Difference between revisions of "Unified Extensible Firmware Interface"

From ArchWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
(Add info about Peter Jones'f fork of efibootmgr)
(Userspace Tools)
Line 328: Line 328:
 
There are few tools that can access/modify the UEFI variables, namely
 
There are few tools that can access/modify the UEFI variables, namely
  
# efivar - Library and Tool to manipulate UEFI Variables - https://github.com/vathpela/efivar - {{Pkg|efivar}} or {{AUR|efivar-git}}
+
# '''efivar''' - Library and Tool to manipulate UEFI Variables - https://github.com/vathpela/efivar - {{Pkg|efivar}} or {{AUR|efivar-git}}
# Ubuntu's Firmware Test Suite - - {{AUR|fwts}} along with {{AUR|fwts-efi-runtime-dkms}} or {{AUR|fwts-git}}
+
# '''Ubuntu's Firmware Test Suite''' - https://wiki.ubuntu.com/FirmwareTestSuite/ - {{AUR|fwts}} (along with {{AUR|fwts-efi-runtime-dkms}}) or {{AUR|fwts-git}}
# uefivars - Dumps list of EFI variables with some additional PCI related info - uses efibootmgr code internally - https://github.com/fpmurphy/Various/tree/master/uefivars-2.0 supports only efivarfs and https://github.com/fpmurphy/Various/tree/master/uefivars-1.0 supports only sysfs-efivars . AUR package {{AUR|uefivars-git}} builds from uefivars-1.0 code.
+
# '''uefivars''' - Dumps list of EFI variables with some additional PCI related info (uses efibootmgr code internally) - https://github.com/fpmurphy/Various/tree/master/uefivars-2.0 supports only efivarfs and https://github.com/fpmurphy/Various/tree/master/uefivars-1.0 supports only sysfs-efivars . AUR package {{AUR|uefivars-git}} builds from uefivars-1.0 code.
# efibootmgr - Tool to manipulate UEFI Firmware Boot Manager Settings. Upstream efibootmgr code supports only sysfs-efivars ({{Pkg|efibootmgr}} or {{AUR|efibootmgr-git}}). A fork of efibootmgr by Fedora's Peter Jones, uses the {{Pkg|efivar}} library and supports both efivarfs and sysfs-efivars. It also contains many bug fixes and is recommended over the upstream efibootmgr code - https://github.com/vathpela/efibootmgr/tree/libefivars or {{AUR|efibootmgr-pjones-git}}.
+
# '''efibootmgr''' - Tool to manipulate UEFI Firmware Boot Manager Settings. Upstream efibootmgr code supports only sysfs-efivars ({{Pkg|efibootmgr}} or {{AUR|efibootmgr-git}}). A fork of efibootmgr by Fedora's Peter Jones, uses the {{Pkg|efivar}} library and supports both efivarfs and sysfs-efivars. It also contains many bug fixes and is recommended over the upstream efibootmgr code - https://github.com/vathpela/efibootmgr/tree/libefivars or {{AUR|efibootmgr-pjones-git}}.
  
 
=== efibootmgr ===
 
=== efibootmgr ===

Revision as of 07:37, 9 September 2013

Summary help replacing me
An overview of the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface.
Overview
Template:Boot process overview
Related
GUID Partition Table
Master Boot Record
Arch Boot Process

Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (or UEFI for short) is a new type of firmware that was initially designed by Intel (known as EFI then) mainly for its Itanium based systems. It introduces new ways of booting an OS that is distinct from the commonly used "MBR boot code" method followed for BIOS systems. It started as Intel's EFI in versions 1.x and then a group of companies called the UEFI Forum took over its development from which it was called Unified EFI starting with version 2.0 . As of 24 July 2013, UEFI Specification 2.4 (released July 11, 2013) is the most recent version.

Note: Unless specified as EFI 1.x , EFI and UEFI terms are used interchangeably to denote UEFI 2.x firmware. Also unless stated explicitly, these instructions are general and some of them may not work or may be different in Macs. Apple's EFI implementation is neither a EFI 1.x version nor UEFI 2.x version but mixes up both. This kind of firmware does not fall under any one UEFI Specification version and therefore it is not a standard UEFI firmware.

Before understanding UEFI, it is important to understand how the pre-UEFI (BIOS) systems boot. This is explained in subsequent sections.

BIOS

A BIOS or Basic Input-Output System is the very first program (firmware) that is executed once the system is switched on. In most cases it is stored in a flash memory in the motherboard itself and independent of the system storage.

Boot Process under BIOS

  1. System switched on - Power On Self Test, or POST process
  2. After POST BIOS initializes the necessary system hardware for booting (disk, keyboard controllers etc.)
  3. BIOS launches the first 440 bytes (MBR boot code region) of the first disk in the BIOS disk order
  4. The MBR boot code then takes control from BIOS and launches its next stage code (if any) (mostly bootloader code)
  5. The launched (2nd stage) code (actual bootloader) then reads its support and config files
  6. Based on the data in its config files, the bootloader loads the kernel and initramfs into system memory (RAM) and launches the kernel

Multibooting in BIOS

Since very little can be achieved by a program that fits into the 440-byte boot code area, multi-booting using BIOS requires a multi-boot capable bootloader (multi-boot refers to booting multiple operating systems, not to booting a kernel in the Multiboot format specified by the GRUB developers). So usually a common bootloader like GRUB or Syslinux or LILO would be loaded by the BIOS, and it would load an operating system by either chain-loading or directly loading the kernel.

UEFI

UEFI has support for reading both the partition table as well as understanding filesystems. Hence it is not limited by 440 byte code limitation (MBR boot code) as in BIOS systems. It does not use the MBR boot code at all.

The commonly used UEFI firmwares support both MBR and GPT partition table. EFI in Apple-Intel Macs are known to also support Apple Partition Map besides MBR and GPT. Most UEFI firmwares have support for accessing FAT12 (floppy disks), FAT16 and FAT32 filesystems in HDDs and ISO9660 (and UDF) in CD/DVDs. EFI in Apple-Intel Macs can access HFS/HFS+ filesystems also apart from the mentioned ones.

UEFI does not launch any boot code in the MBR whether it exists or not. Instead it uses a special partition in the partition table called EFI SYSTEM PARTITION in which files required to be launched by the firmware are stored. Each vendor can store its files under <EFI SYSTEM PARTITION>/EFI/<VENDOR NAME>/ folder and can use the firmware or its shell (UEFI shell) to launch the boot program. An EFI System Partition is usually formatted as FAT32.

Under UEFI, every program whether it is an OS loader or a utility (e.g. a memory testing app or recovery tool), should be a UEFI Application corresponding to the EFI firmware bitness/architecture. The vast majority of UEFI firmwares, including recent Apple Macs, use x86_64 EFI firmware. The only known devices that use IA32 (32-bit) EFI are older (pre 2008) Apple Macs, some recent Intel Cloverfield ultrabooks and some older Intel Server boards are known to operate on Intel EFI 1.10 firmware

An x86_64 EFI firmware does not include support for launching 32-bit EFI apps (unlike x86_64 Linux and Windows versions which include such support). Therefore the UEFI application must be compiled for that specific firmware processor bitness/architecture.

Boot Process under UEFI

  1. System switched on - Power On Self Test, or POST process.
  2. UEFI firmware is loaded. Firmware initializes the hardware required for booting.
  3. Firmware then reads its Boot Manager data to determine which UEFI application to be launched and from where (i.e. from which disk and partition).
  4. Firmware then launches the UEFI application as defined in the boot entry in the firmware's boot manager.
  5. The launched UEFI application may launch another application (in case of UEFI Shell or a boot manager like rEFInd) or the kernel and initramfs (in case of a bootloader like GRUB) depending on how the UEFI application was configured.
Note: On some UEFI systems the only possible way to launch UEFI application on boot (if it doesn't have custom entry in UEFI boot menu) is to put it in this fixed location: <EFI SYSTEM PARTITION>/EFI/boot/bootx64.efi (for 64-bit x86 system)

Multibooting in UEFI

Since each OS or vendor can maintain its own files within the EFI SYSTEM PARTITION without affecting the other, multi-booting using UEFI is just a matter of launching a different UEFI application corresponding to the particular OS's bootloader. This removes the need for relying on chainloading mechanisms of one bootloader to load another to switch OSes.

Booting Microsoft Windows

64-bit Windows Vista (SP1+), Windows 7 and Windows 8 versions support booting using x86_64 EFI firmware. Windows forces type of partitioning depending on the firmware used, i.e. if Windows is booted in UEFI mode, it can be installed only to a GPT disk. If the Windows is booted in Legacy BIOS mode, it can be installed only to a MBR disk. This is a limitation enforced by Windows installer. Thus Windows supports either UEFI-GPT boot or BIOS-MBR boot only, not UEFI-MBR or BIOS-GPT boot.

This limitation is not enforced by Linux kernel itself, but rather depends on how the bootloader is configured. However this Windows limitation should be considered if the user wishes to boot Windows and Linux from the same disk, since setting up the bootloader itself depends on the firmware type and disk partitioning used. In case of Windows and Linux dual boot in the same disk, it is advisable to follow the method used by Windows, either go for UEFI-GPT boot or BIOS-MBR boot only, not the other two cases.

32-bit Windows versions only support BIOS-MBR booting. So, in case of Linux and 32-bit Windows booting from the same disk, the disk can use only MBR. See http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2581408 for more info.

Detecting UEFI Firmware bitness

Non Macs

Check whether the dir /sys/firmware/efi exists, if it exists it means the kernel has booted in EFI mode. In that case the UEFI bitness is same as kernel bitness. (ie. i686 or x86_64)

Apple Macs

Pre-2008 Macs mostly have i386-efi firmware while >=2008 Macs have mostly x86_64-efi. All Macs capable of running Mac OS X Snow Leopard 64-bit Kernel have x86_64 EFI 1.x firmware.

To find out the arch of the efi firmware in a Mac, type the following into the Mac OS X terminal:

ioreg -l -p IODeviceTree | grep firmware-abi

If the command returns EFI32 then it is IA32 (32-bit) EFI firmware. If it returns EFI64 then it is x86_64 EFI firmware. Most of the Macs do not have UEFI 2.x firmware as Apple's EFI implementation is not fully compliant with UEFI 2.x Specification.

UEFI Variables

UEFI defines variables through which an operating system can interact with the firmware. UEFI Boot Variables are used by the boot-loader and used by the OS only for early system start-up. UEFI Runtime Variables allow an OS to manage certain settings of the firmware like the UEFI Boot Manager or managing the keys for UEFI Secure Boot Protocol etc.

Sample List of UEFI Variables

Sample list of UEFI Variables in a Lenovo Thinkpad E430 3254-DAQ (UEFI 2.3.1, x86_64 firmware, Secure Boot support present):

UEFI Variables List
 $ efivar -l
0b7646a4-6b44-4332-8588-c8998117f2ef-BmEssentialVariableNames
0ec1a7f5-4904-40a0-8eab-4bcc4666da45-PbaStatusVar
1054354b-b543-4dfe-558b-a7ad6351c9d8-DptfProtocolSetupVar
1827cfc7-4e61-4273-b796-d35f4b0c88fc-LenovoHiddenSetting
1bad711c-d451-4241-b1f3-8537812e0c70-MeBiosExtensionSetup
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LBC
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LBL
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LBOL
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LBOP0000
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LBOP0001
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LBOP0002
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LBOP0003
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LBOP0004
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LBOP0005
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LBOP0006
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LBOP0007
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LBOP0008
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LBOP0009
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LBOP000A
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LBOP000B
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LBOP000C
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LBOP000D
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LBOP000E
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LBOP000F
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LBOP0010
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LBOP0011
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LBOP0012
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LBOP0013
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LBOP0014
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LBOP0015
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LBOP0016
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LBOP0017
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LBOP0018
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LenovoConfig
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LenovoSystemConfig
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LKOP0000
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LKOP0001
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LKOP0002
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LKOP0003
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LKOP0004
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LKOP0005
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LKOP0006
2a4dc6b7-41f5-45dd-b46f-2dd334c1cf65-LWO
34f73d4d-963e-4c65-b3b3-515e720175d6-SaProtocolSetupVar
3e72b3ad-2b91-424a-ad73-c3270e91ed88-PwdStatusVar
4650c401-93f1-4aeb-b87d-c8204c047dec-SctHotkey
47355e9f-0857-45e1-8a6f-a4f5eda89a77-LocalSecurityVars
4a67b082-0a4c-41cf-b6c7-440b29bb8c4f-LoaderDeviceIdentifier
4a67b082-0a4c-41cf-b6c7-440b29bb8c4f-LoaderDevicePartUUID
4a67b082-0a4c-41cf-b6c7-440b29bb8c4f-LoaderEntriesAuto
4a67b082-0a4c-41cf-b6c7-440b29bb8c4f-LoaderEntrySelected
4a67b082-0a4c-41cf-b6c7-440b29bb8c4f-LoaderFirmwareInfo
4a67b082-0a4c-41cf-b6c7-440b29bb8c4f-LoaderFirmwareType
4a67b082-0a4c-41cf-b6c7-440b29bb8c4f-LoaderImageIdentifier
4a67b082-0a4c-41cf-b6c7-440b29bb8c4f-LoaderInfo
4a67b082-0a4c-41cf-b6c7-440b29bb8c4f-LoaderTimeExecUSec
4a67b082-0a4c-41cf-b6c7-440b29bb8c4f-LoaderTimeInitUSec
4a67b082-0a4c-41cf-b6c7-440b29bb8c4f-LoaderTimeMenuUSec
4c19049f-4137-4dd3-9c10-8b97a83ffdfa-MemoryTypeInformation
4c19049f-4137-4dd3-9c10-8b97a83ffdfa-MemoryTypeInformationBackup
4dfbbaab-1392-4fde-abb8-c41cc5ad7d5d-Setup
5e724c0c-5c03-4543-bcb6-c1e23de24136-TpmSaveState
608dc793-15de-4a7f-a0c5-6c29beaf5d23-MemRestoreVariable
6403753b-abde-4da2-aa11-6983ef2a7a69-TpmAcpiData
65827a61-99e2-4f07-a7aa-0b1f98edad39-PlatformOpRomSetup
67c3208e-4fcb-498f-9729-0760bb4109a7-LenovoFlashScratch1
67c3208e-4fcb-498f-9729-0760bb4109a7-LenovoScratchData
67c3208e-4fcb-498f-9729-0760bb4109a7-MailBoxQ
753ab903-444c-41f8-a235-569e8341147e-TcgSetup
7d4adce1-930d-40c7-9cd2-6d2148413dc7-CpuProtocolSetupVar
7da81437-866b-4143-8e08-a25c6ef0fa5b-SaPpiSetupVar
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Boot0000
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Boot0001
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Boot0002
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Boot0003
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Boot0004
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Boot0005
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Boot0006
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Boot0007
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Boot0008
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Boot0009
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Boot000A
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Boot000B
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Boot000C
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Boot000D
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Boot000E
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Boot000F
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Boot0010
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Boot0011
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Boot0012
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Boot0013
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Boot0014
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Boot0015
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Boot0016
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Boot0017
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Boot0018
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-BootCurrent
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-BootOptionSupport
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-BootOrder
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-BootOrderDefault
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-ConIn
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-ConInDev
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-ConOut
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-ConOutDev
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-DIAGSPLSHSCRN
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-ErrOutDev
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-HDDPWD
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-KEK
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Key0000
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Key0001
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Key0002
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Key0003
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Key0004
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Key0005
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Key0006
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-LastBootCurrent
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-OsIndications
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-OsIndicationsSupported
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-PlatformLang
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-PlatformLangCodes
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-ProtectedBootOptions
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-SecureBoot
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-SetupHotKey
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-SetupMode
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-SimpleBootFlag
8be4df61-93ca-11d2-aa0d-00e098032b8c-Timeout
955b9041-133a-4bcf-90d1-97e1693c0e30-IEIT
955b9041-133a-4bcf-90d1-97e1693c0e30-SecureBootOption
9da5909e-ef5e-4851-8715-bf9e22b7a600-BGRTLogoIndex
9dab39a4-3f8a-47ac-80c3-400729332c81-FirmwarePerformanceDataTable
a2c1808f-0d4f-4cc9-a619-d1e641d39d49-LenovoSecurityConfig
af9ffd67-ec10-488a-9dfc-6cbf5ee22c2e-AcpiGlobalVariable
c3eeae98-23bf-412b-ab60-efcbb48e1534-SMBIOSELOG000
c3eeae98-23bf-412b-ab60-efcbb48e1534-SMBIOSELOGNUMBER
c3eeae98-23bf-412b-ab60-efcbb48e1534-SMBIOSMEMSIZE
c4975200-64f1-4fb6-9773-f6a9f89d985e-SaPegData
d719b2cb-3d3a-4596-a3bc-dad00e67656f-db
d719b2cb-3d3a-4596-a3bc-dad00e67656f-dbx
e5bbf7be-2417-499b-97db-39f4896391bc-BuildDate
e5bbf7be-2417-499b-97db-39f4896391bc-BuildTime
e6c2f70a-b604-4877-85ba-deec89e117eb-PchInit
e6c2f70a-b604-4877-85ba-deec89e117eb-PchS3Peim
eb704011-1402-11d3-8e77-00a0c969723b-MTC
f9f0b131-f346-4f16-80dd-f941072b3a7d-iFfsData

Linux Kernel UEFI Support

Linux Kernel Config options for UEFI

The required Linux Kernel configuration options for UEFI systems are :

CONFIG_RELOCATABLE=y
CONFIG_EFI=y
CONFIG_EFI_STUB=y
CONFIG_FB_EFI=y
CONFIG_FRAMEBUFFER_CONSOLE=y

UEFI Runtime Variables Support (efivarfs filesystem - /sys/firmware/efi/efivars). This option is important as this is required to manipulate UEFI Runtime Variables using tools like /usr/bin/gummiboot. Efivarfs is recommended over efivars sysfs interface (described below). The below config option has been added in kernel 3.10 and above.

CONFIG_EFIVAR_FS=y

UEFI Runtime Variables Support (efivars sysfs interface - /sys/firmware/efi/vars). This option is important as this is required to manipulate UEFI Runtime Variables using tools like efibootmgr.

CONFIG_EFI_VARS=m
CONFIG_EFI_VARS_PSTORE=m
CONFIG_EFI_VARS_PSTORE_DEFAULT_DISABLE=y

GUID Partition Table GPT config option - mandatory for UEFI support

CONFIG_EFI_PARTITION=y
Note: All of the above options are required to boot Linux via UEFI, and are enabled in Archlinux kernels in official repos.

Retrieved from http://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/torvalds/linux.git;a=blob_plain;f=Documentation/x86/x86_64/uefi.txt;hb=HEAD .

UEFI Variables Support in Kernel

Linux kernel exposes EFI variables data to userspace via 2 interfaces:

  1. sysfs-efivars (efivars kernel module, /sys/firmware/efi/vars) which is not recommended by kernel devs
  2. efivarfs (efivarfs kernel module, /sys/firmware/efi/efivars) that was designed to overcome the limitations of sysfs-efivars interface

efivarfs was introduced in kernel 3.8 and most of its bugs were ironed out in kernel 3.10 . Subsequently until kernel 3.9.X, sysfs-efivars was built-in in the Arch's core/linux kernel. However since core/linux 3.10 efivarfs is built-in and efivars is again a separate module.

Gummiboot (/usr/bin/gummiboot), systemd, and all tools that modify UEFI Secure Boot functions use only efivarfs. As of 2013-08, it seems that only efibootmgr uses sysfs-efivars. Running both sysfs-efivars and efivarfs can create inconsistencies in EFI variables data in the kernel and is discouraged. Going forward efivarfs is the recommended way for tools to interact with kernel reg EFI variables.

Requirements for UEFI Variables support to work properly

  1. EFI Runtime Services support should be present in the kernel (CONFIG_EFI=y).
  2. Kernel processor bitness/arch and EFI processor bitness/arch should match.
  3. Kernel should be booted in EFI mode (via EFISTUB or any EFI bootloader, not via BIOS/CSM or Apple's "bootcamp" which is also BIOS/CSM)
  4. EFI Runtime Services in the kernel SHOULD NOT be disabled via kernel cmdline, i.e. "noefi" kernel parameter SHOULD NOT be used.
  5. If any userspace tool is unable to modify efi variables data, check for existence of /sys/firmware/efi/efivars/dump-* files. If they exist, delete them, reboot and retry again.
  6. If the above step does not fix the issue, try booting withefi_no_storage_paranoia kernel parameter to disable kernel efi variable storage space check that may prevent writing/modification of efi variables.
Note: efi_no_storage_paranoia should only be used when needed and should not be left as a normal boot option. The effect of this kernel command line parameter turns off a safeguard that was put in place to help avoid the bricking of machines when the NVRAM gets too full.

Inconsistency between efivarfs and sysfs-efivars

Both sysfs-efivars and efivarfs can run simultaneously, but this can cause inconsistency between sysfs-efivars data and efivarfs data, especially if data in both are simultaneously modified. See https://lkml.org/lkml/2013/4/16/473 for more info. Therefore it is advisable to use enable only one interface at a time and disable the other one.

Switch to efivarfs

Note: The below commands should be run BEFORE chroot, if any.
# umount /sys/firmware/efi/efivars
# modprobe -r efivars
# modprobe efivarfs
# mount -t efivarfs efivarfs /sys/firmware/efi/efivars

Verify that there are files in /sys/firmware/efi/efivars/ directory. If not, check whether all the conditions in #Requirements_for_UEFI_Variables_support_to_work_properly are met.

Switch to sysfs-efivars

Note: The below commands should be run BEFORE chroot, if any.
# umount /sys/firmware/efi/efivars
# modprobe -r efivars
# modprobe efivars

Verify that there are files/directories within /sys/firmware/efi/vars/ directory. If not, check whether all the conditions in #Requirements_for_UEFI_Variables_support_to_work_properly are met.

Userspace Tools

Supporting both efivarfs and sysfs-efivars

There are few tools that can access/modify the UEFI variables, namely

  1. efivar - Library and Tool to manipulate UEFI Variables - https://github.com/vathpela/efivar - efivar or efivar-gitAUR
  2. Ubuntu's Firmware Test Suite - https://wiki.ubuntu.com/FirmwareTestSuite/ - fwtsAUR (along with fwts-efi-runtime-dkmsAUR) or fwts-gitAUR
  3. uefivars - Dumps list of EFI variables with some additional PCI related info (uses efibootmgr code internally) - https://github.com/fpmurphy/Various/tree/master/uefivars-2.0 supports only efivarfs and https://github.com/fpmurphy/Various/tree/master/uefivars-1.0 supports only sysfs-efivars . AUR package uefivars-gitAUR builds from uefivars-1.0 code.
  4. efibootmgr - Tool to manipulate UEFI Firmware Boot Manager Settings. Upstream efibootmgr code supports only sysfs-efivars (efibootmgr or efibootmgr-gitAUR). A fork of efibootmgr by Fedora's Peter Jones, uses the efivar library and supports both efivarfs and sysfs-efivars. It also contains many bug fixes and is recommended over the upstream efibootmgr code - https://github.com/vathpela/efibootmgr/tree/libefivars or efibootmgr-pjones-gitAUR.

efibootmgr

Warning: Using efibootmgr in Apple Macs may brick the firmware and may need reflash of the motherboard ROM. There have been bug reports regarding this in Ubuntu/Launchpad bug tracker. Use bless command alone in case of Macs. Experimental "bless" utility for Linux by Fedora developers - mactel-bootAUR.
Note: If efibootmgr completely fails to work in your system, you can reboot into UEFI Shell v2 and use bcfg command to create a boot entry for the bootloader.
Note: If you are unable to use efibootmgr, some UEFI BIOSes allow users to directly manage uefi boot options from within the BIOS. For example, some ASUS BIOSes have a "Add New Boot Option" choice which enables you to select a local EFI system partition and manually enter the EFI stub location. (for example '\EFI\refind\refind_x64.efi')
Note: The below commands use refind-efi boot-loader as example.

If you are using upstream efibootmgr code, you need to switch to sysfs-efivars interface (before CHROOT if any) before proceeding. If you are using the pjones's fork of efibootmgr you need to swtich to efivarfs (before CHROOT if any) before proceeding. Do this always, to prevent inconsistency between efivarfs and sysfs-efivars data so that the firmware does not get confused.

Assuming the boot-loader file to be launched is /boot/efi/EFI/refind/refind_x64.efi, /boot/efi/EFI/refind/refind_x64.efi can be split up as /boot/efi and /EFI/refind/refind_x64.efi, wherein /boot/efi is the mountpoint of the EFI System Partition, which is assumed to be /dev/sdXY (here X and Y are just placeholders for the actual values - eg:- in /dev/sda1 , X==a Y==1).

To determine the actual device path for the UEFI System Partition (should be in the form /dev/sdXY), try :

# findmnt /boot/efi
TARGET SOURCE  FSTYPE OPTIONS
/boot/efi  /dev/sdXY  vfat         rw,flush,tz=UTC

Then create the boot entry using efibootmgr as follows :

# efibootmgr -c -d /dev/sdX -p Y -l /EFI/refind/refind_x64.efi -L "rEFInd"
Note: UEFI uses backward slash \ as path separator (similar to Windows paths), but the efibootmgr-0.6.0-3 and above pkgs support passing unix-style paths with forward-slash / as path-separator for the -l option. Efibootmgr internally converts / to \ before encoding the loader path. The relevant commit that added this feature to efibootmgr is http://linux.dell.com/cgi-bin/cgit.cgi/efibootmgr.git/commit/?id=f38f4aaad1dfa677918e417c9faa6e3286411378 .

In the above command /boot/efi/EFI/refind/refind_x64.efi translates to /boot/efi and /EFI/refind/refind_x64.efi which in turn translate to drive /dev/sdX -> partition Y -> file /EFI/refind/refind_x64.efi.

The 'label' is the name of the menu entry shown in the UEFI boot menu. This name is user's choice and does not affect the booting of the system. More info can be obtained from efibootmgr GIT README .

FAT32 filesystem is case-insensitive since it does not use UTF-8 encoding by default. In that case the firmware uses capital 'EFI' instead of small 'efi', therefore using \EFI\refind\refindx64.efi or \efi\refind\refind_x64.efi does not matter (this will change if the filesystem encoding is UTF-8).

Supporting efivarfs only

  1. efitools - Tools to Create and Setup own UEFI Secure Boot Certificates, Keys and Signed Binaries (requires efivarfs) - efitools-gitAUR

UEFI Bootloaders

See UEFI Bootloaders for the main article.

EFI System Partition

Note: UEFI System Partition and EFI System Partition (ESP) are same, the terminologies are used interchangeably in some places.
Note: The ESP should be accessible by the UEFI firmware, which cannot read LVM and software RAID systems.
Note: Setting "boot" flag in parted in a MBR partition marks that partition as active, while the same "boot" flag in a GPT partition marks that partition as "UEFI System Partition".

The EFI System Partition needs to be formatted with a FAT32 filesystem (non-FAT filesystems like ext2/3/4, reiserfs, NTFS, UDF etc. are not supported). Although ESPs with size >=100 MiB and formatted as FAT32 are allowed by Microsoft Windows and many Linux distros, Microsoft documentation specifies that the minimum partition/volume size for FAT32 is 512 MiB. Therefore an ESP should be at least 512 MiB size for maximum compatibility. If you are using Linux EFISTUB booting, then you need to make sure there is adequate space available for keeping the Kernel and Initramfs files in the ESP.

It is recommended to use always GPT for UEFI boot as some UEFI firmwares do not allow UEFI-MBR boot.

GPT partitioned disks

Two choices:

  • Using GNU Parted/GParted: Create a FAT32 partition. Set "boot" flag on for that partition.
  • Using GPT fdisk (aka gdisk): Create a partition with partition type ef00. Then format that partition as FAT32 using mkfs.vfat -F32 /dev/<THAT_PARTITION>

If you get the message WARNING: Not enough clusters for a 32 bit FAT!, reduce cluster size with mkfs.vfat -s2 -F32 ... or -s1, otherwise the partition may be unreadable by UEFI.

MBR partitioned disks

Two choices:

  • Using GNU Parted/GParted: Create FAT32 partition. Change the type code of that partition to 0xEF using fdisk, cfdisk or sfdisk.
  • Using fdisk: Create a partition with partition type 0xEF. Then format that partition as FAT32 using mkfs.vfat -F32 /dev/<THAT_PARTITION>

UEFI Shell

The UEFI Shell is a shell/terminal for the firmware which allows launching uefi applications which include uefi bootloaders. Apart from that, the shell can also be used to obtain various other information about the system or the firmware like memory map (memmap), modifying boot manager variables (bcfg), running partitioning programs (diskpart), loading uefi drivers, editing text files (edit), hexedit etc.

Obtaining UEFI Shell

You can download a BSD licensed UEFI Shell from Intel's Tianocore UDK/EDK2 Sourceforge.net project.

Shell v2 works best in UEFI 2.3+ systems and is recommended over Shell v1 in those systems. Shell v1 should work in all UEFI systems irrespective of the spec. version the firmware follows. More info at ShellPkg and this mail

Launching UEFI Shell

Few Asus and other AMI Aptio x86_64 UEFI firmware based motherboards (from Sandy Bridge onwards) provide an option called "Launch EFI Shell from filesystem device" . For those motherboards, download the x86_64 UEFI Shell and copy it to your UEFI SYSTEM PARTITION as <UEFI_SYSTEM_PARTITION>/shellx64.efi (mostly /boot/efi/shellx64.efi) .

Systems with Phoenix SecureCore Tiano UEFI firmware are known to have embedded UEFI Shell which can be launched using either F6, F11 or F12 key.

Note: If you are unable to launch UEFI Shell from the firmware directly using any of the above mentioned methods, create a FAT32 USB pen drive with Shell.efi copied as (USB)/efi/boot/bootx64.efi . This USB should come up in the firmware boot menu. Launching this option will launch the UEFI Shell for you.

Important UEFI Shell Commands

UEFI Shell commands usually support -b option which makes output pause after each page. map lists recognized filesystems (fs0, ...) and data storage devices (blk0, ...). Run help -b to list available commands.

More info at http://software.intel.com/en-us/articles/efi-shells-and-scripting/

bcfg

BCFG command is used to modify the UEFI NVRAM entries, which allow the user to change the boot entries or driver options. This command is described in detail in page 83 (Section 5.3) of "UEFI Shell Specification 2.0" pdf document.

Note: Users are recommended to try bcfg only if efibootmgr fails to create working boot entries in their system.
Note: UEFI Shell v1 official binary does not support bcfg command. You can download a modified UEFI Shell v2 binary which may work in UEFI pre-2.3 firmwares.

To dump a list of current boot entries -

Shell> bcfg boot dump -v

To add a boot menu entry for rEFInd (for example) as 4th (numbering starts from zero) option in the boot menu

Shell> bcfg boot add 3 fs0:\EFI\refind\refind_x64.efi "rEFInd"

where fs0: is the mapping corresponding to the UEFI System Partition and fs0:\EFI\refind\refind_x64.efi is the file to be launched.

To remove the 4th boot option

Shell> bcfg boot rm 3

To move the boot option #3 to #0 (i.e. 1st or the default entry in the UEFI Boot menu)

Shell> bcfg boot mv 3 0

For bcfg help text

Shell> help bcfg -v -b

or

Shell> bcfg -? -v -b

edit

EDIT command provides a basic text editor with an interface similar to nano text editor, but slightly less functional. It handles UTF-8 encoding and takes care or LF vs CRLF line endings.

To edit, for example rEFInd's refind.conf in the UEFI System Partition (fs0: in the firmware)

Shell> fs0:
FS0:\> cd \EFI\arch\refind
FS0:\EFI\arch\refind\> edit refind.conf

Type Ctrl-E for help.

UEFI Linux Hardware Compatibility

See HCL/Firmwares/UEFI for the main article.

UEFI Bootable Media

Create UEFI bootable USB from ISO

Note: The instructions below are specifically for Archiso/official media; Archboot preparation is identical, with this refind.conf instead of the one mentioned below (which is for Archiso) and without the filesystem label requirement.
# mkdir -p /mnt/{usb,iso}
# mount -o loop archlinux-2013.06.01-dual.iso /mnt/iso
  • Then create a FAT32 filesystem in the partition on the USB (unmount before if necessary) with LABEL as used in the Archiso configuration. Obtain the label from /mnt/iso/loader/entries/archiso-x86_64.conf; this is used by the archiso hook in initramfs to identify the udev path to the installation media. mkfs.vfat is part of package dosfstools.
    Note: The filesystem should be either FAT32 (recommended), FAT16, or FAT12.
# awk 'BEGIN {FS="="} /archisolabel/ {print $3}' /mnt/iso/loader/entries/archiso-x86_64.conf | xargs mkfs.vfat -F32 /dev/sdXY -n
  • Mount the newly created FAT32 USB partition, and copy the contents of the installation media to the USB media.
# mount /dev/sdXY /mnt/usb
# cp -a /mnt/iso/* /mnt/usb
# sync
# umount /mnt/{usb,iso}

Remove UEFI boot support from ISO

Warning: In the event that UEFI+isohybrid El Torito/MBR really causes problems, it would be better to just UEFI boot using the USB stick instructions in the previous section

Most of the 32-bit EFI Macs and some 64-bit EFI Macs refuse to boot from a UEFI(X64)+BIOS bootable CD/DVD. If one wishes to proceed with the installation using optical media, it might be necessary to remove UEFI support first.

Mount the official installation media and obtain the archisolabel as shown in the previous section.

Rebuild the ISO using xorriso from libisoburn:

$ xorriso -as mkisofs -iso-level 3 \
    -full-iso9660-filenames\
    -volid "ARCH_201212" \
    -appid "Arch Linux CD" \
    -publisher "Arch Linux <https://www.archlinux.org>" \
    -preparer "prepared like a BAWSE" \
    -eltorito-boot isolinux/isolinux.bin \
    -eltorito-catalog isolinux/boot.cat \
    -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 -boot-info-table \
    -isohybrid-mbr "/mnt/iso/isolinux/isohdpfx.bin" \
    -output "~/archiso.iso" "/mnt/iso/"

Burn ~/archiso.iso to optical media and proceed with installation normally.

Testing UEFI in systems without native support

OVMF for Virtual Machines

OVMF [1] is a tianocore project to enable UEFI support for Virtual Machines. OVMF contains a sample UEFI firmware for QEMU.

You can build OVMF (with Secure Boot support) from AUR ovmf-svnAUR and run it as follows:

qemu-system-x86_64 -enable-kvm -net none -m 1024 -bios /usr/share/ovmf/x86_64/bios.bin 

DUET for BIOS only systems

DUET is a tianocore project that enables chainloading a full UEFI environment from a BIOS system, in a way similar to BIOS OS booting. This method is being discussed extensively in http://www.insanelymac.com/forum/topic/186440-linux-and-windows-uefi-boot-using-tianocore-duet-firmware/ . Pre-build DUET images can be downloaded from one of the repos at https://gitorious.org/tianocore_uefi_duet_builds . Specific instructions for setting up DUET is available at https://gitorious.org/tianocore_uefi_duet_builds/tianocore_uefi_duet_installer/blobs/raw/master/Migle_BootDuet_INSTALL.txt .

You can also try http://sourceforge.net/projects/cloverefiboot/ which provides modified DUET images that may contain some system specific fixes and is more frequently updated compared to the gitorious repos.

Troubleshooting

Windows 7 won't boot in UEFI Mode

If you have installed Windows to a different harddisk with GPT partitioning and still have a MBR partitioned harddisk in your computer, then it is possible that the UEFI BIOS is starting it's CSM support (for booting MBR partitions) and therefor Windows won't boot. To solve this merge your MBR harddisk to GPT partitioning or disable the SATA port where the MBR harddisk is plugged in or unplug the SATA connector from this harddisk.

Mainboards with this kind of problem:

Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H rev. 1.1 (UEFI BIOS version F19e)

- UEFI BIOS option for booting UEFI Only doesn't pretend the UEFI BIOS from starting CSM

See also