Can't install because it wants an EFI Partition...I have none, it says its a bad idea, but it sees an old Linux Mint 17.3 install on another drive

I formatted a 1 TB drive to ext4 to install 20.04 LTS, I'm tired of using live sessions from usb that are doomed to crash eventually and also not let me use all the power of my desktop. The bar on the drive with Linux Mint 17.3 is green, because grub is installed there I guess, but it's not formatted as EFI, none of my drives/partitions are, this motherboard is able to deal with BIOS style installs but also EFI. It seems like it's a very bad idea according to the installer to go ahead, but I can just press delete after the boot screen where memory, drives external and internal are listed and get into the fancy gui that is UEFI I guess and change the boot drive order.

It shows the 1TB drive I formatted to ext4 in orange, tells me I should create an EFI partition even if I decide to go ahead, of 35MB at least, and I got really annoyed by then. This desktop had Mint 17.3 and Win7 (until it became useless last year after January, everything windows on that ntfs drive was removed). I wonder what would happen if I format the drive with Mint 17.3, so I would have no hard drives with grub installed on it and the drive that had win7 still has an MBR, but I know how to get rid of that.

Is all of this EFI stuff necessary? The last Linux I used installed permanently on a drive was Mint 17.3 and it seems like things have changed software-wise but there's nothing that changed with this desktop except for a usb 3.0/eSATA-III dock for mechanical HDD's that are normally internal that is plugged to an usb 3.0 hub, hot swap and all. It's not relevant to the problem here I being scared away from installing? I'm really tired of running live sessions!

Have a good day everyone.

Rightly so, IMO. I have no idea what's provoked that strange obsession in Mint, but I've never bothered with (U)EFI: it's just not relevant for at least 99% of cases.

Unfortunately, while the answer to your question:

Is all of this EFI stuff necessary?

is definitely an easy "no" on paper, my installs are all Debian or Ubuntu, and it's possible that Mint has opted to Do Something Stupid such that it is necessary there.

So you need a Mint user, not a "MATE, in general" one. The Mint forums are the best place to find that, though I'm sure there must be a few around here somewhere.
If I were you though, given that you've already wiped the drive, I'd just install it the way you want anyway, and see what happens - because the reality is, if it works at all, it's fine, and all the installer-time EFI whine is exactly that. And if it doesn't work, you've only lost about 20 mins at most, and you'll have learnt something new - so either way, you win. :slight_smile:


Mint is just there because I never bothered formatting the drive it was on. I'm not trying to install it. It's an old past-its-time version of it. The drive it is on is not the drive I want to install Ubuntu Mate on, I have formatted a whole 1TB drive for it. I had kept it because it left grub there so I could boot in win7 without messing around with bcdedit, but win7 ended up not being relevant by feb 2020, so I've been running live sessions of ubuntu mate 18.04 and now since 6 months 20.04 because I needed to buy a hard drive to move data around and get a clean empty drive just for it to install. I did procrastinate for a while, I got a 2TB drive to move all the data that I wanted to keep, but now this EFI stuff is complicating everything. I'll have to get used to it because drives over 2TB need EFI apparently.

Apparently the issue is that my usb flash drive boots using EFI, I'm not really sure where I can change that in the BIOS....I'll wait until this live session ends up failing eventually, like they are doomed to.

Installation was successful by booting from the USB key..but by choosing the non-EFI boot method, then I saw the Ubuntu mate DOS looking grub menu, I smiled, that chapter is over. It was much simpler than I remembered :slight_smile: