Partitionless installation

Hello Qubes Community,

I am curious about what necessary role, if any, drive partitioning has in Qubes OS. I understand that the Qubes OS default installation, as well as the custom installation guide, partitions the drive during installation. I also understand that partitionless (or “superfloppy”) installations of operating systems are possible and that some people do so when the drive will host only one operating system, as is the recommended use case with Qubes OS. Is partitioning actually needed for Qubes OS to function with all its features, or can a partitionless setup be a safe configuration?

I know that in order for UEFI boot to work, an EFI system partition is mandatory. If the EFI partition is stored on a separate flash drive (along with /boot) that is used to boot the computer, however, will that allow a partitionless installation to still benefit from UEFI boot? If so, then what else might prevent a successful partitionless setup, or otherwise make such a setup inadvisable?

To visualize what I mean, this is the default installation scheme, as depicted here:

NAME                                SIZE    TYPE    MOUNTPOINT
sda                                         disk
├──sda1                               1G    part    /boot
└──sda2                                     part
   └──luks-<UUID>                           crypt
      ├──qubes_dom0-pool00_tmeta            lvm
      ├──qubes_dom0-pool00_tdata            lvm
      └──qubes_dom0-swap                    lvm     [SWAP]

This is an example of a partitionless setup:

NAME                                SIZE    TYPE    MOUNTPOINT
sda                                         disk
└──luks-<UUID>                              crypt
   ├──qubes_dom0-pool00_tmeta               lvm
   ├──qubes_dom0-pool00_tdata               lvm
   └──qubes_dom0-swap                       lvm     [SWAP]
├──EFI                               500M   lvm    EFI
└──/boot                               1G   lvm    /boot

Apologies if this is a newbie question. I am new to Qubes OS and custom installations, and I am still getting a grasp of the basics here.


1 Like

I dont know if it fits exactly to ur post. But it got equal errors while installing qubes 4.1 WIth qubes 4 it was no problem to install it a seperate partition and running a other system at the other partition. But installing qubes 4.1always breaks the partions and dont show them up. I have a seperate hdd in my laptop and tried to install win10 there too and at the ssd qubes, but Qubes is destroying the /bootmgr and I am not able to boot in the other system. At qubes 4 I can fix it by changing the grub.d/40_custom easily… but here it is difficult. Another Problem ist if I select the manual method in the installer, the complete installer breaks. I just can install it with automatic partion enabled, but then it will kill all my other partitions and disks. so be careful :wink: