Can't do EUFI Install

I have an old Dell laptop, dual boot, half Windows 10, half AlmaLinux 8.6. Now I’m trying to do a clean install of 9.1 but getting tripped up with UEFI.
An 8.6 USB stick boots fine, but 8.7 and higher fails on boot with:
Failed to read header: Unsupported
Failed to load image: Unsupported
start_image() returned Unsupported.
Narrowed it down to UEFI vs. Legacy choice. Legacy works.
What happened between 8.6 and 8.7? I’ve spent hours with various BIOS settings, reading about partition formatting types, etc.
There must be something basic I’m missing, right?

How did you create the Alma 9.1 USB?

Technically the 8.7 is the “highest” AlmaLinux 8 that exists. AlmaLinux 9 is a different distro.
That said, although 8 and 9 are separate, they have received similar content/updates.

didn’t 32-bit uefi support just get deprecated? like on old mac mini’s and netbooks etc? you need to have a proper 64-bit uefi to run a 64-bit os.

quick google seems to show some fedora people with the same problem:

looks like the executive summary is:

  • in the EFI/BOOT directory on the usb stick, delete BOOTX64.EFI and BOOTIA32.EFI

  • rename grubx64.efi and grubia32.efi to BOOTX64.EFI and BOOTIA32.EFI respectively

but won’t work with secureboot enabled.

this workaround may be better - get the files from the older shim (8.6 you said works) although probably won’t work with 9.x:

Getting installer loaded is only a temporary solution, if it then installs the non-functional *.efi for the system to use. Well, perhaps one could keep the old *.efi on media (e.g. USB) and always boot from it.

First thing first, is the root cause really the lack of “proper 64-bit uefi”? How old is the laptop?

I created the USB drive the exact same way I’ve created probably 80 of them over the past dozen years. Using the dd(1) command

Laptop was purchased in July 2014. It’s my beat it up play toy until it dies. Mostly it just drives my telescope.
Don’t know what a “shim” is. I come from an older, simpler world where you hand-coded disk drive interleave factors into the kernel and AT&T System 5 came on a 1/2 inch 9-track tape. Boy, those babies could hold 100MB!!

A whopping 100MB!! Lucky you – we had to cope with just …

I’m not entirely clear on all the EFI details either, but:

  1. UEFI is able to load and execute *.efi binaries from the ESP (EFI System Partition)
  2. Secure Boot (if enabled) allows only signed binaries to be loaded. (This extends to kernel and kernel modules) The idea is that nobody can trivially boot with unsigned (and possibly naughty) OS

Apparently, the first *.efi binary – the shim – is signed and does merely load second *.efi binary – the GRUB. Luckily, only Windows 11 requires Secure Boot; neither Windows 10 nor Linux does.

Is the Windows 10 a 32-bit or 64-bit?

Going to drop this. I experimented with 3 other laptops, all newer and they all worked fine. Going to take the old laptop out to the desert range and say good-bye to it. Over and over again.

Thanks to everyone for their feedback. It pointed me in the right direction.

1 Like