While UEFI & GPT go together, I was wondering if Linux can be instilled and boot off MBR Partition type while in Native UEFI Mode?

  • I thought the whole idea behind UEFI was that you couldn't boot off the MBR, because you now have a new and shiny EFI partition that is much better.
    – Mr Lister
    Jun 23 '15 at 16:57
  • An MBR is the first sector of the disk, which (on BIOS-based computers) holds both a first-stage boot loader and a partition table. Given the context of the question, it sounds as if the question is focusing on the partition table aspect of MBR, not the boot loader it contains. If I'm mistaken, I ask pat2015 to clarify.
    – Rod Smith
    Jun 25 '15 at 0:56

Linux can certainly boot off an MBR disk in EFI mode. The trouble is that this type of configuration is poorly tested, and you may have problems getting your boot loader registered with the EFI. You might need to name your boot loader EFI/BOOT/bootx64.efi and rely on the EFI using this fallback filename.

Also, most Linux distributions' installation programs won't make it easy to set up this sort of configuration; you may need to install to GPT and convert that to MBR, or install in BIOS mode and then install an EFI boot loader after the fact.

All of which brings up the question: WHY? MBR partitioning offers precious few advantages over GPT. The main reason I can think of for favoring MBR is that it's supported by older OSes (DOS, BeOS, OS/2, etc.) -- but those OSes all boot exclusively in BIOS mode, so if you're dual-booting with one of them, you'll be better off installing Linux in BIOS mode, too, because boot-mode switching is pretty awkward. To be sure, it can be done, and there are tools that can help, but without understanding the reason for wanting to do what you're suggesting, it's hard to advise on what the best course of action would be.

  • 1
    I was wondering if GPT is a mandate for EFI. It seems that Windows 7 x64 or Win 8 does not install on MBR disk at all in EFI. While you will have to forgo benefits of GPT just if such a config was technically possible under Linux. Thanks Rod for the clarity.
    – patkim
    Jun 28 '15 at 9:52


Today, I was planning to install Ubuntu in native UEFI with GPT. But I forgot to reformat my SSD and installed Ubuntu in native UEFI mode with MBR partition table. As you can see from the picture here.

native UEFI + MBR partition table

I can't think of any reason to use MBR in native UEFI. And I need to reinstall my Ubuntu system.

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