I'm quite confused about boot sequence and terminology, so I might bungle this question, but...I'm looking to create a USB-based boot manager to boot an OS (Linux) from another USB stick with its own boot loader (grub). The Linux USB disk is intended to be portable and to be booted on any modern PC with USB boot but inaccessible HDD and BIOS.

I already have a Linux USB disk that is configured to boot in Legacy mode. As a bootable-USB, it works fine when I can disable UEFI on the PC, but it will not boot otherwise, and I don't want to assume that target host will allow UEFI to be disabled. If possible, I want to make a second bootable-USB stick that can be used to boot from the primary Linux USB disk when UEFI+secure boot is enable on host PC.

A lot of boot managers I found on internet seem to assume that the target PC & OS are fixed-configuration and that the boot-manager is collocated with OS. I looked at Plop, but it doesn't seem to work with UEFI. What are my options here?

  • Grub can do UEFI... You will need to create an efi Partition on the usb stick and then install grub. Have a look at the archlinux wiki: wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/GRUB#UEFI_systems – rudib Oct 25 '17 at 15:25
  • @rudib If possible, I do not what to change the OS USB to boot in UEFI. I want a boot manager on a separate USB. – codechimp Oct 25 '17 at 18:03
  • i was talking about 'the separate USB stick', sorry if that was unclear. It doesn't really matter where grub is installed, you can do it on the same stick or on another one. – rudib Oct 25 '17 at 18:07
  • You will not be able to chain load boot loaders from UEFI to legacy and then back to UEFI. Therefor the boot loader needs to start Linux on your other USB pin directly skipping over its version of Grub. If you want it dedicated to this purpose thats one thing. Its quite another to have it auto detect any other Linux on any other USB. – jdwolf Oct 25 '17 at 23:13

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