Waiting for Mageia 5: Spotlight on UEFI support

This article is addressed to users with some technical background. Summary for the non-techie: Mageia 5 supports UEFI, which means it’s now easier to install it on recent hardware. Bottom line: after the initial installation, which might be a little different (see below), UEFI really shouldn’t trouble you.

What’s UEFI?

UEFI has been around for a few years now, previously called EFI. It is a completely new and different firmware for booting 64 bit PC and replaced the old BIOS firmwares. It brings improvements over old BIOS, but it’s mainly known in the Linux community for rendering the installation of Linux systems more difficult on computers bought with a preinstalled system:

  1. because it necessitated development to support it;
  2. because of a security feature called Secure Boot, which refuses to boot any bootloader that is not signed with an official signing key;
  3. because it’s not always obvious how to boot to a DVD or an USB key (it depends on the firmware, whether Secure Boot is active, whether Fast Startup is active, etc.)

UEFI systems also use a new (to PCs) partitioning format called GPT, with a special EFI System Partition (ESP) which contains the bootloaders.

The references at the end offer fuller explanations.

Mageia and UEFI

With Mageia 4, in order to install to a system with UEFI you had two solutions:

  • activate legacy BIOS compatibility mode, aka Compatibility Support Module or CSM,
  • or follow manual instructions from our wiki, involving command line instructions to run as root during installation. Doable but not easy.

Mageia’s installers are now fully UEFI aware, so you can install easily along with other pre-existing systems.

What about Secure Boot?

First of all, Secure Boot is not UEFI. UEFI is the firmware, Secure Boot is one of the features among others. However, most pre-installed computers come with Secure Boot activated, which prevents users from booting any other system or installation medium. In order to install Mageia, you need to deactivate it in your firmware’s configuration. In order to manage to get to the configuration, see in your computer’s documentation how to proceed. There are lots of resources on the internet covering that subject. As of today, all manufacturers have an obligation to provide a way to disable secure boot.

Installing Mageia on an UEFI system

Both the Live and Classic images can be installed on UEFI hardware, but not the Dual arch ISO. Depending on your hardware or preference, just burn the 64 bit ISO image to DVD, or dump it to an USB flash drive. Existing Mageia users can use IsoDumper for this (install isodumper from the software center). For others, check this procedure. See also our dedicated wiki page. Then boot your computer from the prepared medium.

Booting the Classic installer on a UEFI system currently offers menu choices dependent on the boot medium: you need to choose the appropriate boot menu entry whether you’re installing from DVD or USB; this is not necessary for the Live installers. Once launched, there is no difference from non-UEFI for Live usage. Installation differs very slightly in needing to create or use an existing EFI System Partition (ESP) and mount it on /boot/EFI, and there is no choice of bootloader which is automatically Grub2 (grub2-efi). The preparation and deployment of Mageia installation media for UEFI systems is fully covered in our wiki.

Resources about UEFI:

If you are curious to know more, Adam Williamson wrote a good introduction to UEFI; there is also some information about it on our wiki page.

What about upgrade from Mageia 4?

It is not supported to upgrade an instance of Mageia 4 that had been installed in non-UEFI mode towards a Mageia 5 in UEFI mode.
Upgrading from an UEFI Mageia 4 to UEFI Mageia 5 is supported (as well as from non-UEFI Mageia 4 to non-UEFI Mageia 5 of course).

Mageia 5 is almost there, stay tuned!

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12 Responses to Waiting for Mageia 5: Spotlight on UEFI support

  1. Pingback: Очікуємо на Mageia 5: акцент на підтримці UEFI | Mageia Blog (Україна)

  2. Pingback: Esperando por 5 Mageia: Holofotes ao apoio UEFI | Mageia Blog (Português)

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  4. Pingback: Warten auf Mageia 5: Schlaglicht auf die UEFI Unterstützung | Mageia Blog (Deutsch)

  5. Pingback: Mageia 5’i beklerken dikkatler UEFI desteği üzerine | Mageia Blog (Türkçe)

  6. Lennart says:


  7. AndrewL says:

    Installation of the Mageia 5 RC on a dual boot system ( Windows 7 [cloned from a smaller SSD] / Mageia 5). Machine is Lenovo W520 with Samsung EVO 850 SSD 1TB: installation proceeds flawlessly. Not all functionality of the installation tested yet but seems like a solid base to work from. Looking forward to the final Mageia 5 !

  8. Pingback: Solid and strong and humming along – here’s Mageia 5! | Mageia Blog (English)

  9. Pingback: Aqui está Mageia 5 lançado… | Portal Mageia do Brasil

  10. Pingback: Doet, solide en sterk, neuriënd zijn werk | Mageia Blog (Nederlands)

  11. Pingback: Sólida, y fuerte y tarareando – ¡aquí está Mageia 5! | Mageia Blog (Español)

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