I installed grub on a EFI based system. So I have the EFI partition on /dev/sdc2 and my LUKS container in /dev/sdc5. I have only one linux partition in the LUKS container. So even /boot with the stage 2 of grub is encrypted.

When the system boots the EFI boots the grub entry and grub stage 1 loads. This tries to open the LUKS container in /dev/sdc5 and wants a password.

This is the time where I want to have a german layout instead of the english-us one. I know how to change the layout in grub stage 2 but how do I change it in stage 1. Is this even possible?

OS is Debian Jessie.

  • Have you seen this? forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=76833 Sep 18, 2015 at 16:27
  • @MariusMatutiae This seems to be about stage 2 of grub. That's the easy part. My problem is that I use GRUB to unlock my LUKS partition. This is done by stage 1 which sits in the MBR of your harddrive and is only around 500 bytes big.
    – XenGi
    Sep 21, 2015 at 14:49
  • There's an instruction in the arch wiki that claims to work: ArchWiki - Custom keyboard layout
    – 1125
    Oct 8, 2016 at 21:12
  • Grub2 has no "stage 1" or "stage 2". That was how legacy grub worked.
    – psusi
    Mar 14, 2017 at 13:05
  • 1
    Maybe they aren't called that anymore but there are still two parts of grub. The one that loads before the decryption and the one after. And in a bios setup this should be basically the same as stage 1 and 2. For UEFI you have more space so the grub binary in your ESP can do a lot more stuff.
    – XenGi
    Mar 14, 2017 at 13:59

2 Answers 2


Since you're using EFI with an encrypted /boot, I'm assuming you're already familiar with grub-mkstandalone

Add in /etc/default/grub :


Add in /etc/grub.d/40_custom :

insmod keylayouts
keymap /boot/grub/de.gkb

Next run grub-kbdcomp -o /tmp/de.gkb de to generate the german grub layout.

Now all you need to do is add "boot/grub/de.gkb=/tmp/de.gkb" to your grub-mkstandalone command. In my case it looks like this:

grub-mkstandalone -d /usr/lib/grub/x86_64-efi/ -O x86_64-efi --compress="xz" --modules="part_gpt part_msdos crypto cryptodisk luks disk diskfilter lvm" --fonts="unicode" -o "/boot/efi/EFI/linux/grubx64.efi" "boot/grub/grub.cfg=/tmp/grub.cfg" "boot/grub/de.gkb=/tmp/de.gkb"
  • So this generate an UEFI binary with grub and the defined layout? That's pretty cool thx!
    – XenGi
    Mar 14, 2017 at 13:49
  • Yes. You can also use this to include background images etc (if you want to personalize your grub menu).
    – Darky
    Mar 14, 2017 at 14:33

It cannot be done, see this Introduction to Grub2 which states explicitly:

Important: Keyboard Layout during the Boot Procedure

The US keyboard layout is the only one available when booting

  • This can't work because the kernel and initramfs is on the encrypted partition and not accessible until the drive is unlocked. That's not even a solution if I would be in stage 2.
    – XenGi
    Sep 22, 2015 at 23:31
  • thx, haven't seen this in the docs.
    – XenGi
    Sep 23, 2015 at 10:07
  • I think this is outdated because I'm currently trying to set my grub back to the US layout from us-dvorak.
    – pyansharp
    Mar 4, 2022 at 4:21

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