Improve message for missing ESP on BIOS systems

Bug #1983719 reported by Julian Andres Klode
This bug affects 4 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
ubiquity (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Bug 1893964 was fixed to allow continuing if no ESP is configured, but the message is still very EFI specific and does not make sense on a system that has no EFI (your system will fail to boot, etc).

It should be worded softer, probably.

Tags: fr-2599
tags: added: rls-kk-incoming
Revision history for this message
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in ubiquity (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Revision history for this message
Jeremie Tamburini (jeremie2) wrote :

Let's say that the message still makes sense if a user is setting up a GPT table on a old computer with old BIOS.
In that case a message may "suggest" to create the ESP so that if your computer is broken, you can move the disk even on a modern computer with UEFI.

As far as I know it shouldn't be useful at all with old ms-dos(MBR) partition table... if I'm not wrong.

I think the cleaner solution might be to set specific messages depending on the user's hardware:

1- UEFI ---> EFI is needed!
2- BIOS with GPT partition ---> EFI is suggested. In case of problems you can also move the disk to a computer with UEFI
3- BIOS with MBR ---> no message

Alternatively in a less "elegant" but easier to implement way, the current message could be replaced with 1st and 2nd messages merged together. It might look verbose...

Revision history for this message
Julian Andres Klode (juliank) wrote :

EFI system partitions work fine on MBR partition tables, there's even a registered type for it. Many systems even will just allow booting from any partition they can read, it does not even need to be flagged ESP but can just be a random FAT one. Others need a bootable flag on MBR partition.

Fairly variable.

Lukas Märdian (slyon)
tags: added: fr-2599
tags: removed: rls-kk-incoming
Revision history for this message
Benjamin Drung (bdrung) wrote :

To me it looks like there are two cases:

1) The installer is booted with UEFI and it is probably relative safe to assume that the installed system will be booted with UEFI. Shouldn't ubiquity prevent the user to install Ubuntu without ESP in this case (not just print a warning)? See also

2) The installer is booted with BIOS. As stated in bug #1893964, we want to install UEFI support so that the user can switch from BIOS to UEFI or move the disk into a system with UEFI (and having Ubuntu boot there without issues). In this case we want let the user know that the installation won't support UEFI due to the lacking ESP.

Comment claims that this kind of warning is not necessary if the user selected "custom layout", because the user knows what he does in this case.

Revision history for this message
roland aus köln (devzero-c) wrote (last edit ):

yes, i think the message on missing efi partition is totally misleading. please change that.

i tried to install ubuntu 22.04 onto a second ssd, whereas the first one contains windows 10. (dell precision t3500 workstation)

i chose custom partitioning (because i know what i'm doing) and because of the error message about efi, i thought - okaaayyy..... this seems to be an efi system and windows probably already being installed in efi what...let's add an efi partition...

added the efi partition, installed ubuntu. bang - install of grub on second disk failed with some weird error message.

ok. second try , i changed boot order for second ssd being booted first.

repeated the whole install procedure.

things worked fine then.


then had a long diskussion in our makerspace chat on enhancing the windows/linux boot experience and was recommended to install reFind bootloader instead of grub, which i did.

it installed fine and asked if it should add itself to the efi boot.

ok. did that.


no refind bootloader.

just grub.

digging into it....just to find.....t3500 is no efi capable hardware at all, but it's all in bios legacy boot.

sorry - err - what?

why do you bother me with efi stuff if the system cannot do efi boot ?

i think this is really bad and did cost me at least 2 hourse of my time (where i'm very short of at the moment)

i think the guy commenting at is completely right with this:

"The errror is spurious, it gives false info, it pointlessly alarms users about something that is not a problem.

If you let users do their own partitioning then trust them and don't warn them over something that is not a problem.

The design is wrong. The decision is bogus. The assumptions are incorrect."

Revision history for this message
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in ubiquity (Ubuntu Jammy):
status: New → Confirmed
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