UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) is a firmware, just like BIOS, that starts when you switch on your PC before booting the Operating System. UEFI is getting traction now and recent systems come with UEFI. It is developed as a replacement to traditional BIOS and provides support for-
- Using larger disks (over 2 TB)
- CPU independent architecture
- Faster boot time (UEFI switched to Boot Manager rather than using boot sector as used by BIOS).
This post is more about checking UEFI compatibility for Windows and Ubuntu dual boot system and why and when to use UEFI mode.
Which mode to use while installing Ubuntu
Most of the current computers provide support for both UEFI and BIOS mode, which boot mode should be used depends on following factors –
- Matching boot mode for dual boot– If you are installing Ubuntu as dual boot with another OS then the boot mode should match for both Operating Systems.
As Example– If you are installing Ubuntu on a system where Windows is already installed, you can check the boot mode for Windows. One of the way to check that is as follows -Go to RUN dialog and type msinfo32, press enter. For System Summary look for “BIOS Mode” in the right pane. Check for its value if it is “UEFI” or “Legacy”
- Hardware support– Some hardware devices are better supported in one mode than another. But UEFI is the future and now mostly UEFI support is there so that is not a big problem going forward.
UEFI mode or not
While installing Ubuntu you may want to go with UEFI mode when you are single booting, as UEFI is the way going forward and latest Ubuntu versions (After 11.10) come with UEFI support or you are dual booting with another operating system which is already installed in this mode.
- If you have another operating system in your system (Winodws 8, 10, Linux) already installed in UEFI mode then you must install Ubuntu in that mode too.
- If your system has another OS which is installed in legacy (non-UEFI) mode then you must install Ubuntu in legacy mode too. It may be because your system is old, still running on pre-installed Windows XP, is 32 bits.
- If Ubuntu is going to be the only Operating System in your computer then you can opt for any mode but better to go with UEFI mode if you have a computer that supports it.
Things to keep in mind
When you are installing Ubuntu in UEFi mode some of the things you need to keep in mind are as follows-
- Use a 64 bit version of Ubuntu as Ubuntu 32 bit can’t be easily installed in UEFI mode.
- You may require to disable fast startup and SecureBoot in the already installed Windows.
- Make sure you are using a UEFI supported version of Ubuntu. Latest versions have that support anyway so that shouldn’t be a problem. Just to make sure support for UEFI appeared in Ubuntu 11.10.
- If you are creating an installable USB/CD to boot through that make sure you use “EFI only image”.
- At startup make sure to change the boot option to boot in UEFI mode.
- When installation begins if you choose the option to manual partition (“Something else”) you can verify that one EFI System partition (ESP) exists. If you already have Windows installed just check the type of the partitions one of those should have type as “efi”.
That’s all for the topic UEFI Compatibilty for Ubuntu Installation. If something is missing or you have something to share about the topic please write a comment.
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