I'm trying to properly install Ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS 64-bit PC (AMD64) with the alternate install CD ".iso" on a lenovo Thinkpad X220.

Default Hard Disk (with a pre-installed version of Windows 7) has been replaced with a brand new SSD.

The UEFI BIOS of the lenovo Thinkpad X220 is set to "UEFI Boot only" & "USB UEFI BIOS Support" is enabled (I'm using an external USB DVD reader to perform Ubuntu installation).

The BIOS is a Phoenix SecureCore Tiano, BIOS version is 8DET56WW (1.26). The attempts below are made with the UEFI BIOS settings described above. Here's what I've tried so far:

Boot on a live GParted CD

  • Create a GPT partition table
  • Create a FAT32 partition for UEFI System, set the partition to "EF00" type ("boot" flag)
  • Leave remaining space unformated

Boot on Ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS 64-bit PC (AMD64) with alternate CD:

  • Perform the install with network updates enabled
  • Use manual partitioning
  • FAT32 partition created with GParted is used as "EFI System partition"
  • Remaining space is set to be used as "Physical volume for LVM"
  • Then "Configure encrypted volumes" using the previous "Physical volume for LVM" as the encrypted container, passphrase is setup.
  • "Configure the Logical Volume Manager" creating a volume Group using the encrypted container /dev/mapper/sda2_crypt
  • Creation of the Logical Volumes "Create logical volume", choosing the previously created volume Group
  • Assign a mount point and file system to the Logical volumes :

    LV-root for /

    LV-var for /var

    LV-usr for /usr

    LV-usr-local for /usr/local

    LV-swap for swap

    LV-home for /home

    NOTE: /tmp would be in RAM only using TMPFS

  • Bootloader step: neither my ESP partition (/dev/sda1, /dev/sda or MBR) seems to be the right place for GRUB, I get the following message (X suffix is for demonstration only):

unable to install grub in /dev/sdaX Executing 'grub-install /dev/sdaX' failed This is a fatal error.

Finish installation without the Bootloader & Reboot

The system doesn't start, there's no EFI/GRUB menu at startup.

What are the steps to perform a clean and working installation of Ubuntu 12.04.1 Precise Pangolin, 64bit version in U(EFI) mode using the encrypted LUKS + LVM scheme described above?

3 Answers 3


First, it's not 100% clear that you booted the installer in EFI mode. If it booted in BIOS mode, it would try to install grub-pc (for BIOS-based systems), which wouldn't work if your firmware is set to boot the hard disk in EFI mode. I doubt if this is the problem, but I thought I'd toss it out as a possibility. You can check your boot mode by dropping to a shell and looking for the /sys/firmware/efi file; if it's present, you've booted in EFI mode. If not, you've probably booted in BIOS mode, although that's not 100% certain.

In any event, at this point your best bet is to do a manual installation of an EFI boot loader. IMHO, GRUB 2 (which is Ubuntu's default) is the worst possible choice; it's flaky and unreliable on EFI systems, in my experience. The easiest to get working is likely to be either ELILO or Fedora's patched GRUB Legacy. If you want to use a 3.3.0 or later kernel, it includes its own built-in EFI boot loader, which is quite reliable and can be very easy to use if paired with rEFInd. My Web page on EFI boot loaders describes all the options and includes installation instructions. Detailing them all here would be impractical.

  • The UEFI BIOS (Phoenix SecureCore Tiano) is set up to EFI mode only, so I assume that GParted & Ubuntu CD booted in EFI mode. Regarding "/sys/firmware/efi": sudo ls -a /sys/firmware/efi, I get: . .. systab vars. The built-in EFI boot loader of Kernel 3.3.0 don't come with The Ubuntu 12.04.1 alternate CD I used to perform the installation on the SSD (only 3.2.0-29.46 kernel).
    – g0lem
    Oct 8, 2012 at 19:56

i would say to consult the arch wiki here: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/GRUB2 for getting your grub installed. then post back to let me know how you got to your OS.:) i'm trying to setup the same exact thing you are but my grub tries to boot to the lvm root instead of the luks container. if i tell grub to look for the luks container, it does, i enter the passphrase and then it doesn't know where to look for the lvm root!

  • i gave up with the 12.04.1 Ubuntu 64 bits version install & switch to 12.10 64 bits installer. I followed similar procedure: Create EFI partition in Gparted, name it EFI and set "boot" flag. This time I choosed to align partition to cylinders instead of Mio, so the FAT32 partition is really at the beginning of the disk, don't know if it matters. I'm stuck in 12.10 install after the creation of my Physical volume for encryption and don't know how add create my LVMs inside. Graphical installer seems confusing regarding LUKS + LVM +EFI... I also don't figure out where to set the bootloader.
    – g0lem
    Jan 26, 2013 at 21:19
  • i created a new topic regarding the particular 12.10 version issue at askubuntu.com/questions/248039/…
    – g0lem
    Jan 26, 2013 at 21:58
  • According to this answer: askubuntu.com/a/250717/95193, UEFI/EFI support would be pushed to a new release and be available on the Ubuntu 12.04.02 daily builds. Do this mean that there's currently NO SUPPORT for UEFI for the 12.04.1 Ubuntu release, could anybody confirm this assessment?
    – g0lem
    Feb 4, 2013 at 19:36

I don't know if it applies to 12.04, but on 14.04 I needed to boot up Ubuntu live and install grub-efi before running the ubiquity installer. Check [How to install Ubuntu 14.04 64-bit with a dual-boot RAID 1 partition on an UEFI/GPT system? for details. Your mileage may vary.

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