Friday, October 11, 2013

Installing LinuxMint or Ubuntu on my XPS 14 ultrabook - what worked for me

I've also done these same steps for other UEFI laptops like the newer ASUS machines. Other than the BIOS tweaks, the same pattern should work for most newer UEFI computers.

UEFI seemed like a great idea and first, but it sorted of hozed things for people who want to run open source systems like many Linux flavors who do not have the ability to get a secure boot key (read tax for people with money).  Read more about UEFI here.

 I just installed LinuxMint 15 on my refurb I just got from the 30% off sale at dell outlet. Everything works, I didn't need a special kernel to make the keyboard backlight controls working, or screen dimmer.

I downloaded the Ubuntu secure remix from here onto a usb stick.

Items needed: 2 usb sticks, one with Secure Ubuntu Remix, and the other with the linux flavor of your choice Go here http://sourceforge.net/projects/ubuntu-secured/ to get the image.


 Steps I did:

 1) Disable secure boot in bios, disable intel rapid start and caching. (My system has the 500gb + 32gb msata ssd)

2) boot into windows 8(newer machines with UEFI probably have windows 8 installed). Shrink partition down as low as it will go (it let me drop it down by 230gb or so). while holding down shift, click restart, keep holding it down until boot options appear, pick other/usb stick

3) ubuntu remix boots - click install, format 32gb ssd as target install, set boot loader to /dev/sda (it will default to that) to 500gb. It will make a grub partition there out of a small piece of free space

4) after reboot, ubuntu should boot. Go to boot repair icon it has, it pick auto-fix options. next reboot will give you a grub menu and let you choose UEFI loader or linux

5) both OSs should boot - At this point you can boot off another USB of your choice and replace the ubuntu install (I did linux mint) on the 32gb ssd.

After install, you'll have to manually add or download the boot repair tool again, it will fix grub so you can get both linux and windows After that I installed bumblebee to get my power consumption down to 15 watts or less. Before that its higher, as the nvidia 630 is always running. Everything works, battery life is good. Suspend/resume for me has not caused any issues yet, I've done it about 5 times today and wifi comes back and all. So far I am digging the machine!

 If you just want Linux installed and no Windows 8, in step 2, boot on the secure ubuntu image, and click on the icon for OS remover. You can then just erase the windows partition, then run boot repair and continue with rest of the steps.

 If you only have one hard disk, you'll just need to direct ubuntu to install on a new partition out of the free space on the drive you just made from either killing Windows or shrinking the partition. Tip: if you run a defrag util in windows first, you will be able to shrink the partition down more then as it comes. 

Good luck enjoying your new computer, free of Windows!

1 comment:

Emmanuel G. Barbosa said...

Hi, I've been searching for guide to install linux alongside windows 8 on a ultrabook and your guide is definitely the best. I'll give it try this weekend.

If you do a video about it, you will help a lot of people.

Thanks.