Talk:Install Arch Linux on ZFS

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replace writehostid with zgenhostid?

Since a few versions zfs now comes with a tool to write a hostid to /etc/hostid. Should we recommend using it instead of the provided C code?

Charlesmilette (talk) 22:32, 2 January 2018 (UTC) Charles Milette

base metapackage change and ALEZ script

With the changes to `base` and looking at ALEZ, it looks as though ALEZ may not be up to date with the metapackage change which could potentially lead to an unbootable system. Is there any confirmation that ALEZ still works?

Johncrist1988 (talk) 04:34, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

It should be working as is since the current release from last month was before the base change, however I will update the script accordingly and release new ISO.

Johnramsden (talk) 05:07, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

Update partition scheme for separate boot pool, root pool and swap partition

As the current situation stands, GRUB severely lags behind OpenZFS development. Many features need to be disabled on the pool which GRUB will boot from.

OpenZFS official guide has adopted the approach of creating separate boot pool (mounted at /boot) and root pool (mounted at /) since at least Debian Stretch days.

A separate swap partition is also recommended over swap on zvol to avoid deadlocks.

I've completed a guide for Root on ZFS here, containing the above fixes.

One might argue why don't just mount esp at /boot, here's my argument: with /boot on a ZFS pool, it is possible to select initramfs from a ZFS snapshot in GRUB, which enables recovery from a faulty initramfs. If stored in esp, there's no way to rescue a system with bad initramfs, or do a full system rollback to a previous state, as contents in /boot is not protected by ZFS.

rozb3-pacAUR relies on separate boot and root pools to perform a full system rollback.

M0p (talk) 16:38, 24 December 2020 (UTC)

Add bootloader method ZfsBootMenu


Since I broke my grub-compatibility by accidentally enabling a zfs feature which is not supported by grub, I looked for alternative methods to boot a ZFS root pool I found zfsbootmenu which is IMHO the best way to boot a ZFS (EFI only?):

  • Just drop the zfsbootmenu.EFI file from in a EFI subdirectory on your EFI Partition and configure your NVRAM with efibootmgr to use that file
  • You now get a menu which finds all pools and boot environments, provides an emergency shell (with zfs tools) and a nice menu which allows for cloning/booting older snapshots and much more
  • It works with probably every ZFS feature because it boots a complete kernel with ZOL enabled.

I am new to writing wiki entries and I don't have the rights to modify this article, (which is probably a good idea) but maybe any of you arch-zfs-enthusiasts can look into zfsbootmenu and confirm that it is what we are all looking for.

More detailed instructions (may be used to include in the wiki):

Install ZFS Boot Menu

#mount your EFI Partition
mount /dev/sdXY /efi
#create subfolder for ZBM
mkdir -p /efi/EFI/zbm
#download the latest release from
wget -O /efi/EFI/zbm/zfsbootmenu.EFI
#add entry to your bootmenu
efibootmgr --disk /dev/sdX --part Y --create --label "ZFSBootMenu" --loader '\EFI\zbm\zfsbootmenu.EFI' --unicode "spl_hostid=$(hostid) zbm.timeout=3 zbm.prefer=zroot zbm.import_policy=hostid" --verbose

you can probably also just name the file /efi/EFI/BOOT/BOOTX64.EFI on an EFI partition of an USB stick in order to make it bootable without a custom NVRAM entry (

Configure ZFS Boot Menu In order to keep your current kernel parameters, you should set them as zfs property **org.zfsbootmenu:commandline** on the bootfs, but exclude the root and bootfs parameters

#lookup your current commandline
cat /proc/cmdline
-> zfs=zroot/ROOT/arch noresume init_on_alloc=0 rw spl.spl_hostid=0xdeadbeef
#set the property without the zfs parameters
 zfs set org.zfsbootmenu:commandline="noresume init_on_alloc=0 rw spl.spl_hostid=0xdeadbeef" zroot/ROOT


  • If your ZFS root is readonly after boot this make sure you have the parameter **rw** in your commandline (you can set this interactively in the menu for one boot, but you should configure the org.zfsbootmenu:commandline property as mentioned above
  • If you are booting into an old snapshot and the system does not boot at all you probably have the enabled which mounts your current rootfs over your snapshottet rootfs. In order to avoid that make sure you set the zfs canmount property to noauto on the root filesystem (which is mounted by the kernel anyway)

—This unsigned comment is by Thomas.oster (talk) 08:38, 16 July 2021 (UTC). Please sign your posts with ~~~~!

Thomas, I think you don't have rights to edit the article because you still don't have the 20 edits needed to become an autoconfirmed user. Regarding `zfsbootmenu`, that's very interesting and helpful, indeed, thank you! I don't have yet that much experience with EFI, otherwise I would've helped myself. My initial impression is that a well-tested AUR package with, among other things, proper initcpio support, may be rather helpful here, otherwise some less experienced or overly enthusiastic users might get themselves in trouble (many of us have at one point or another been guilty of "boldly testing in production", though fewer will probably openly admit to it :D).
— Kerberizer • T/C 10:47, 16 July 2021 (UTC)