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Thread: Upgrading an existing openSUSE installation from a standard BIOS motherboard to UEFI

  1. #1
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    Default Upgrading an existing openSUSE installation from a standard BIOS motherboard to UEFI

    I'm planning to do a hardware upgrade and require help with one aspect. Until today I've been using a motherboard from 2010, very good but now ancient in terms of features. I'm about to get a modern mobo, but this implies an important change: The old one has the classic type of BIOS, while the new one uses UEFI and potentially SecureBoot. I have openSUSE Tumbleweed installed on my existing mobo and don't wish to reinstall from scratch: I'll be plugging the same hard drives into the new board and trying to boot that as usual.

    I need to know if there's anything I must do once changing the motherboard, such as reinstalling the boot loader from a rescue console in order for it to handle the new architecture. Will GRUB2 automatically recognize the switch from an old BIOS to a UEFI motherboard, or do I have to run dracut again and reinstall the boot loader once the new mobo is plugged in? If so then what are the exact commands I will need to use?

    I'm assuming openSUSE can handle other hardware differences on my existing install. For instance my current motherboard uses an Intel Xeon CPU, the new one will be an AMD Ryzen... also DDR3 versus DDR4. Is it correct to assume my existing install will automatically adapt to all those architecture changes once booting with the new devices? I believe they're read by the Kernel on boot, not configured permanently in the OS installation... so I'm hoping this won't be an issue.
    openSUSE Tumbleweed x64, KDE Framework 5

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    Default Re: Upgrading an existing openSUSE installation from a standard BIOS motherboard to UEFI

    Quote Originally Posted by MirceaKitsune View Post
    I have openSUSE Tumbleweed installed on my existing mobo and don't wish to reinstall from scratch: I'll be plugging the same hard drives into the new board and trying to boot that as usual.
    Probably the simplest way would be to enable "legacy" booting on the new motherboard, if it supports it, most newer boards offer the option.
    Regards, Paul

    2x Tumbleweed (Snapshot: 20191118) KDE Plasma 5
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    Default Re: Upgrading an existing openSUSE installation from a standard BIOS motherboard to UEFI

    Quote Originally Posted by tannington View Post
    Probably the simplest way would be to enable "legacy" booting on the new motherboard, if it supports it, most newer boards offer the option.
    Good to know, I might do that if it does. But I'd rather not be stuck using legacy settings if I can help it. In case I'm not given this option, how do I tell GRUB2 to work with the new architecture? Can I perhaps configure it in advance to support both legacy and UEFI?
    openSUSE Tumbleweed x64, KDE Framework 5

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    Default Re: Upgrading an existing openSUSE installation from a standard BIOS motherboard to UEFI

    https://en.opensuse.org/openSUSE:UEFI

    This page offers a limited explanation, but doesn't dive into how to upgrade an existing installation without having to reinstall the whole OS from scratch.

    I also understand that UEFI might be tied to changes in partitioning: The old method uses MBR, the new one apparently has an alternative called GPT. Is is possible to redo the partitioning on the root drive and convert mbr to gpt? Do I actually need to do this at all, or does UEFI work well with existing mbr based setups?
    openSUSE Tumbleweed x64, KDE Framework 5

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    Default Re: Upgrading an existing openSUSE installation from a standard BIOS motherboard to UEFI

    I never would try to change a MBR partitioned disk into an GPT one in situ with expecting the partitions (and all the data on them) being untouched.

    To begin with the GPT partition table is larger then the MBR one, thus everything must be moved towards the end (impossible when the disk is full with partitions). And so on.
    Henk van Velden

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    Default Re: Upgrading an existing openSUSE installation from a standard BIOS motherboard to UEFI

    Seems I panicked over nothing regarding the partitioning: "parted -l" tells me I'm already using gpt and not mbr. Phew!

    Code:
    mircea@linux-qz0r:~> sudo parted -l
    [sudo] password for root: 
    Model: ATA ADATA SU900 (scsi)
    Disk /dev/sda: 256GB
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
    Partition Table: gpt
    Disk Flags: 
    
    Number  Start   End    Size   File system  Name  Flags
     1      1049kB  256GB  256GB  ext4               legacy_boot
    
    
    Model: ATA ST32000641AS (scsi)
    Disk /dev/sdb: 2000GB
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
    Partition Table: msdos
    Disk Flags: 
    
    Number  Start   End     Size    Type     File system  Flags
     1      1049kB  2000GB  2000GB  primary  ext4         type=83
    I'm assuming the latest openSUSE version I did a fresh install with managed to use gpt with my old motherboard. Or perhaps it's EFI enabled: My current mobo is a GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD7 Rev. 1.0, I understand it should be new enough to have EFI but not UEFI.
    openSUSE Tumbleweed x64, KDE Framework 5

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    Default Re: Upgrading an existing openSUSE installation from a standard BIOS motherboard to UEFI

    Quote Originally Posted by MirceaKitsune View Post
    I'm already using gpt and not mbr.
    It is not the point. To boot in UEFI mode you need extra partition (ESP - EFI System Partition). Size depends, openSUSE installer will complain if it is less than 256MB but technically as long as you will use only one openSUSE, ESP will only contain small bootloader binary.

    ESP can be located on any disk accessible to firmware. Once you managed to create this partition (or at least free space for it), come back and we can discuss next steps.

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    Default Re: Upgrading an existing openSUSE installation from a standard BIOS motherboard to UEFI

    You might be "over thinking" this one ...

    As you're keeping your existing drives and software installation I'd definitely go down the route of setting the new MB to legacy booting.

    I've been there myself, swapping a Gigabyte GA-MA770 (non UEFI) for a Gigabyte GA-970A (UEFI), and that was the option I chose, use legacy booting.

    There was no obvious benefit I could see in using UEFI, which together with the attendant need to mess around with an existing software setup, seemed not only the easiest, but the safest way to go.

    If in the future you do a new install, then you can use that opportunity to switch to UEFI booting.

    Each to their own, others may offer differing views...
    Regards, Paul

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    Default Re: Upgrading an existing openSUSE installation from a standard BIOS motherboard to UEFI

    Quote Originally Posted by arvidjaar View Post
    It is not the point. To boot in UEFI mode you need extra partition (ESP - EFI System Partition). Size depends, openSUSE installer will complain if it is less than 256MB but technically as long as you will use only one openSUSE, ESP will only contain small bootloader binary.

    ESP can be located on any disk accessible to firmware. Once you managed to create this partition (or at least free space for it), come back and we can discuss next steps.
    So there will be a bit of extra trouble involved with partitioning. My root drive is 256 GB so a 256 MB partition is no issue. The root partition will likely need to be resized however, meaning I must boot into Rescue Mode from the openSUSE USB installation stick.

    Is there a command to automatically do this and redo the partitioning, without endangering the existing data on my root partition? Can I prepare this ESP partition in advance with my existing (non-UEFI) motherboard?

    As far as SecureBoot is concerned I should have no issues: Their BIOS should allow me to not just disable it, but also clear and import keys as needed:

    https://www.technorms.com/45538/disa...i-bios-utility
    openSUSE Tumbleweed x64, KDE Framework 5

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    Default Re: Upgrading an existing openSUSE installation from a standard BIOS motherboard to UEFI

    Quote Originally Posted by MirceaKitsune View Post
    redo the partitioning, without endangering the existing data on my root partition?
    I want my pony too.

    Seriously, there are tools to resize and re-partition. Any such action means risk to existing data. You are always advised to have backup before attempting it. I did not use any of these tools, may be someone may share experience.
    Can I prepare this ESP partition in advance with my existing (non-UEFI) motherboard?
    Yes. Disk partitioning does not depend on boot mode.

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