As I am about to install my new laptop, I am considering using UEFI. The laptop supports UEFI but came with legacy booting enabled as default option. Whether this is the university setting or the factory default I’m not sure, since my father’s HP laptop got UEFI enables as default option.

I haven’t been working with UEFI systems before. Well, I’ve installed Ubuntu on my father’s laptop, on an external (USB) hard disk, so he could dual boot Windows and Linux. And that’s one of the advantages of UEFI. No boot manager is required. This is built in into UEFI.

My new laptop, the HP EliteBook 8570w has three options, legacy boot, uefi hybrid (both legacy and uefi / with csm), and native uefi (without csm).

I have selected the compatible mode. Now, as I try to boot from the ArchLinux installation CD. I am still using my external (USB) optical drive, since the laptop was delivered without internal optical drive. Well… so I boot from the CD, a menu shows, where I can choose between booting Arch, an UEFI shell (version 1 and 2) and to return to the firmware.

So, I select to boot Arch. The screen goes black. The USB optical drive appears to be reading slowly, but nothing happens. When I reboot, the uefi firmware does not detect the USB optical drive. Something is not going right. ArchLinux boot media are a hybrid case. The ISO contains both SYSLINUX and UEFI booting, but can also be dd’d to an USB flash medium. I believe this is the reason why I have had experienced booting ArchLinux installation media on my EliteBook 8530w. I have made an UEFI bootable USB flash drive according to the instructions on the ArchWiki.Using this I can boot normally. This appears to confirm my hypothesis the hybrid boot medium confuses the HP firmware.

So, creating partitions. Since I am using GPT, I will use gdisk in stead of fdisk. Creating partitions will be similar to fdisk. Partitions have numbers from 1 to 128. There are no concepts like extended and logical partitions. They’re a dirty hack of the MBR partitioning scheme anyways. I am still overthinking how I need to partition this system. This is the first time I am working an UEFI based system and GPT style partitioning. I still haven’t decided what boot loader I will be using, either SYSLINUX or GRUB2.

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