Limine is an advanced, portable, multiprotocol boot loader originally developed as the reference implementation for the Limine boot protocol, but also supporting the ability to boot Linux as well as to chainload other boot loaders.
espdenotes the mountpoint of the EFI system partition aka ESP.
Supported file systems
/bootunless disabling incompatible features. This can be typically worked around by using a separate /boot partition with a universally supported file system such as FAT32.
Install the package.
Installing the Limine boot loader
MBR vs. GPT
Legacy PC BIOS is capable of booting from either GPT or MBR partitioned devices. Limine supports both, with a very similar installation procedure. Furthermore, unlike GRUB, it does not require creating an extra partition containing raw data when installing to a GPT partitioned device.
Choosing GPT is beneficial for larger drives as it allows placing partitions further than 2TiB on disk, alongside additional benefits such as partition and disk GUIDs.
On the other hand, MBR is older and more limited, but it will ensure compatibility with quirky BIOSes which refuse to boot from GPT partitioned media.
Core bootloader files are in
/usr/share/limine/. Most important for installing to BIOS systems is the
limine-bios.sys file, which contains stage 3 code that Limine needs to boot. This file needs to reside on either the root, a
/limine, or a
/boot/limine directory of any partition on the disk onto which Limine will be deployed, as long as the filesystem is supported.
# cp /usr/share/limine/limine-bios.sys /boot/
Once that is done, stage 1 and 2 need to be deployed on disk. This is achieved by means of the
limine utility, installed as part of the package, using its
bios-install command. Installation is identical regardless of whether MBR or GPT is used, as
limine bios-install will auto-detect what scheme is used and install itself appropriately.
limine bios-install as such:
# limine bios-install /dev/sdX
/dev/sdX is the disk (not a partition) where Limine is to be installed. For example
/dev/nvme0n1. See Device file#Block device names for a description of the block device naming scheme.
Deploying Limine on UEFI systems involves copying the
/usr/share/limine/BOOTX64.EFI file to an EFI system partition, usually to
esp/EFI/BOOT/BOOTX64.EFI, but it can be given other filenames, as long as the UEFI BIOS is aware of them. Unlike GRUB, Limine does not add an entry for the bootloader in the NVRAM: use efibootmgr to setup an entry for Limine.
UEFI+BIOS bootable drives
As long as a drive is GPT formatted, and it contains an EFI system partition, it is possible to follow both the BIOS and UEFI deployment procedures in order to create a drive capable of booting on both legacy BIOS as well as UEFI systems. This is useful, for example, for installing an operating system on a USB flash drive which is to be used on multiple systems which may, or may not support UEFI, or to ease moving hard drives across systems.
here.does not ship a default configuration file, it is therefore necessary to create one. This file is necessary to teach Limine which operating systems are available for boot. The configuration file has a lot of options as Limine allows for a fair degree of customisation. A detailed documentation of the configuration file, its format, and its keys can be found
The configuration file, just like
limine-bios.sys, needs to reside on either the root, a
/limine, or a
/boot/limine directory of a partition on the drive on which Limine is deployed, as long as the file system of said partition is supported. The configuration file has to be named
boot:///represents the partition on which
limine.cfgis located. In case there is no separate
limine.cfgresides on the root partition instead, then, in the following example,
boot:///should instead be
Here follows a simple example configuration that contains 1 boot menu entry that describes a typical Arch Linux kernel and initramfs:
TIMEOUT=5 :Arch Linux PROTOCOL=linux KERNEL_PATH=boot:///vmlinuz-linux CMDLINE=root=UUID=root-uuid rw MODULE_PATH=boot:///initramfs-linux.img
root-uuid is to be replaced with the root filesystem's UUID.
In order to be able to boot windows we need to know the path of
bootmgfw.efi in the ESP. This can be done by going inside the ESP and using the following command:
$ find -name "bootmgfw.efi"
All we need to do now is adding the following to the configuration:
:Windows PROTOCOL=chainload IMAGE_PATH=boot:///EFI/Microsoft/Boot/bootmgfw.efi
While not mandatory, it may be useful to set up a pacman hook to deploy Limine whenever it is upgraded.
The following are just examples. Edit paths and devices to match the system's configuration.
[Trigger] Operation = Install Operation = Upgrade Type = Package Target = limine [Action] Description = Deploying Limine after upgrade... When = PostTransaction Exec = /bin/sh -c "/usr/bin/limine bios-install /dev/sdX && /usr/bin/cp /usr/share/limine/limine-bios.sys /boot/"
[Trigger] Operation = Install Operation = Upgrade Type = Package Target = limine [Action] Description = Deploying Limine after upgrade... When = PostTransaction Exec = /usr/bin/cp /usr/share/limine/BOOTX64.EFI /boot/EFI/BOOT/