refind_x64.efi


Currently, VirtualBox will only boot the default esp/EFI/BOOT/bootx64.efi path, so refind-install needs to be used with at least the --usedefault option. See VirtualBox#Installation in EFI mode for more information.

See also