I’m going to install both Windows 10 (mostly for benchmarking purposes) and Gentoo Linux. Installing Windows first avoids having to reinstall the boot loader in the MBR twice, since Windows will re-write it during the installation.

The preparation steps are quite identical, but Gentoo requires a few extra steps.

Preparing the installation devices

Download the installation image


Get the Windows 10 ISO (for free) from the official site. This is a fully legit and functional version of Windows, although it will be annoying you to register and limits you from some customizations (for which there are workarounds).

The file is about 4.4GB, so use at least a 8GB USB drive.


The machine doesn’t have an optical drive, hence need to create a bootable usb stick, compatible with UEFI motherboard.

The Gentoo’s minimal cd iso is not compatible with UEFI (at least out of the box), so as an alternative one can use basically any liveCD distro, including Gentoo’s LiveDVD, or SystemRescueCD. I’ll go with the former option.

First, get the LiveDVD iso image from a mirror near you. Navigate to releases/amd64/20160704/ [or latest dir] and download livedvd-amd64-multilib-YYYYMMDD.iso (x86_64) and the corresponding *.DIGESTS.asc

The file is about 1.4GB, so use at least a 2GB USB drive.

Verify the files

For this step you need gnupg. If you’re in macOS, get it via brew install gpg.

gpg --keyserver hkps.pool.sks-keyservers.net --recv-keys 0xBB572E0E2D182910

The --recv-keys argument should be the latest key listed in the Release Media Signatures

Next verify the cryptographic signature of the .DIGESTS.asc file:

gpg --verify install-amd64-minimal-YYYYMMDD.iso.DIGESTS.asc

The primary key fingerprint outputted by the last command should match the one in the signatures page.

Once the cryptographic key is validated, verify the iso checksum:

grep -A 1 -i sha512 install-amd64-minimal-YYYYMMDD.iso.DIGESTS.asc
sha512sum install-amd64-minimal-20141204.iso

The SHA512 hashes from the two commands above should match.

NOTE: if you’re on macOS, replace sha512sum with /usr/local/bin/gsha512su, which can be downloaded via brew install coreutils.

Creating the bootable USB devices

Have a usb drive formated with FAT32 filesystem (or FAT16 if size < 4GB) Using GParted (Linux), Disk Utility (macOS) or the Windows formating tool.

If you are in Windows, you can use Rufus to create the bootable USB device. If you are in UNIX-like systems (Linux and macOS), you can use dd.

  • Check the device corresponding the the usb device with lsusb, df, or similar (Linux), or diskutil list (macOS)

  • Unmount the device if its mounted with umount /mnt/myMountPoint (Linux), or sudo diskutil unmountDisk /dev/<usbdevice>

  • use dd to do a binary copy of the disk images

Windows ISO

dd if=Win10_1607_English_x64.iso of=/dev/<usbdevice> bs=1m status=progress

Gentoo LiveDVD ISO

dd if=install-amd64-minimal-YYYYMMDD.iso of=/dev/<usbdevice> bs=1m status=progress

Note: the of parameter should be the device itself, not a partition! Also all data in the USB device will be lost, but you should have guessed that.

Note2: On macOS, using /dev/rdiskX instead of /dev/diskX results in higher I/O, since it’s using the raw device. See this.

Booting time!

Now you need to: Reboot the machine and enter your motherboard’s bios (usually an F-key) and reorder the booting device sequence such that USB goes first (or before the HDD).

Continue to Installing Gentoo - Part 2