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4.1 Installing GRUB using grub-install

For information on where GRUB should be installed on PC BIOS platforms, see BIOS installation.

In order to install GRUB under a UNIX-like OS (such as GNU), invoke the program grub-install (see Invoking grub-install) as the superuser (root).

The usage is basically very simple. You only need to specify one argument to the program, namely, where to install the boot loader. The argument has to be either a device file (like ‘/dev/hda’). For example, under Linux the following will install GRUB into the MBR of the first IDE disk:

# grub-install /dev/sda

Likewise, under GNU/Hurd, this has the same effect:

# grub-install /dev/hd0

But all the above examples assume that GRUB should put images under the /boot directory. If you want GRUB to put images under a directory other than /boot, you need to specify the option --boot-directory. The typical usage is that you create a GRUB boot floppy with a filesystem. Here is an example:

# mke2fs /dev/fd0
# mount -t ext2 /dev/fd0 /mnt
# mkdir /mnt/boot
# grub-install --boot-directory=/mnt/boot /dev/fd0
# umount /mnt

Some BIOSes have a bug of exposing the first partition of a USB drive as a floppy instead of exposing the USB drive as a hard disk (they call it “USB-FDD” boot). In such cases, you need to install like this:

# losetup /dev/loop0 /dev/sdb1
# mount /dev/loop0 /mnt/usb
# grub-install --boot-directory=/mnt/usb/bugbios --force --allow-floppy /dev/loop0

This install doesn’t conflict with standard install as long as they are in separate directories.

Note that grub-install is actually just a shell script and the real task is done by other tools such as grub-mkimage. Therefore, you may run those commands directly to install GRUB, without using grub-install. Don’t do that, however, unless you are very familiar with the internals of GRUB. Installing a boot loader on a running OS may be extremely dangerous.

On EFI systems for fixed disk install you have to mount EFI System Partition. If you mount it at /boot/efi then you don’t need any special arguments:

# grub-install

Otherwise you need to specify where your EFI System partition is mounted:

# grub-install --efi-directory=/mnt/efi

For removable installs you have to use --removable and specify both --boot-directory and --efi-directory:

# grub-install --efi-directory=/mnt/usb --boot-directory=/mnt/usb/boot --removable

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