Using the GUID Partition Table and RAID 1, the bootloader (syslinux or GRUB) is not able to boot into the machine, which was installed with Arch Linux.

First off, there are two drives identical drives setup to use software RAID level 1. The two drives are partitioned as follows:

  • sd[ab]1 as md2
  • sb[ab]2 as md1
  • sb[ab]3 as md0

Then the md0 is set to VolGroupArray and then split using LVM, one as / (root) and the other as /home, md1 is set as the SWAP, and md2 is set as /boot.

Running the following command grub-install --target=i386-pc --recheck --debug /dev/md2 the subsequent error occurs.

/usr/bin/grub-bios-setup warning: Embedding is not possible. GRUB can only be installed in this setup by using blocklists. However, blocklists are UNRELIABLE and their use is discouraged..
/usr/bin/grub-bios-setup error: will not proceed with blocklists

My questions:

  • Should I not install GRUB on a RAID partition?
  • What type of filesystem should the boot partition be?
  • What are blocklists?
  • What is good/bad about the partition scheme listed above?

Is it feasible to create a single partition on sda and sdb (/dev/sda1 and /dev/sdb1) mirror to that with RAID1 (/dev/md0) and then install LVM on md0, then create a boot, home, root, and swap partitions on the LVM? With this schema can GRUB or syslinux boot a RAID LVM boot partition? Why or why not?

  • 1
    With GPT you usually need either an EFI system partition or a BIOS Boot partition. I prefer the latter as it's usually simpler. It gives GRUB a place to embed itself without resorting to blocklists. You install it to /dev/sda and /dev/sdb. Oct 15, 2013 at 20:22
  • Do you know how large the BIOS boot partition should be? Is there an associated file system for that partition? Also should I RAID the bios boot partition too? Is that even possible? Should the BIOS boot partition be the first /dev/sdx1?
    – DanCat
    Oct 15, 2013 at 23:33
  • It doesn't have to be particularly large. If your current first partition starts at 1MiB, you can squeeze it in before that. Oct 16, 2013 at 10:21

1 Answer 1


The PC only boots from an individual disk, so that is where you must install grub. Note that you can install it on each of the disks individually in case one fails, then the other can be used. Grub2 also does not require a dedicated /boot partition; it can boot from lvm on draid directly.

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