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I have Arch Linux installed on my computer at home, and I recently wanted to test some things out in Ubuntu. So I tried to install Ubuntu entirely on a USB drive, so that it wouldn't affect my Arch installation.

In Ubuntu's installation process I chose Installation Type → Something else and in the Device for boot loader installation section I chose (I think) the USB drive. After the installation, the filesystem had been installed to the USB drive, but the boot loader had been installed onto the SSD drive in my computer. I knew this because the BIOS Boot Menu shows:

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Despite this mistake, the installation worked and didn't seem to mess up my Arch installation. But I'm now done with Ubuntu and want to remove everything associated with it. So while I can just remove the USB drive, the Ubuntu bootloader still shows in the BIOS, and I'm not sure how to delete it.

Part of my confusion is that I'm not entirely sure where the Ubuntu boot loader was installed to. The Ubuntu installation didn't create another partition on my SSD. After looking around online, my guess is that it was installed to the same Master Boot Record and boot partition on my SSD that I originally had for Arch.

In summary, my question is: Is there any way to delete the Ubuntu boot loader from my computer?

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  • In UEFI mode it can be difficult to avoid tampering with the internal drive, when you install a system into a USB drive. But you can unplug, disconnect or disable the internal drive before the installation. Then things will be installed where you want it. – sudodus Oct 4 '19 at 8:55
  • @sudodus that's a good idea – Trevor Oct 5 '19 at 1:16
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What you want to delete in your boot menu is some stray boot manager entries. From the efibootmgr man page:

efibootmgr is a userspace application used to modify the UEFI Boot Manager. This application can create and destroy boot entries, change the boot order, change the next running boot option, and more.

From the UEFI Shell there is the bcfg command. To me this seems more direct (well once you have booted into uefi shell).

This confused me, too. In my boot menu I can only drag-and-drop the boot order.

And maybe you can take a look at the EFI System Partition, if there are additional BOOT or EFI dirs with .EFI files. That would be the stray boot loaders themselves.

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