Installed Silverblue in separate partition, now can't boot any other distros

Hi all,

I tried Silverblue a couple of years ago, but eventually decided that there was too much “flakiness” in it for me (I’m not particularly techie, I just like playing with Linux), and thought I’d leave it to mature a bit before I had another look.

I have a few different Lilnux distros installed on my computer (not Windo$e though). So I installed Silverblue in a separate partition (actually partitions) without reading any of the warnings about dual booting it. Just charged in and did it. From my previous experience installing SB I knew that it was essentially pointless trying to manually set partitions, and the only method that worked reliably was to click the “let Fedora create a partition scheme for you” button, so I did that. There’s plenty of space on the disk I was installing on, so I just let it do its thing. It installed fine, and ran fine, and everything was beautiful until I wanted to boot back into my daily driver (Mint. Yes, I know…) and found I could only boot into Fedora.

I used efibootmgr to reset the boot order with Refind first (I use Refind bootloader, and have done for decades, I’ve never used grub), and rebooted, only to find Fedora booted again. Went into efibootmgr again and reset the boot order again, and this time deleted the Fedora boot option from the list. Rebooted, and Fedora booted again, no sign of Refind.

So I booted into Mint from a USB drive, and deleted the Fedora partitions. Like I said I’m not very techie, and this was the only way I could think of to get Refind (and my daily driver) back.

So, is it possible to get Fedora to play nice with other distros? If so, how? I know Refind can manage multiple /boot/efi partitions, and can usually find any bootable disk, so I’m reasonably confident it could boot Fedora if it was there, but how do I prevent Fedora from overwriting the boot order every time its booted?

Thanks,

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Just a guess: you use rEFInd to boot Mint, right? Mint is not signed by Micro$ so they can’t natively boot with UEFI secureboot.

I dont know if Mint enrolls custom Secureboot keys, but if it didnt it may be that it booted in legacy mode all the time.

Now Fedora is signed by Micro$ so it can natively boot on secureboot UEFI.

You may have disabled secureboot, but it may still be that your BIOS prefers UEFI over legacy boot, so it will always boot an available UEFI entry first, which is Fedora.

To fix this you need to make Mint boot in UEFI mode (with or without secureboot), or change your BIOS boot preference, but I would recommend the former.

Btw I would give Silverblue another try, I would personally rebase to ublue to have everything working as expected (Flathub, Distrobox, media codecs etc).

Hello @mogplus8 ,
I don’t know about Refind, but I switched to systemd-boot after I upgraded my system, and I find it superior to Grub2 for simplicity of boot and it behaves as expected with BLS. Silverblue was always difficult to dual boot with anything else it seemed.
I should note that I don’t multi-boot currently, if I need another OS I use a VM which covers my use cases well. Though that may not work for you, I would suggest trying it for those distro-hopping urges we all get. I use Windows 10 Pro VM’s as well as an Oracle Linux one for a specific setup I need, and I also frequently test out my desired configuration changes on a Fedora(my variant of choice) VM where applicable for testing. Plus I’ll ususally run the test images for Fedora test days in a VM.

@boredsquirrel you may have guessed that I don’t really know what I’m doing when it comes to some (i.e. most) of the deeply technical stuff. So,
Yes I use Refind to boot MInt.
I don’t know what “enroll custom Secureboot keys” means, or whether Mint does it or not. How can I check?
I don’t know the difference between booting in UEFI mode or legacy mode. I thought everything was in uefi mode, as everything has an entry in /boot/efi/EFI, but that may just demonstrate my level of ignorance.
Happy to give SB another try, if I can still boot my Mint when I need to.
ublue sounds pretty interesting, but it might be a bit premature for a use with my level of expertise to attempt it…

Thanks for the help, much appreciated.
:wink:

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Strange, if both have efi entries it may boot mint from efi. Why not use systemd-boot or grub to boot mint, that may be a refind issue.

And check your BIOS option for boot priority, swap something around here.

Ublue is just two commands and then its regular silverblue but better, with more quality of life stuff added.

@boredsquirrel thanks for the reply.

You may be right about it being a BIOS problem. I had a crack at installing OpenSuse MicroOS a few weeks ago, and it did some very strange things. Basically made every other distro unbootable, including OpenSuse Leap. I ended up trashing MicroOS and reinstalling every other distro (there’s only three of them), including Mint. Luckily I had /home in a separate partition (for all of them) so I didn’t lose any data.

Also, in the BIOS, Refind always appeared as a boot option, but since MicroOS, it doesn’t. It still boots first anyway, so I’ve never really worried about it. Until I installed Fedora, and it refused to let Refind boot first. So, looks like I’ll be delving into the bios before I attempt another install of Fedora. Or ublue maybe.

:wink:

Refind is a boot target which likely means it doesnt use UEFI or just secureboot. MicroOS may have as its modern, and your BIOS prefers modern, possibly signed UEFI boot targets.

Just press F1/F2 and look for yourself, many bioses have a “boot” section where you can turn on “legacy boot, then uefi” if you REALLY want to.

But best would be to fix that Mint boot to use modern standards.

I’m using Mint 21.3 (Victoria) which is the latest version, so I’d be surprised if it was using legacy boot, or maybe I’m just not understanding what that means. I installed it with uefi, and Refind boots directly into it (i.e. no grub menu). I’ve tried a couple of distros where that didn’t work (Kaos was one) and Refind could only display its grub menu (so one extra mouse click. Grrr.) OpenSuse was another, but I was able to create what Refind calls a manual boot stanza (which basically points Refind directly to the vmlinuz and initrd files for the distro) and that boots OpenSuse directly. Refind is the first entry in the UEFI section of the bios. Secure boot is turned off.

:-\

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