• We had to restore from a backup today after a failed software update. Backup was from 0000 EDT and restored it at 0800 EDT so we lost about 8hrs. Today is 07/20/2024. More info here.



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Dec 12, 2022
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Given a choice to install and run a Linux distro, is it better to choose BIOS or UEFI? If the answer is "It depends", then what does the choice depend on?

Does the choice of BIOS or UEFI matter if the distro is being installed on a virtual machine vs. real hardware?

Can't say about virtual machine installs, but for regular bare metal, I use what the motherboard offers, be that MBR or UEFI.

(I used to alter UEFI to BIOS compatible, but not any more, UEFI works just fine.)
in both situations, as long as you don't need any more than 4 primary partitions and the disk isn't over 2TiB either should work: https://developer.ibm.com/tutorials/l-gpt/
Following the code area, the MBR stores data about four partitions, known as primary partitions. Each partition is described in two ways: using cylinder/head/sector (CHS) notation and using logical block addressing (LBA) notation. The CHS notation is almost a historical footnote today, because it's a 24-bit number. This means that it's limited to describing areas of about 8GB in size. The 32-bit LBA values permit 2TiB sizes, assuming a sector size of 512 bytes. This 2TiB ceiling is not easily overcome; there simply aren't any unallocated fields left in the MBR that could be used to add more bits to the LBA addresses.

In addition to the looming 2TiB problem, the MBR presents other difficulties. Chief among these is the limitation of four primary partitions. To work around this limitation, it's possible to set aside one primary partition as a placeholder (known as an extended partition) to hold an arbitrary number of additional partitions, known as logical partitions. This is, however, an ugly workaround that creates its own problems, such as difficulties installing multiple operating systems when too many of them want too many primary partitions to themselves.
since learning the above and trying workarounds (mostly involving grub) on systems that originally came installed in bios, i have chosen uefi when possible in both situations simply because it is "what's next" and has worked well.
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When I still had a BIOS system I did a BIOS install but now days with all the systems you buy that are UEFI I use efi install, it isn't anymore effort than a BIOS install.
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all the systems you buy that are UEFI I use efi install, it isn't anymore effort than a BIOS install.
Agreed, this HP desktop is capable of both, but I lust let the installer get on with it, my old lappy on the other hand is BIOS only, Both work well and the differences to the new user is virtually unnoticeable,
If BIOS would let me boot from external disks then that would have been my preferred choice.

Otherwise I really need the "UEFI magic". It sucks having to look for an EFI file to boot with because M$ were greedy about this and it seems to be a proprietary or restricted way to cause an EFI file to be pointed into a certain system, and that EFI file resides on the ESP on the same disk as that system. But the only difference is the disk has to be plugged in.

Please don't tell me about GRUB Customizer, EFI Boot Manager and weak stuff like that which do not work. I know that on at least one system I could do the GRUB ceremony, then restart and get that entry to boot into the same system again. However, once I unplug that disk and/or boot into anything else, then I want to boot into the system of that disk it's into the desert again.

I do not "dual-boot" with Windows like most people. That's all I should have said in the previous paragraph.

I cannot install anything to the internal HDD of my computer which could fail at any moment, it's been almost 12 years. However many Linux OS installations don't really care, either they want to take over the whole disk and don't want to share, or they always assume the internal disk for bootloader installation despite repeated efforts to get them to behave. I used to favor Calamares heavily over anything else that installs but that has been junk this year. The one for Q4OS insolently doesn't give me a proper UEFI entry that indicates the ESP of an external disk the system is installed into. Sparky Linux which has a KDE Plasma that I didn't like, could do this probably because they avoid "debian" as handle, or something else they do but aren't allowed to tell. Ubuntu could give at least two persistent entries and otherwise multiplies them LOL, when the user repeatedly boots into it and plays with GRUB.

Also it's because the ESP of that internal HDD is only 260MB and I have less than half of that remaining. This is only for Windows10 and three penguins, plus a 4GB "swap".
If BIOS would let me boot from external disks then that would have been my preferred choice.

All of my BIOS systems except 1 ( 4 out of 5 ) let me boot from external drives.
However I run all of them UEFI mode ( except one other that is not one of these 5 that is too old for EFI )
Doesn't your motherboard let you choose from where & what to boot, (usually a function key at start up, mine are F9 & F2)?

(May need to turn 'secure boot' off.)

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