[xubuntu-users] Installing Xubuntu / UEFI / Etc

Rog linux.rog at gmail.com
Fri Jan 12 01:20:09 UTC 2018


Installation of Xubuntu on devices using UEFI Bios was a recent topic of 
discussion on this mailing list.

Here's my experience with a successful installation on a Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 
4 laptop. This is a dual-boot installation with Windows-10 pre-installed on a 
new, Lenovo X1 Carbon, Gen 4 PC.

Best reference that I found is the Ubuntu UEFI guide 
(https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UEFI). Another guide mentioned that the 
installation went very smoothly - the up-to-date distros are capable of doing 
a UEFI install. USE 16.04. Some are having problems with 17.x. My rule of 
thumb is to let others work-out bugs and stick with LTS releases after they've 
been on the street for awhile. One can injure ones self on the cutting edge.

Steps that I went through:

1. Update Windows: Do all Windows updates first. Install the latest updates to 
ensure that the Spectre and Meltdown work-a-rounds are installed. These are 
workarounds from Microsoft (MS). This step took a long time - a familiar, 
frustrating routine: wait for downloads, install, reboot, ad nauseum. The 
downloads went pretty fast via WiFi but an ethernet connection is better. BUT, 
the X1 Carbon has no ethernet port so I'm stuck with WiFi while waiting for an 
adapter to use ethernet. Notably, installs are also much faster on this 
machine because it has a Solid State Disk (SSD).

2. Make room for Linux: Using Windows disk management tools, shrink the big 
Windows partition to make room for Linux partitions. My PC has a nominal 256 
GB SSD. After shrinking, I had about 120 GB of free space, with a small, 
Windows recovery partition remaining at the "end" of the drive.

3. Some advise running chkdsk to ensure integrity of the Windows disk (C:). 
Another safety step is to created a restore point.

4. Download a Linux iso and create an install disk. My mileage has varied 
widely using thumb drives so I just fall back on creating an install DVD, 
easily done in Linux. I have had success using K3B for creation of ISOs. One 
reference suggested using RUFUS to create a UEFI bootable thumb drive: YMMV; I 
got zero miles per GB - i.e., it failed. I've wasted many hours using 
different utilities in attempts to create bootable installation thumb drives. 
And, older software may not make a UEFI bootable disk. (Note that CDs are too 
small to hold up-to-date ISOs.)

5. Proceed with installation of Xubuntu: Connect external CD drive to PC - the 
X1 Carbon has no internal optical drive.

6. Boot the CD and choose try Xubuntu from the CD to make sure everything 
works. I got sound, WiFi, etc. (I have not attempted to use the finger print 
reader.) Note that, at this point, no changes have been made to the SSD: 
everything runs on a virtual disk in ram.

7. Verify that Linux is booted in UEFI mode by looking for files in 
/sys/firmware/efi. If they exist, a UEFI boot has been accomplished.

8. Install by clicking on the Install icon on the Xubuntu desktop.

9. Proceed as usually through install steps. Choose the something else mode 
for partitioning.
     Image of dialog: https://i.stack.imgur.com/KURnS.png
     More tips on partitioning with images of dialogs 
https://itsfoss.com/install-ubuntu-dual-boot-mode-windows/
         This ref is out-of-date but nicely illustrates concepts; see note 
below about not needing a /swap partition.

10. Partitioning: I in the free space created by shrinking the large, Windows 
partition, I created a ~30 GB partition for / (root). In the remaining empty, 
free space, create another ext4 partition and name mount point /home. I left 
the last, relatively small partition at the "end" of the disk to preserve the 
Windows recovery partition.

I prefer a separate /home partition to enable easier recovery of files stored 
there in during future installs. I also select *encryption* of /home for 
security during travel - in case the laptop is lost or stolen. A separate 
/swap partition was skipped because my PC has 8 GB of ram. Linux manages ram 
very well and it's unlikely that /swap space will be needed. If it is, a /swap 
file can be created later.

Proceed with the usual installation steps.

At some point, the installer automagically turned-off secure boot. I had not 
changed any of the default settings in the bios.

11. Re-boot and cross fingers. When I re-booted into Linux, I had no WiFi / 
network manager. It took hours to find a work around: during booting, I 
selected the advanced boot option and dropped back to the a 4.10 version of 
the kernel. It appears that there is a bug in later versions. I'll write 
separately about that issue. This was the most frustrating part of the exercise!

More refs:
Learn more about UEFI on WikiPedia: 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unified_Extensible_Firmware_Interface
Trouble shooting: http://www.rodsbooks.com/linux-uefi/
Manual partitioning: 
https://askubuntu.com/questions/343268/how-to-use-manual-partitioning-during-installation

Note that procedures are evolving and older info related to UEFI installs may 
be out of date, leading to unsuccessful installs. I read many different 
sources and took copious notes before attempting this install.

-- 
Roger
linux.rog at gmail.com

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