I tried to install the latest stable Debian release (Debian 7.0 "Wheezy") using the Debian Multi-arch netinstall (AMD64) "debian-7.0.0-amd64-i386-netinst.iso" on my laptop. My laptop has a SecureCore Tiano™ firmware set to "UEFI only".

Due to specific requirements:

  • EFI only installation
  • GPT partition table
  • Encrypted LVMs

I encountered an issue/bug during the bootloader install step in expert mode: GRUB/default Debian installer bootloader installation failed.

I need to boot on a Debian live CD/USB in order to update/install GRUB EFI and repair the installed Debian system on the laptop (which currently miss a bootloader).

I build a Debian 7.0 Live CD with the "AMD64 rescue+non free" ISO but the live CD won't boot in UEFI only mode (where the regular Debian DVD install does).

Problem is: My second PC runs Windows 7 and I need to build a Live EFI friendly Debian CD/USB on that platform.

I used Pendrive Linux "Universal USB Installer" which can't build "EFI enabled" bootable USB (I experienced this issue previously with the Debian 7.0 "Wheezy" installer: no UEFI only boot).

I need to create a Debian Live on USB bootable in EFI mode, what tool/settings should I consider?


5 Answers 5


What do you want from that LiveCD? Maybe a DVD that boots for you is fine for that if it lends you a shell (try Ctrl-Alt-F2/F3/...) and provides the tools needed.

Try getting to the console, chrooting into the system installed (but lacking the bootloader) and running grub-install (with no additional arguments) by hand to see the error message. Did you mount ESP into /boot/efi/?

Rod's books page on the topic is also highly recommended.

How exactly did you write the ISO to the pendrive? dd(1) or a win32 equivalent like SUSE Image Writer should do fine.

Shameless plug: I have implemented UEFI support in ALT Linux, and if our regular builds work for you then I can probably translate/explain the relevant bits of mkimage-profiles documentation so you can prepare the derivative needed (or use it to prepare a bootable root so that you can work on your Debian installation with comfort). Didn't get around to testing wheezy's release UEFI behaviour but d-i beta4 had some troubles with bootloader installation as well.

  • Thanks for your feedback. Despite claims regarding UEFI being supported for recent distributions, install process is quite painfull. Installation itself might be off-topic here, so I would start a new question. Anyway, I tried UEFI install with: Ubuntu 12.04.1/2, 12.10, 13.04, Fedora 18, OpenSuse 12.3 (UEFI only Firmware setup, GPT partition table, first FAT32 partition with "boot" flag,named "EFI"). Those either fail to install bootloader OR don't boot in UEFI mode only. Regarding Debian, I tried to chroot into the installed system to reinstall grub-efi-* without success.
    – g0lem
    Commented May 21, 2013 at 10:19
  • Well you might try ALT, even if it ends up lurking as a rescue flashdrive/partition :) Wish I could help you with Debian but I had the same experience with it and didn't bother fixing a test installation of d-i beta4 ("they will sure fix it before release!")... openSUSE 12.2 did install just fine in UEFI only environment for me though. Commented Jun 6, 2013 at 11:53

I would highly recommend YUMI if you are making this on windows, its a subset of pendrive tho i found it far more straight forward and much easier to load multiple bootable isos onto link:http://www.pendrivelinux.com/yumi-multiboot-usb-creator/ also super easy to edit the grub menu if you are into that sort of thing.


tails linux 1.2 is the only bootable usb on UEFI system Medion computor. Disable secure boot. Press F2 on startup to get into boot menu. Move usb boot above Windows 8. Continue with boot.


Until now, UEFI support exists only in installation images, Debian's live images do not have support for UEFI boot !

Fore more information check Debian's UEFI Wiki page.

  • This has changed / since Debian 9 its been supported for both
    – Angry 84
    Commented Nov 26, 2022 at 8:27

I know 3 straight forward ways of creating bootable USB keys from Windows:

  • This doesn't address the requirement of being (U)EFI-bootable at all. Commented Nov 10, 2013 at 22:41

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