refind-install(8) Install rEFInd to the ESP and create an NVRAM entry


refind-install [--notesp | --usedefault device-file | --root mount-point | --ownhfs device-file ] [--keepname ] [--nodrivers | --alldrivers] [--shim shim-filename] [--localkeys] [--yes]


To be useful, the rEFInd boot manager must be installed to the computer's EFI System Partition (ESP) or other EFI-accessible location. In most cases, an NVRAM entry describing rEFInd's location must also be created. These steps can be performed manually; however, the refind-install command provides an automated way to perform these tasks under both Linux and OS X. The exact behavior and options vary depending on the OS, however.

Some details that can affect how the script runs include the following:

If you run the script as an ordinary user, it attempts to acquire root privileges by using the sudo command. This works on Mac OS X and some Linux installations (such as under Ubuntu or if you've added yourself to the sudo users list), but on some Linux installations this will fail. On such systems, you should run refind-install as root.

Under OS X, you can run the script with a mouse by opening a Terminal session and then dragging-and-dropping the refind-install file to the Terminal window. You'll need to press the Return or Enter key to run the script.

If you're using OS X 10.7's Whole Disk Encryption (WDE) feature, or the loogical volumes feature in OS X 10.10, you must install rEFInd to the ESP or to a separate HFS+ partition. The default in rEFInd 0.8.4 and later is to install to the ESP. If you prefer to use a separate HFS+ volume, the --ownhfs device-file option to refind-install is required.

If you're not using WDE or logical volumes, you can install rEFInd to the OS X root (/) partition by using the --notesp option to refind-install. Using this option is recommended when upgrading from a working rEFInd installation in this location.

If you're replacing rEFIt with rEFInd on a Mac, there's a chance that refind-install will warn you about the presence of a program called /Library/StartupItems/rEFItBlesser and ask if you want to delete it. This program is designed to keep rEFIt set as the boot manager by automatically re-blessing it if the default boot manager changes. This is obviously undesirable if you install rEFInd as your primary boot manager, so it's generally best to remove this program. If you prefer to keep your options open, you can answer N when refind-install asks if you want to delete rEFItBlesser, and instead manually copy it elsewhere. If you subsequently decide to go back to using rEFIt as your primary boot manager, you can restore rEFItBlesser to its place.

If you intend to boot BIOS-based OSes on a UEFI-based PC, you must edit the refind.conf file's scanfor line to enable the relevant searches. This is not necessary on Macs, though; because of the popularity of dual boots with Windows on Macs, the BIOS/legacy scans are enabled by default on Macs.

On Linux, refind-install checks the filesystem type of the /boot directory and, if a matching filesystem driver is available, installs it. Note that the "/boot directory" may be on a separate partition or it may be part of your root (/) filesystem, in which case the driver for your root filesystem is installed. This feature is unlikely to work properly from an emergency system, although it might if you have a separate /boot partition and if you mount that partition at /boot in your emergency system, and the ESP at /boot/efi.

On OS X, refind-install checks your partition tables for signs of a Linux installation. If such a sign is found, the script installs the EFI filesystem driver for the Linux ext4 filesystem. This will enable rEFInd to read your Linux kernel if it's on an ext2, ext3, or ext4 filesystem. Note that some configurations will require a /boot/refind_linux.conf file, which can be reliably generated only under Linux. (The mkrlconf script that comes with rEFInd will do this job once you've booted Linux.) In the meantime, you can launch GRUB from rEFInd or press F2 or Insert twice after highlighting the Linux option in rEFInd. This will enable you to enter a root=/dev/whatever specification, where /dev/whatever is the device identifier of your Linux root (/) filesystem.

If you run refind-install on Linux and if /boot/refind_linux.conf doesn't already exist, refind-install creates this file and populates it with a few sample entries. If /boot is on a FAT partition (or HFS+ on a Mac), or if it's on an ext2fs, ext3fs, ext4fs, ReiserFS, Btrfs, or HFS+ partition and you install an appropriate driver, the result is that rEFInd will detect your kernel and will probably boot it correctly. Some systems will require manual tweaking to refind_linux.conf, though -- for instance, to add dolvm to the boot options on Gentoo systems that use LVM.

If you pass the --shim option to the script (along with a filename for a Shim binary), the script sets up for a Secure Boot configuration via Shim. By default, this causes the rEFInd binary to be renamed as grubx64.efi. Recent versions of Shim support passing the name of the follow-on program to Shim via a parameter, though. If you want to use this feature, you can pass the --keepname option to refind-install.

After you run refind-install, you should peruse the script's output to ensure that everything looks OK. refind-install displays error messages when it encounters errors, such as if the ESP is mounted read-only or if you run out of disk space. You may need to correct such problems manually and re-run the script. In some cases you may need to fall back on manual installation, which gives you better control over details such as which partition to use for installation.


This option, which is valid only under OS X, tells refind-install to install rEFInd to the OS X root partition rather than to the ESP. This behavior was the default in rEFInd 0.8.3 and earlier, so you may want to use it when upgrading installations of that version, unless you used --esp (which is now the default behavior, although the --esp option no longer exists) or --ownhfs. You may also want to use --notesp on new installations if you're sure you're not using whole-disk encryption or logical volumes.

--usedefault device-file
You can install rEFInd to a disk using the default/fallback filename of EFI/BOOT/bootx64.efi (as well as EFI/BOOT/bootia32.efi and EFI/BOOT/bootaa64.efi, if the IA-32 and ARM64 builds are available) using this option. The device-file should be an unmounted ESP, or at least a FAT partition, as in --usedefault /dev/sdc1. Your computer's NVRAM entries will not be modified when installing in this way. The intent is that you can create a bootable USB flash drive or install rEFInd on a computer that tends to "forget" its NVRAM settings with this option. This option is mutually exclusive with --notesp and --root.

--ownhfs device-file
This option should be used only under OS X. It's used to install rEFInd to an HFS+ volume other than a standard Mac boot volume. The result should be that rEFInd will show up in the Mac's own boot manager. More importantly, suspend-to-RAM operations may work correctly. Note that this option requires an HFS+ volume that is not currently an OS X boot volume. This can be a data volume or a dedicated rEFInd partition. The ESP might also work, if it's converted to use HFS+; however, HFS+ is a non-standard filesystem for an ESP, and so is not recommended.

--root mount-point
This option is intended to help install rEFInd from a "live CD" or other emergency system. To use it, you should mount your regular installation at /mount-point, including your /boot directory (if it's separate) at /mount-point/boot and (on Linux) your ESP at that location or at /mount-point/boot/efi. The refind-install script then installs rEFInd to the appropriate location -- on Linux, /mount-point/boot/EFI/refind or /mount-point/boot/efi/EFI/refind, depending on where you've mounted your ESP. Under OS X, this option is useful only in conjunction with --notesp, in which case rEFInd will install to /mount-point/EFI/refind. The script also adds an entry to your NVRAM for rEFInd at this location. You cannot use this option with --usedefault. Note that this option is not needed when doing a dual-boot Linux/OS X installation; just install normally in OS X.

Ordinarily refind-install attempts to install the driver required to read /boot on Linux. This attempt works only if you're using ext2fs, ext3fs, ext4fs, ReiserFS, or Btrfs on the relevant partition. If you want to forego this driver installation, pass the --nodrivers option. This option is implicit when you use --usedefault.

When you specify this option, refind-install copies all the driver files for your architecture. You may want to remove unused driver files after you use this option. Note that some computers hang or fail to work with any drivers if you use this option, so use it with caution.

--shim shim-filename or --preloader preloader-filename
If you pass this option to refind-install, the script will copy the specified shim program file to the target directory, copy the MokManager.efi file from the shim program file's directory to the target directory, copy the 64-bit version of rEFInd as grubx64.efi, and register shim with the firmware. (If you also specify --usedefault, the NVRAM registration is skipped. If you also use --keepname, the renaming to grubx64.efi is skipped.) When the target file is identified as PreLoader, much the same thing happens, but refind-install copies HashTool.efi instead of MokManager.efi and copies rEFInd as loader.efi rather than as grubx64.efi. The intent is to simplify rEFInd installation on a computer that uses Secure Boot; when so set up, rEFInd will boot in Secure Boot mode, with one caveat: The first time you boot, MokManager/HashTool will launch, and you must use it to locate and install a public key or register rEFInd as a trusted application. The rEFInd public key file will be located in the rEFInd directory's keys subdirectory under the name refind.cer.

This option tells refind-install to generate a new Machine Owner Key (MOK), store it in /etc/refind.d/keys as refind_local.*, and re-sign all the 64-bit rEFInd binaries with this key before installing them. This is the preferable way to install rEFInd in Secure Boot mode, since it means your binaries will be signed locally rather than with my own key, which is used to sign many other users' binaries; however, this method requires that both the openssl and sbsign binaries be installed. The former is readily available in most distributions' repositories, but the latter is not, so this option is not the default.

This option is useful only in conjunction with --shim. It tells refind-install to keep rEFInd's regular filename (typically refind_x64.efi) when used with shim, rather than rename the binary to grubx64.efi. This change cuts down on the chance of confusion because of filename issues; however, this feature requires that shim be launched with a command-line parameter that points to the rEFInd binary under its real name. versions of shim prior to 0.7 do not properly support this feature. (Version 0.4 supports it but with a buggy interpretation of the follow-on loader specification.) If your NVRAM variables become corrupted or are forgotten, this feature may make rEFInd harder to launch. This option is incompatible with --usedefault and is unavailable when run under OS X or without the --shim option. If the script discovers an existing rEFInd installation under EFI/BOOT or EFI/Microsoft/Boot and no other rEFInd installation when this option is used, it will abort.

This option causes the script to assume a Y input to every yes/no prompt that can be generated under certain conditions, such as if you specify --shim but refind-install detects no evidence of a Secure Boot installation. This option is intended mainly for use by scripts such as those that might be used as part of an installation via an RPM or Debian package.


Primary author: Roderick W. Smith ([email protected])


The refind-install command is part of the rEFInd package and is available from Roderick W. Smith.