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To be complete, it won't get to grub without going through the boot menu - even if the disk is the only option in the boot menu. (It's annoying enough that I have to hit F10 every time I boot that I never allowed it to finish booting, though it might have.)

I'm using Linux Mint (the latest), installed off a USB disk, booting from an mSATA drive. There are no other drives in the system and I've turned network booting off. Windows is not involved anywhere.

The Question: how can I boot Linux from a GPT-formatted mSATA disk on this motherboard?

(I'm now reinstalling, having re-formatted the drive MBR/msdos in hopes that this will work, so I'm mostly interested academically. I'm not done setting the build up, though, so I can reformat and reinstall to try things if that'd be useful.)

Edit: I should also mention that either a) the drive came MBR-formatted from the factory or b) the Mint installer formatted the disk MBR. I'm not really certain which. When I noticed this in the first install, I changed the partition table to GPT, and thus our story begins.

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I mostly wanted to use GPT because it's "better", i.e., no particular reason. All my Intel Macs are GPT, so why not have everything use that? – CajunLuke Feb 22 '13 at 6:22
up vote 1 down vote accepted

This is a guess that you likely won't be able to confirm, given that you're now re-installing, but....

My guess is that you installed in BIOS mode on a GPT disk. I'm not familiar with recent Intel motherboards, but as of a couple of years ago, Intel boards with that configuration required that the EFI protective partition in the MBR (the type-0xEE partition that spans the whole disk) be marked as bootable in order to enable BIOS-mode booting from GPT disks. Alternatively, you could have gotten it to work by creating an EFI System Partition (ESP), installing an EFI-mode boot loader, and booting in EFI mode.

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So I'd need an extra partition. I'll keep that in mind if I reinstall. Is there any benefit to using a GPT disk over MBR or am I being silly? – CajunLuke Feb 23 '13 at 3:15
You need an extra partition to install in EFI mode or to use GRUB 2 on BIOS mode on a GPT disk. These partitions are small, though, and so can usually be carved out of existing partitions with minimal shrinkage. There are advantages to GPT, but most of them are minor; see for details. – Rod Smith Feb 23 '13 at 18:33
Thanks. I don't plan on using more than two partitions (boot and swap) on this drive, so MBR will serve fine. Thanks! (BTW, that last link is really well-written. and informative.) – CajunLuke Feb 23 '13 at 19:46

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