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refind-install - Man Page

Install rEFInd to the ESP and create an NVRAM entry


refind-install [--notesp | --usedefault device-file | --root mount-point | --ownhfs device-file ] [--keepname] [--nodrivers | --alldrivers] [--shim shim-filename] [--localkeys] [--encryptkeys] [--yes]


To be useful, the rEFInd boot manager must be installed to the computer's EFI System Partition (ESP) or other EFI-accessible location. In most cases, an NVRAM entry describing rEFInd's location must also be created. These steps can be performed manually; however, the refind-install command provides an automated way to perform these tasks under both Linux and OS X. The exact behavior and options vary depending on the OS, however.

Some details that can affect how the script runs include the following:

After you run refind-install, you should peruse the script's output to ensure that everything looks OK. refind-install displays error messages when it encounters errors, such as if the ESP is mounted read-only or if you run out of disk space. You may need to correct such problems manually and re-run the script. In some cases you may need to fall back on manual installation, which gives you better control over details such as which partition to use for installation.



This option, which is valid only under OS X, tells refind-install to install rEFInd to the OS X root partition rather than to the ESP. This behavior was the default in rEFInd 0.8.3 and earlier, so you may want to use it when upgrading installations of that version, unless you used --esp (which is now the default behavior, although the --esp option no longer exists) or --ownhfs. You may also want to use --notesp on new installations if you're sure you're not using whole-disk encryption or logical volumes.

--usedefault device-file

You can install rEFInd to a disk using the default/fallback filename of EFI/BOOT/bootx64.efi (as well as EFI/BOOT/bootia32.efi and EFI/BOOT/bootaa64.efi, if the IA-32 and ARM64 builds are available) using this option. The device-file should be an unmounted ESP, or at least a FAT partition, as in --usedefault /dev/sdc1. Your computer's NVRAM entries will not be modified when installing in this way. The intent is that you can create a bootable USB flash drive or install rEFInd on a computer that tends to "forget" its NVRAM settings with this option. This option is mutually exclusive with --notesp and --root.

--ownhfs device-file

This option should be used only under OS X. It's used to install rEFInd to an HFS+ volume other than a standard Mac boot volume. The result should be that rEFInd will show up in the Mac's own boot manager. More importantly, suspend-to-RAM operations may work correctly. Note that this option requires an HFS+ volume that is not currently an OS X boot volume. This can be a data volume or a dedicated rEFInd partition. The ESP might also work, if it's converted to use HFS+; however, HFS+ is a non-standard filesystem for an ESP, and so is not recommended.

--root mount-point

This option is intended to help install rEFInd from a "live CD" or other emergency system. To use it, you should mount your regular installation at /mount-point, including your /boot directory (if it's separate) at /mount-point/boot and (on Linux) your ESP at that location or at /mount-point/boot/efi. The refind-install script then installs rEFInd to the appropriate location -- on Linux, /mount-point/boot/EFI/refind or /mount-point/boot/efi/EFI/refind, depending on where you've mounted your ESP. Under OS X, this option is useful only in conjunction with --notesp, in which case rEFInd will install to /mount-point/EFI/refind. The script also adds an entry to your NVRAM for rEFInd at this location. You cannot use this option with --usedefault. Note that this option is not needed when doing a dual-boot Linux/OS X installation; just install normally in OS X.


Ordinarily refind-install attempts to install the driver required to read /boot on Linux. This attempt works only if you're using ext2fs, ext3fs, ext4fs, ReiserFS, or Btrfs on the relevant partition. If you want to forego this driver installation, pass the --nodrivers option. This option is implicit when you use --usedefault.


When you specify this option, refind-install copies all the driver files for your architecture. You may want to remove unused driver files after you use this option. Note that some computers hang or fail to work with any drivers if you use this option, so use it with caution.

--shim shim-filename or --preloader preloader-filename

If you pass this option to refind-install, the script will copy the specified shim program file to the target directory, copy the MokManager.efi file from the shim program file's directory to the target directory, copy the 64-bit version of rEFInd as grubx64.efi, and register shim with the firmware. (If you also specify --usedefault, the NVRAM registration is skipped. If you also use --keepname, the renaming to grubx64.efi is skipped.) When the target file is identified as PreLoader, much the same thing happens, but refind-install copies HashTool.efi instead of MokManager.efi and copies rEFInd as loader.efi rather than as grubx64.efi. The intent is to simplify rEFInd installation on a computer that uses Secure Boot; when so set up, rEFInd will boot in Secure Boot mode, with one caveat: The first time you boot, MokManager/HashTool will launch, and you must use it to locate and install a public key or register rEFInd as a trusted application. The rEFInd public key file will be located in the rEFInd directory's keys subdirectory under the name refind.cer.


This option tells refind-install to generate a new Machine Owner Key (MOK), store it in /etc/refind.d/keys as refind_local.*, and re-sign all the 64-bit rEFInd binaries with this key before installing them. This is the preferable way to install rEFInd in Secure Boot mode, since it means your binaries will be signed locally rather than with my own key, which is used to sign many other users' binaries; however, this method requires that both the openssl and sbsign binaries be installed. The former is readily available in most distributions' repositories, but the latter is not, so this option is not the default.


Ordinarily, if you use the --localkeys option, refind-install stores the local key files on your hard disk in an unencrypted form. Thus, should your computer be compromised, the intruder could use your own key to sign a modified boot loader, eliminating the benefits of Secure Boot. If you use this option, then the private key is stored in an encrypted form, secured via an encryption password. You must enter this password before the key can be used to sign any binary, thus reducing the risk that an intruder could hijack your boot process. This is obviously a highly desirable option, but the downside is that you must remember the password and enter it whenever you update rEFInd or any other program signed with your private key. This also makes a fully automated update of rEFInd impossible.


This option is useful only in conjunction with --shim. It tells refind-install to keep rEFInd's regular filename (typically refind_x64.efi) when used with shim, rather than rename the binary to grubx64.efi. This change cuts down on the chance of confusion because of filename issues; however, this feature requires that shim be launched with a command-line parameter that points to the rEFInd binary under its real name. versions of shim prior to 0.7 do not properly support this feature. (Version 0.4 supports it but with a buggy interpretation of the follow-on loader specification.) If your NVRAM variables become corrupted or are forgotten, this feature may make rEFInd harder to launch. This option is incompatible with --usedefault and is unavailable when run under OS X or without the --shim option. If the script discovers an existing rEFInd installation under EFI/BOOT or EFI/Microsoft/Boot and no other rEFInd installation when this option is used, it will abort.


This option causes the script to assume a Y input to every yes/no prompt that can be generated under certain conditions, such as if you specify --shim but refind-install detects no evidence of a Secure Boot installation. This option is intended mainly for use by scripts such as those that might be used as part of an installation via an RPM or Debian package.


Primary author: Roderick W. Smith (rodsmith@rodsbooks.com)

See Also

mkrlconf(8), mvrefind(8).



The refind-install command is part of the rEFInd package and is available from Roderick W. Smith.

Referenced By

mkrlconf(8), mvrefind(8), refind-mkdefault(8).

0.13.3 Roderick W. Smith rEFInd Manual