Updating firmware, UEFI, and Timeshift

Before I go making unnecessary work for myself, I thought I’d run a proposed plan of action past the experts here, as well as the reasons for it.

Goal: Re-install Ubuntu Maté 20.04.x on my ThinkPad Carbon X1 — but this time in secure-boot/UEFI mode — in order to take advantage of the ability to update firmware. HERE’S THE FIRST PLACE TO CORRECT ME. Currently I can’t do any firmware updates from within Ubuntu, though the software capable of doing so is available to launch. I’ve come to the (mis?)understanding that this firmware-update feature only works on systems taking advantage of secure-boot/UEFI.

Plan: Assuming that firmware-feature/UEFI-association assumption is valid, as I prepare to make the change, the thought came to me that I could back up all system files, programs installed, etc., using Timeshift. Restoring from Timeshift afterwards could save me a lot of re-installing and tweaking, etc. At least, I’m hoping so…

Possible Glitch: …but this thought came to me as well: What if Timeshift works “too well” and overwrites some settings needed by the new secure/UEFI boot process? Can anyone tell me what will happen?

Safety-First Side Note: My NVMe has a separate /home partition, which shouldn’t be affected by a reinstall (but the /home partition is backed up to a now-offline external drive, just in case; I always believe in paying “Murphy” his insurance premium).

Thanks in advance for any guidance on this project.

I’m definitely not an expert on UEFI but i’ve never heard of or would have a reason to believe UEFI/Secure Boot has anything to do with firmware updates either to the BIOS or within the operating system. It just protects the integrity of the distro’s boot process.

I’m pretty sure restore tools that don’t touch the /boot/ partition won’t affect it’s ability to boot. You’ll want more confirmation though. I think you can also rebuild your boot partition to work with UEFI using a live cd without having to touch the OS, I can share my notes if you want to try that route first.

If you’re looking to update the BIOS i’d just use a memory stick, most of them allow update inside the BIOS GUI/TUI at boot. There’s also not much advantage to Secure Boot unless you’re using Full Disk Encryption as it’s a bit like guarding a gate without a wall.

Well, here’s a good example of why we ask first!

Yes, I’d be interested in your notes on rebuilding the the boot partition.

I’m still researching the update-from-USB. I permanently bricked a computer long ago doing a BIOS update (happily, it wasn’t an important machine), so I’m in serious “homework mode.”