MBR or EFI for USB Sticks?

asked 2016-12-18 09:55:40 -0600

graceful gravatar image

updated 2016-12-18 10:06:30 -0600

I have a DELL Inspiron Laptop from 2012 that supports MBR/Legacy Boot and GPT/UEFI Boot. I recently converted my system to GPT/UEFI Boot because I wanted to add a few more distros and partitions; and I also want to upgrade to a 2GB ssd/hdd. Additionally, I want to be able to migrate my current build to a fully supported GPT/UEFI Boot system in the near future, without having to reinstall from bare metal. In order to get my system to boot the new GPT/UEFI formatted primary system drive, I had to reconfigure the BIOS to boot in UEFI mode and disable Legacy BIOS Boot. I'm not sure the second part was entirely necessary; but the acticle I was using for guidance specified this. Anyway, the reconfigured system booted as advertised and all was seemingly well, for the time being. Then the time came for me to clone a backup of my new and improved system using a copy of Clonezilla, I had burned to a USB Stick in "MBR" mode, oops! It turned out that just sticking the Clonezilla stick into one of my usb ports and turning the system on didn't work anymore, as most of these hybrid Legacy/GPT systems don't have usb support in UEFI mode, at least with Legacy BIOS Boot disabled, which begs the question, can I have UEFI Boot selected in my BIOS and have Legacy BIOS Boot enabled at the same time? I haven't tried this yet, because so far there have just been too many moving parts in this whole misadventure and my learning curve hasn't quite caught-up yet. If this IS possible, then maybe I can have USB support, without having to boot into Windows 10 first (dual boot Win10/Fedora 25)? Presently, it's necessary to boot into Windows 10, insert my USB Stick, press and hold the shift key while restarting to get USB support for the stick. This appears to work for sticks that I've formatted in either MBR or UEFI. I'm not sure why it works for the MBR formatted sticks though. Anyway, I have now come to a crossroads to sit on the horns of a dilemma and finally decide whether to reformat all of my USB Sticks in GPT/UEFI or not. I'm really mostly concerned about the sticks containing distros, such as TAILS and Ubuntu Studio, which need to be booted from the sticks. TTBOMK, current usb sticks come from the factory formatted as FAT32/MBR; and I assume this will remain the case for compatibility, at least for now. To burn distros onto the sticks, I have been using "Rufus" on the Windows 10 partition. Rufus provides three options; MBR mode, UEFI mode with MBR compatibility and pure UEFI mode. Which of these should I use? Ubuntu Studio, I'll probably only use on one of my other systems; but I could end-up using TAILS on other people's ... (more)

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So, are you making USB drives which serve as the primary hard disks for your systems? At first, it seemed like you might be trying to copy your whole primary hard disk to a USB drive, and then back to an internal SSD (which you are upgrading to 2 TB, perhaps?) but then it seems like you're trying to boot from this Fedora USB drive..which...you are creating with Clonezilla? If that's the case, I'm not sure what you mean by having dual boot support for Windows 10 and Fedora 25..

bitwiseoperator gravatar imagebitwiseoperator ( 2016-12-19 11:21:33 -0600 )edit