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I am currently considering moving to UEFI/GPT on my system. I plan to install Windows first and use the ESP created by Windows. My first major question is this: Will Windows automatically use the GPT scheme when installing when it detects that that the system is booted in UEFI? Or will it force using MBR? I read here that Windows supports booting from disks larger than 2TB, one of the features of GPT, but not that it supports GPT necessarily. My second question is this: The Arch Wiki tells me to mount the ESP at /boot, but where is this supposed directory? Is it the /boot dir of the Arch install? If so, should I after installing chroot into the system and mount the ESP at /boot manually, or should I allow the refind-install script to automatically detect and mount my ESP when I install rEFInd?. Thanks for your help.

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A reasonably modern version of Windows will support GPT and will definitely not force using MBR when the PC is booted in UEFI mode.

The Arch Wiki recommends mounting the ESP on /boot is because /boot is where the pacman tool installs new kernels when they are updated. The ESP is where we want the kernel (and the initrd) to be, otherwise the firmware can't find it, since the ESP is the only file partition the firmware can read.

If you install Windows first, then the ESP will exist when you install Arch. You should set up Arch so that the ESP is mounted on /boot by editing /etc/fstab. I doubt the rEFInd installation helps you with that.

A simpler alternative to rEFInd is systemd-boot, which is included with systemd. Systemd-boot and rEFInd are both boot managers, i.e. operating system choosers. Systemd-boot is easier to configure of the two, but it does not come with the fancy graphics that rEFInd does.

  • Yeah, I realised how idiotic my question about GPT was after thinking about it. It's just that I always have this idea in my head of Windows using outdated technologies. – Aboleth Jan 6 '17 at 20:26

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