Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

UEFI vs Legacy: Which is Better for Linux?

Ubuntu 15

When setting up a Linux system, one of the decisions you’ll need to make is whether to use UEFI or Legacy (BIOS) boot mode. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, and the choice between the two can impact your system’s performance and compatibility. This article will delve into the differences between UEFI and Legacy boot modes, and help you decide which is the better choice for your Linux system.

Understanding UEFI and Legacy Boot Modes

Before we dive into the comparison, let’s briefly understand what UEFI and Legacy boot modes are.

UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) is a modern method of handling the boot process and is designed to replace BIOS (Basic Input/Output System). It provides a more flexible and customizable way of booting up your system, with features like GUI-based setup, network boot capabilities, and support for disk drives larger than 2.2 TB.

Legacy Boot, also known as BIOS, is the traditional boot method used by systems for decades. It’s simpler and more compatible with older hardware, but lacks the advanced features and flexibility offered by UEFI.

Boot Mode and Hardware Initialization

The boot mode you choose doesn’t generally affect the performance of your system or the compatibility of your hardware. However, certain hardware components may be initialized differently depending on the boot mode, which could potentially affect driver support and functionality. This is more common with older hardware or specific devices like video cards.

Bleeding-edge Hardware and Special Configuration

If you’re using newer or less common hardware, it might have limited Linux support or require special configuration. In such cases, it’s recommended to research and ask specific questions about each device that isn’t working properly. Testing both boot modes (UEFI and Legacy) can help determine which one works better for your hardware.

Dual-Booting Considerations

If you’re planning to dual-boot with an existing operating system, it’s generally best to use the same boot mode as the one already in use. This ensures compatibility and avoids complications during the boot process.

Complexity and Knowledge

Legacy booting can sometimes complicate the boot process, especially if you already have an EFI-mode OS installed. However, knowledge of BIOS-mode boot processes is more widespread, which can be advantageous for troubleshooting on a single-OS system.

Boot Loaders

The choice of boot loaders can differ between UEFI and Legacy. If you prefer a specific boot loader that is only available in one mode, that can influence your decision. Currently, there are some EFI-specific boot managers without BIOS counterparts.

Secure Boot

UEFI includes the Secure Boot feature, which can help control the boot process and prevent unauthorized code from running. If you’re willing to put in the effort, you can even use Secure Boot to restrict Windows from running on your computer.

GPT and Disk Size

UEFI is the standard for booting from disks larger than 2 TiB using the GPT partitioning scheme. While GPT offers some advantages, it may present problems when booting in Legacy mode. However, for Linux-only systems or booting from smaller disks, the choice between GPT and MBR is less critical.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether UEFI or Legacy boot mode is better for a Linux system. It depends on various factors such as your hardware, specific device compatibility, dual-booting requirements, boot loader preferences, and disk size. It is advisable to research and test both modes to determine which one works best for your specific setup.

Remember, the ultimate goal is to have a smoothly running Linux system, and the choice between UEFI and Legacy is just one step in that process. Don’t hesitate to seek help from Linux communities and forums if you run into any issues.

What is the difference between UEFI and Legacy boot modes?

UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) is a modern method of handling the boot process and offers more flexibility and advanced features compared to Legacy (BIOS) boot mode.

Does the choice of boot mode affect the performance of my Linux system?

The choice of boot mode generally does not impact the performance of your system. However, certain hardware components may be initialized differently depending on the boot mode, which could potentially affect driver support and functionality.

Which boot mode is more compatible with older hardware?

Legacy boot mode (BIOS) is generally more compatible with older hardware, as it has been the traditional boot method used for decades.

Should I choose UEFI or Legacy if I have bleeding-edge hardware or special configurations?

If you have newer or less common hardware, it is recommended to research and test both UEFI and Legacy boot modes to determine which one works better for your specific hardware. Special configurations may also require testing to ensure compatibility.

If I want to dual-boot with an existing operating system, which boot mode should I choose?

It is generally best to use the same boot mode as the existing operating system to ensure compatibility and avoid complications during the boot process.

Does Legacy booting complicate the boot process compared to UEFI?

Legacy booting can sometimes complicate the boot process, especially if you already have an EFI-mode OS installed. However, knowledge of BIOS-mode boot processes is more widespread, which can be advantageous for troubleshooting on a single-OS system.

Can the choice of boot mode affect the choice of boot loaders?

Yes, the choice of boot mode can influence the availability and compatibility of boot loaders. Some boot loaders are specific to either UEFI or Legacy boot mode.

What is Secure Boot and does it impact the choice of boot mode?

Secure Boot is a feature included in UEFI that helps control the boot process and prevent unauthorized code from running. It does not impact the choice of boot mode, but it is a feature exclusive to UEFI.

Does the choice of boot mode affect the choice of partitioning scheme?

Yes, UEFI is the standard for booting from disks larger than 2 TiB using the GPT partitioning scheme. Legacy boot mode may present problems when booting from GPT-partitioned disks.

Is there a definitive answer as to which boot mode is better for a Linux system?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The choice between UEFI and Legacy boot mode depends on various factors such as hardware compatibility, dual-booting requirements, boot loader preferences, and disk size. It is advisable to research and test both modes to determine which one works best for your specific setup.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *