New to modern Linux systems, I‘m looking for helpful advice installing elementary OS 5.0.

Trying to „clean“ install elementary 5.0 on a MacBook Pro 3.1 (Core2Duo) fails with the fatal error „grub install /dev/sda failed“. I tried various installation methods from fully automatic to manual but didn‘t succeed yet. I can only boot into Linux from the stick after modifying the grubloader. Elementary or kubuntu are working quite well but any installation failed as described previously. Although the internal SSD was completely erased and formatted there seems to be an issue with partitions. Helpful ideas are appreciated!

2 Answers 2


Welcome to the Elementary OS forum.

I am a fellow Macintosh enthusiast, although I have not run into your specific issue, I did a bit of research and found the following:

Depending on your specific model of MacBook Pro (circa 2007) you might be caught in the trap of the processor is 64-bit, however, the EFI only has a 32-bit, and consequently, only are capable of booting in 32-bit mode.

Which Intel Macs have 64-bit processors? Which have a 64-bit EFI? Which are capable of booting in 64-bit mode?

Matt Gadient wrote a very useful blog post describing the problem and a few different fixes.

Good luck!

Have you had the chance to try the Boot-Repair Utility?

  • Thanks for the quick answer! I am already aware of the 62/32 bit issue with older MBP. But since my MBP boots into Elementary and the system runs very good (including wifi), I assume, that I struggle with a different problem.
    – macmaniac
    Commented Feb 17, 2019 at 17:11
  • Sorry, I thought that since you had to modify grubloader that Matt's blog post could potentially resolve your issues.
    – K. Capwell
    Commented Feb 17, 2019 at 17:58
  • My MBP 3.1 positively has 64 bit EFI. As Matt clearely points out („Make sure you’re in the same boat!“) that MacBook Pro 2,1 – MacBook Pro 2,2 being the ones with 64 bit Core2Duo and 32 bit EFI. However, I will tryout a 32 bit Linux.
    – macmaniac
    Commented Feb 18, 2019 at 18:59
  • Since your MacBook Pro's model number was not identified (MxxxxLL/A), I wanted you to know that there are three MacBook Pro models that identify as MacBookPro3.1 with 32-bit EFI. That was in my first link. Give Matt's solution a shot. Then there is the Boot-Repair Utility.
    – K. Capwell
    Commented Feb 18, 2019 at 20:04

According to the table linked above your MBP appears to have 64 bit HW and EFI but are forced into 32 bit EFI mode in firmware. IIRC the boot images provided above should work with that machine.

FWIW, I've used them to install elementary in the past without issue (old iMac).

Give it a shot - will probably work.

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