I have successfully installed rEFInd on my MacBook Pro 2015 so I can boot into Linux however I cannot seem to boot into it. Here are my issues (both with Ubuntu 64x Mac CD and Kali Linux 64x USB).

  • Boot to USB/CD
    enter image description here
  • Error enter image description here
  • Boot to elf file (USB and CD) (second option) error (gets stuck here) enter image description here
  • Booting from EFI boot by holding down option (both CD and USB) enter image description here
  • I get a black screen when booting enter image description here

If it helps here is my config file for rEFInd

# refind.conf
# Configuration file for the rEFInd boot menu

# Timeout in seconds for the main menu screen. Setting the timeout to 0
# disables automatic booting (i.e., no timeout). Setting it to -1 causes
# an immediate boot to the default OS *UNLESS* a keypress is in the buffer
# when rEFInd launches, in which case that keypress is interpreted as a
# shortcut key. If no matching shortcut is found, rEFInd displays its
# menu with no timeout.
timeout -1

# Screen saver timeout; the screen blanks after the specified number of
# seconds with no keyboard input. The screen returns after most keypresses
# (unfortunately, not including modifier keys such as Shift, Control, Alt,
# or Option). Setting a value of "-1" causes rEFInd to start up with its
# screen saver active. The default is 0, which disables the screen saver.
#screensaver 300

# Hide user interface elements for personal preference or to increase
# security:
#  banner      - the rEFInd title banner (built-in or loaded via "banner")
#  label       - boot option text label in the menu
#  singleuser  - remove the submenu options to boot Mac OS X in single-user
#                or verbose modes; affects ONLY MacOS X
#  safemode    - remove the submenu option to boot Mac OS X in "safe mode"
#  hwtest      - the submenu option to run Apple's hardware test
#  arrows      - scroll arrows on the OS selection tag line
#  hints       - brief command summary in the menu
#  editor      - the options editor (+, F2, or Insert on boot options menu)
#  badges      - device-type badges for boot options
#  all         - all of the above
# Default is none of these (all elements active)
#hideui singleuser
#hideui all

hideui banner

# Set the name of a subdirectory in which icons are stored. Icons must
# have the same names they have in the standard directory. The directory
# name is specified relative to the main rEFInd binary's directory. If
# an icon can't be found in the specified directory, an attempt is made
# to load it from the default directory; thus, you can replace just some
# icons in your own directory and rely on the default for others.
# Default is "icons".
#icons_dir myicons

# Use a custom title banner instead of the rEFInd icon and name. The file
# path is relative to the directory where refind.efi is located. The color
# in the top left corner of the image is used as the background color
# for the menu screens. Currently uncompressed BMP images with color
# depths of 24, 8, 4 or 1 bits are supported, as well as PNG images.
#banner hostname.bmp
#banner mybanner.png

# Specify how to handle banners that aren't exactly the same as the screen
# size:
#  noscale     - Crop if too big, show with border if too small
#  fillscreen  - Fill the screen
# Default is noscale
#banner_scale fillscreen

# Icon sizes. All icons are square, so just one value is specified. The
# big icons are used for OS selectors in the first row and the small
# icons are used for tools on the second row. Drive-type badges are 1/4
# the size of the big icons. Legal values are 32 and above. If the icon
# files do not hold icons of the proper size, the icons are scaled to
# the specified size. The default values are 48 and 128 for small and
# big icons, respectively.
#small_icon_size 96
#big_icon_size 256

# Custom images for the selection background. There is a big one (144 x 144)
# for the OS icons, and a small one (64 x 64) for the function icons in the
# second row. If only a small image is given, that one is also used for
# the big icons by stretching it in the middle. If only a big one is given,
# the built-in default will be used for the small icons.
# Like the banner option above, these options take a filename of an
# uncompressed BMP image file with a color depth of 24, 8, 4, or 1 bits,
# or a PNG image. The PNG format is required if you need transparency
# support (to let you "see through" to a full-screen banner).
#selection_big   selection-big.bmp
#selection_small selection-small.bmp

# Set the font to be used for all textual displays in graphics mode.
# The font must be a PNG file with alpha channel transparency. It must
# contain ASCII characters 32-126 (space through tilde), inclusive, plus
# a glyph to be displayed in place of characters outside of this range,
# for a total of 96 glyphs. Only monospaced fonts are supported. Fonts
# may be of any size, although large fonts can produce display
# irregularities.
# The default is rEFInd's built-in font, Luxi Mono Regular 12 point.
#font myfont.png

# Use text mode only. When enabled, this option forces rEFInd into text mode.
# Passing this option a "0" value causes graphics mode to be used. Pasing
# it no value or any non-0 value causes text mode to be used.
# Default is to use graphics mode.

# Set the EFI text mode to be used for textual displays. This option
# takes a single digit that refers to a mode number. Mode 0 is normally
# 80x25, 1 is sometimes 80x50, and higher numbers are system-specific
# modes. Mode 1024 is a special code that tells rEFInd to not set the
# text mode; it uses whatever was in use when the program was launched.
# If you specify an invalid mode, rEFInd pauses during boot to inform
# you of valid modes.
# CAUTION: On VirtualBox, and perhaps on some real computers, specifying
# a text mode and uncommenting the "textonly" option while NOT specifying
# a resolution can result in an unusable display in the booted OS.
# Default is 1024 (no change)
#textmode 2

# Set the screen's video resolution. Pass this option either:
#  * two values, corresponding to the X and Y resolutions
#  * one value, corresponding to a GOP (UEFI) video mode
# Note that not all resolutions are supported. On UEFI systems, passing
# an incorrect value results in a message being shown on the screen to
# that effect, along with a list of supported modes. On EFI 1.x systems
# (e.g., Macintoshes), setting an incorrect mode silently fails. On both
# types of systems, setting an incorrect resolution results in the default
# resolution being used. A resolution of 1024x768 usually works, but higher
# values often don't.
# Default is "0 0" (use the system default resolution, usually 800x600).
#resolution 1024 768
#resolution 3

# Launch specified OSes in graphics mode. By default, rEFInd switches
# to text mode and displays basic pre-launch information when launching
# all OSes except OS X. Using graphics mode can produce a more seamless
# transition, but displays no information, which can make matters
# difficult if you must debug a problem. Also, on at least one known
# computer, using graphics mode prevents a crash when using the Linux
# kernel's EFI stub loader. You can specify an empty list to boot all
# OSes in text mode.
# Valid options:
#   osx     - Mac OS X
#   linux   - A Linux kernel with EFI stub loader
#   elilo   - The ELILO boot loader
#   grub    - The GRUB (Legacy or 2) boot loader
#   windows - Microsoft Windows
# Default value: osx
#use_graphics_for osx,linux

# Which non-bootloader tools to show on the tools line, and in what
# order to display them:
#  shell            - the EFI shell (requires external program; see rEFInd
#                     documentation for details)
#  memtest          - the memtest86 program, in EFI/tools, EFI/memtest86,
#                     EFI/memtest, EFI/tools/memtest86, or EFI/tools/memtest
#  gptsync          - the (dangerous) gptsync.efi utility (requires external
#                     program; see rEFInd documentation for details)
#  gdisk            - the gdisk partitioning program
#  apple_recovery   - boots the Apple Recovery HD partition, if present
#  windows_recovery - boots an OEM Windows recovery tool, if present
#                     (see also the windows_recovery_files option)
#  mok_tool         - makes available the Machine Owner Key (MOK) maintenance
#                     tool, MokManager.efi, used on Secure Boot systems
#  about            - an "about this program" option
#  exit             - a tag to exit from rEFInd
#  shutdown         - shuts down the computer (a bug causes this to reboot
#                     many UEFI systems)
#  reboot           - a tag to reboot the computer
#  firmware         - a tag to reboot the computer into the firmware's
#                     user interface (ignored on older computers)
#  netboot          - launch the ipxe.efi tool for network (PXE) booting
# Default is shell,memtest,gdisk,apple_recovery,windows_recovery,mok_tool,about,shutdown,reboot,firmware
#showtools shell, gdisk, memtest, mok_tool, about, reboot, exit, firmware

# Boot loaders that can launch a Windows restore or emergency system.
# These tend to be OEM-specific.
# Default is LRS_ESP:/EFI/Microsoft/Boot/LrsBootmgr.efi
#windows_recovery_files LRS_ESP:/EFI/Microsoft/Boot/LrsBootmgr.efi

# Directories in which to search for EFI drivers. These drivers can
# provide filesystem support, give access to hard disks on plug-in
# controllers, etc. In most cases none are needed, but if you add
# EFI drivers and you want rEFInd to automatically load them, you
# should specify one or more paths here. rEFInd always scans the
# "drivers" and "drivers_{arch}" subdirectories of its own installation
# directory (where "{arch}" is your architecture code); this option
# specifies ADDITIONAL directories to scan.
# Default is to scan no additional directories for EFI drivers
#scan_driver_dirs EFI/tools/drivers,drivers

# Which types of boot loaders to search, and in what order to display them:
#  internal      - internal EFI disk-based boot loaders
#  external      - external EFI disk-based boot loaders
#  optical       - EFI optical discs (CD, DVD, etc.)
#  netboot       - EFI network (PXE) boot options
#  hdbios        - BIOS disk-based boot loaders
#  biosexternal  - BIOS external boot loaders (USB, eSATA, etc.)
#  cd            - BIOS optical-disc boot loaders
#  manual        - use stanzas later in this configuration file
# Note that the legacy BIOS options require firmware support, which is
# not present on all computers.
# The netboot option is experimental and relies on the ipxe.efi and
# ipxe_discover.efi program files.
# On UEFI PCs, default is internal,external,optical,manual
# On Macs, default is internal,hdbios,external,biosexternal,optical,cd,manual
#scanfor internal,external,optical,manual

# By default, rEFInd relies on the UEFI firmware to detect BIOS-mode boot
# devices. This sometimes doesn't detect all the available devices, though.
# For these cases, uefi_deep_legacy_scan results in a forced scan and
# modification of NVRAM variables on each boot. Adding "0", "off", or
# "false" resets to the default value. This token has no effect on Macs or
# when no BIOS-mode options are set via scanfor.
# Default is unset (or "uefi_deep_legacy_scan false")

# Delay for the specified number of seconds before scanning disks.
# This can help some users who find that some of their disks
# (usually external or optical discs) aren't detected initially,
# but are detected after pressing Esc.
# The default is 0.
#scan_delay 5

# When scanning volumes for EFI boot loaders, rEFInd always looks for
# Mac OS X's and Microsoft Windows' boot loaders in their normal locations,
# and scans the root directory and every subdirectory of the /EFI directory
# for additional boot loaders, but it doesn't recurse into these directories.
# The also_scan_dirs token adds more directories to the scan list.
# Directories are specified relative to the volume's root directory. This
# option applies to ALL the volumes that rEFInd scans UNLESS you include
# a volume name and colon before the directory name, as in "myvol:/somedir"
# to scan the somedir directory only on the filesystem named myvol. If a
# specified directory doesn't exist, it's ignored (no error condition
# results). The default is to scan the "boot" directory in addition to
# various hard-coded directories.
#also_scan_dirs boot,ESP2:EFI/linux/kernels

# Partitions (or whole disks, for legacy-mode boots) to omit from scans.
# For EFI-mode scans, you must specify a volume by its label, which you
# can obtain in an EFI shell by typing "vol", from Linux by typing
# "blkid /dev/{devicename}", or by examining the disk's label in various
# OSes' file browsers.
# For legacy-mode scans, you can specify any subset of the boot loader
# description shown when you highlight the option in rEFInd.
# The default is "LRS_ESP".
#dont_scan_volumes "Recovery HD"

# Directories that should NOT be scanned for boot loaders. By default,
# rEFInd doesn't scan its own directory, the EFI/tools directory, the
# EFI/memtest directory, the EFI/memtest86 directory, or the
# com.apple.recovery.boot directory. Using the dont_scan_dirs option
# enables you to "blacklist" other directories; but be sure to use "+"
# as the first element if you want to continue blacklisting existing
# directories. You might use this token to keep EFI/boot/bootx64.efi out
# of the menu if that's a duplicate of another boot loader or to exclude
# a directory that holds drivers or non-bootloader utilities provided by
# a hardware manufacturer. If a directory is listed both here and in
# also_scan_dirs, dont_scan_dirs takes precedence. Note that this
# blacklist applies to ALL the filesystems that rEFInd scans, not just
# the ESP, unless you precede the directory name by a filesystem name,
# as in "myvol:EFI/somedir" to exclude EFI/somedir from the scan on the
# myvol volume but not on other volumes.
#dont_scan_dirs ESP:/EFI/boot,EFI/Dell,EFI/memtest86

# Files that should NOT be included as EFI boot loaders (on the
# first line of the display). If you're using a boot loader that
# relies on support programs or drivers that are installed alongside
# the main binary or if you want to "blacklist" certain loaders by
# name rather than location, use this option. Note that this will
# NOT prevent certain binaries from showing up in the second-row
# set of tools. Most notably, various Secure Boot and recovery
# tools are present in this list, but may appear as second-row
# items.
# The file may be specified as a bare name (e.g., "notme.efi"), as
# a complete filename (e.g., "/EFI/somedir/notme.efi"), or as a
# complete filename with volume (e.g., "SOMEDISK:/EFI/somedir/notme.efi").
# The default is shim.efi,shim-fedora.efi,shimx64.efi,PreLoader.efi,
# TextMode.efi,ebounce.efi,GraphicsConsole.efi,MokManager.efi,HashTool.efi,
# HashTool-signed.efi,bootmgr.efi
#dont_scan_files shim.efi,MokManager.efi

# Scan for Linux kernels that lack a ".efi" filename extension. This is
# useful for better integration with Linux distributions that provide
# kernels with EFI stub loaders but that don't give those kernels filenames
# that end in ".efi", particularly if the kernels are stored on a
# filesystem that the EFI can read. When set to "1", "true", or "on", this
# option causes all files in scanned directories with names that begin with
# "vmlinuz" or "bzImage" to be included as loaders, even if they lack ".efi"
# extensions. Passing this option a "0", "false", or "off" value causes
# kernels without ".efi" extensions to NOT be scanned.
# Default is "true" -- to scan for kernels without ".efi" extensions.
#scan_all_linux_kernels false

# Set the maximum number of tags that can be displayed on the screen at
# any time. If more loaders are discovered than this value, rEFInd shows
# a subset in a scrolling list. If this value is set too high for the
# screen to handle, it's reduced to the value that the screen can manage.
# If this value is set to 0 (the default), it's adjusted to the number
# that the screen can handle.
#max_tags 0

# Set the default menu selection.  The available arguments match the
# keyboard accelerators available within rEFInd.  You may select the
# default loader using:
#  - A digit between 1 and 9, in which case the Nth loader in the menu
#    will be the default. 
#  - A "+" symbol at the start of the string, which refers to the most
#    recently booted loader.
#  - Any substring that corresponds to a portion of the loader's title
#    (usually the OS's name or boot loader's path).
# You may also specify multiple selectors by separating them with commas
# and enclosing the list in quotes. (The "+" option is only meaningful in
# this context.)
# If you follow the selector(s) with two times, in 24-hour format, the
# default will apply only between those times. The times are in the
# motherboard's time standard, whether that's UTC or local time, so if
# you use UTC, you'll need to adjust this from local time manually.
# Times may span midnight as in "23:30 00:30", which applies to 11:30 PM
# to 12:30 AM. You may specify multiple default_selection lines, in which
# case the last one to match takes precedence. Thus, you can set a main
# option without a time followed by one or more that include times to
# set different defaults for different times of day.
# The default behavior is to boot the previously-booted OS.
#default_selection 1
#default_selection Microsoft
#default_selection "+,bzImage,vmlinuz"
#default_selection Maintenance 23:30 2:00
#default_selection "Maintenance,OS X" 1:00 2:30

# Enable VMX bit and lock the CPU MSR if unlocked.
# On some Intel Apple computers, the firmware does not lock the MSR 0x3A.
# The symptom on Windows is Hyper-V not working even if the CPU
# meets the minimum requirements (HW assisted virtualization and SLAT)
# http://www.thomas-krenn.com/en/wiki/Activating_the_Intel_VT_Virtualization_Feature!
# for more on this subject.
# The default is false: Don't try to enable and lock the MSR.
#enable_and_lock_vmx false

# Include a secondary configuration file within this one. This secondary
# file is loaded as if its options appeared at the point of the "include"
# token itself, so if you want to override a setting in the main file,
# the secondary file must be referenced AFTER the setting you want to
# override. Note that the secondary file may NOT load a tertiary file.
#include manual.conf

# Sample manual configuration stanzas. Each begins with the "menuentry"
# keyword followed by a name that's to appear in the menu (use quotes
# if you want the name to contain a space) and an open curly brace
# ("{"). Each entry ends with a close curly brace ("}"). Common
# keywords within each stanza include:
#  volume    - identifies the filesystem from which subsequent files
#              are loaded. You can specify the volume by label or by
#              a number followed by a colon (as in "0:" for the first
#              filesystem or "1:" for the second).
#  loader    - identifies the boot loader file
#  initrd    - Specifies an initial RAM disk file
#  icon      - specifies a custom boot loader icon
#  ostype    - OS type code to determine boot options available by
#              pressing Insert. Valid values are "MacOS", "Linux",
#              "Windows", and "XOM". Case-sensitive.
#  graphics  - set to "on" to enable graphics-mode boot (useful
#              mainly for MacOS) or "off" for text-mode boot.
#              Default is auto-detected from loader filename.
#  options   - sets options to be passed to the boot loader; use
#              quotes if more than one option should be passed or
#              if any options use characters that might be changed
#              by rEFInd parsing procedures (=, /, #, or tab).
#  disabled  - use alone or set to "yes" to disable this entry.
# Note that you can use either DOS/Windows/EFI-style backslashes (\)
# or Unix-style forward slashes (/) as directory separators. Either
# way, all file references are on the ESP from which rEFInd was
# launched.
# Use of quotes around parameters causes them to be interpreted as
# one keyword, and for parsing of special characters (spaces, =, /,
# and #) to be disabled. This is useful mainly with the "options"
# keyword. Use of quotes around parameters that specify filenames is
# permissible, but you must then use backslashes instead of slashes,
# except when you must pass a forward slash to the loader, as when
# passing a root= option to a Linux kernel.

# Below are several sample boot stanzas. All are disabled by default.
# Find one similar to what you need, copy it, remove the "disabled" line,
# and adjust the entries to suit your needs.

# A sample entry for a Linux 3.3 kernel with its new EFI boot stub
# support on a filesystem called "KERNELS". This entry includes
# Linux-specific boot options and specification of an initial RAM disk.
# Note uses of Linux-style forward slashes, even in the initrd
# specification. Also note that a leading slash is optional in file
# specifications.
menuentry Linux {
    icon EFI/refind/icons/os_linux.png
    volume KERNELS
    loader bzImage-3.3.0-rc7
    initrd initrd-3.3.0.img
    options "ro root=UUID=5f96cafa-e0a7-4057-b18f-fa709db5b837"

# A sample entry for loading Ubuntu using its standard name for
# its GRUB 2 boot loader. Note uses of Linux-style forward slashes
menuentry Ubuntu {
    loader /EFI/ubuntu/grubx64.efi
    icon /EFI/refind/icons/os_linux.png

# A minimal ELILO entry, which probably offers nothing that
# auto-detection can't accomplish.
menuentry "ELILO" {
    loader \EFI\elilo\elilo.efi

# Like the ELILO entry, this one offers nothing that auto-detection
# can't do; but you might use it if you want to disable auto-detection
# but still boot Windows....
menuentry "Windows 7" {
    loader \EFI\Microsoft\Boot\bootmgfw.efi

# EFI shells are programs just like boot loaders, and can be
# launched in the same way. You can pass a shell the name of a
# script that it's to run on the "options" line. The script
# could initialize hardware and then launch an OS, or it could
# do something entirely different.
menuentry "Windows via shell script" {
    icon \EFI\refind\icons\os_win.png
    loader \EFI\tools\shell.efi
    options "fs0:\EFI\tools\launch_windows.nsh"

# Mac OS is normally detected and run automatically; however,
# if you want to do something unusual, a manual boot stanza may
# be the way to do it. This one does nothing very unusual, but
# it may serve as a starting point. Note that you'll almost
# certainly need to change the "volume" line for this example
# to work.
scanfor manual,internal,hdbios,external,biosexternal,optical,cd
dont_scan_dirs /System/Library/CoreServices
menuentry "Mac OS X" {
    icon \System\Library\CoreServices\icons\OSX.png
    volume "Macintosh HD"
    loader \System\Library\CoreServices\boot.efi
    graphics on

And here are my disks

   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *251.0 GB   disk0
   1:                        EFI EFI                     209.7 MB   disk0s1
   2:                  Apple_HFS Macintosh HD            234.6 GB   disk0s2
   3:                 Apple_Boot Recovery HD             650.0 MB   disk0s3
   4:       Microsoft Basic Data Linux                   15.1 GB    disk0s4
   5:                  Apple_HFS rEFInd                  423.7 MB   disk0s5

I want to install Ubuntu/Kali onto disk0s4 and rEFInd is installed on disk0s5

How do I get rEFInd to boot into and install Linux?

I also checked the sha1 sum of the image file I downloaded and used dd to install it to my USB and Disk Utility to but it to the CD. I also got the CD to work on my MacBook Air 2010 (think it was when I had Mavericks and maybe Yosemite too)

  • I tried your refind.conf file with the hideui banner and timeout -1 lines comment out. I had Ubuntu 14.04.2 64-bit installed on an external disk using a UEFI/GPT boot. Refind gave me three choices of Ubuntu to boot from. All 3 worked. I did need two partitions to install. (The second one was for the swap space) – David Anderson Jun 2 '15 at 19:31
  • Hmm. Strange. I can get it to boot mint and elementary. Have a look at my answer for the issues I am getting. – iProgram Jun 2 '15 at 19:37
  • This is one of the most well documented questions I've ever come across, on any topic. – Thufir Jul 11 '18 at 7:51

Never mind. I have got Linux Mint and Elementary to boot however that comes with different issues that need fixing as shown here.

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