I've recently bought an usb3 flash drive where I've put a live kali linux distribution. When I try to boot my early 2015 mac book pro (with Yosemite) from this usb3 drive I have two options: windows or efi. If I select the efi option everything freeze and I need to hold down the power button to force a shutdown. If I select windows option instead everything works well. With an usb2 flash drive, instead, the efi option can load the live kali linux distribution.

Why this behavior? What the differences between windows and efi options?



When you refer to the two options: windows or efi, I assume each is a label given to separate icons that can appear when you hold down the alt/option key at startup. In this context, the label windows is a legacy term. It means you will be doing a BIOS boot of an operating system or operating system installer.

EFI is obviously an EFI boot. The version of EFI is uncertain. I had an interesting discussion with Rod Smith (of rEFInd fame) over at Ask Ubuntu and he was able to convince me that no Mac's have a UEFI. This includes your early 2015 mac book pro. So if you do an EFI boot and everything works, this just means the kali linux distribution was designed to work with your Mac.

As for the USB2 verses USB3 issue, I suppose kali does have USB3 support for a BIOS boot but, does not for an EFI boot. When using a USB2 flash drive, your Mac's USB3 ports operate in legacy USB2 mode.

Funny thing, I have read here at Ask Different where others claim 2015 Mac's can not do Microsoft Windows operating system BIOS boots. I find it interesting that you can with linux.

  • Windows is by no means a "legacy term", Unix has been around much longer, and many modern version of Windows support UEFI. Have look at Windows support of UEFI on UEFI Firmware atTechNet. – user3439894 Sep 24 '15 at 14:36
  • In the context of this website, this question/answer and my specific usage, Windows is referring to the Operating System not window "an opening in the wall or roof of a building or vehicle that is fitted with glass or other transparent material in a frame to admit light or air and allow people to see out."! Therefore in the context of this site and usage, which shouldn't have to be explained, you're statement I previously referred to is poorly worded and erroneous since some versions of Windows (the OS) can be installed and booted via UEFI on some Mac's. – user3439894 Sep 24 '15 at 19:22

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