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Experience with Dualboot Windows 8 + Linux Mint under UEFI and Secure Boot


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Experience with Dualboot Windows 8 + Linux Mint under UEFI and Secure Boot Old computers slowly goes into silicon heaven and are gradually replaced by powerful machines that are equipped with UEFI instead of BIOS and a feature called Secure Boot. Similarly, the number of users who want to install Linux alongside Windows will grow. Detailed dualboot instructions under the UEFI and GPT tables are common, but some important details may vary. Now I will allow a few disclaimers. I do not attempt of any detailed instructions, I assume that whoever clicks on this article knows the terminology, can make a bootable USB or DVD and can install Linux in Legacy Bios. So it's just breaking down the differences from "classic dualboot" to save time and a little nerves when you decide for such ..

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Experience with Dualboot Windows 8 + Linux Mint under UEFI and Secure Boot

Old computers slowly goes into silicon heaven and are gradually replaced by powerful machines that are equipped with UEFI instead of BIOS and a feature called Secure Boot. Similarly, the number of users who want to install Linux alongside Windows will grow. Detailed dualboot instructions under the UEFI and GPT tables are common, but some important details may vary.

Now I will allow a few disclaimers. I do not attempt of any detailed instructions, I assume that whoever clicks on this article knows the terminology, can make a bootable USB or DVD and can install Linux in Legacy Bios. So it's just breaking down the differences from "classic dualboot" to save time and a little nerves when you decide for such a setup.

I would like to summarize the following steps:

  1. Get familiar with the BIOS / UEFI control on your laptop/computer
  2. Windows partition backup
  3. Preparing LiveUSB
  4. Test the LiveUSB functionality
  5. Backup of data on a test laptop
  6. Change Windows 8 settings
  7. Modify Windows 8 partition
  8. Installing Linux Mint
  9. Post-installation adjustments

1. Get familiar with the BIOS/UEFI control on a laptop/PC

It is the basis for us to manage the installation. If we do not know, we need to find out at least the following:

  • by which keyboard key is activated BIOS / UEFI while booting the notebook
  • how to switch Legacy BIOS and UEFI modes
  • how in UEFI mode, we disable/enable Secure Boot
  • by which key we activate the UEFI Boot Menu while booting the notebook

What BIOS / UEFI and Secure Boot we do not need to be thoroughly explored for installation purposes, although of course the more we know, the better for us, because we will understand more about what we do in the context. If we have task number 1 completed, we can go further.

2. Backup the Windows partition

Of course, as before each disk manipulation, it is recommended to make a backup of the Windows partition, that is, a recovery DVD in case something fails. Murphy's law says that if we do it, everything will go smoothly. If not, it can be a turning point. Disk defragmenter is also recommended, even if it is possible for SSD. Because I do not have Windows 8, I legally downloaded the Windows 8 trial version for 90 days and prepared a boot / install DVD and installed Windows 8 on my laptop. As a good habit of Windows - it has occupied the entire disk. So I did not make a backup or defrag, it was not necessary.

3. Preparing LiveUSB

In this step, we prepare LiveUSB (or LiveDVD). I assume that the ISO file is reliably downloaded. In my case it was Linux Mint Cinnamon, 64 bit. Obviously, the choice is for every user, it is important that the distribution we have decided for is supported by UEFI and was, of course, 64 bit. From this it is clear that everything correctly built on UBUNTU LTS will go. Under Windows, it's often recommended to run LiveUSB UNetbootin, but a colleague wrote in one forum that it might not work properly on all distributions and therefore recommends plan B.

I cannot judge, it worked. Therefore, as Plan B can be used with Win32 Disk Imager or anything that suits you, there are many alternatives.

Since I have already installed Linux Mint, which I plan to sacrifice on the altar of knowledge, so of course I used the tools that are part of the distribution, ie USB Disk Formatting and then the USB Disk Builder.

These are simple and reliable utilities available to the Mint user. Of course, everyone uses what suits him and what he is used to.

4. Examining LiveUSB / DVD functionality

Prior to the installation, I was able to listen to guide of more experienced and created LiveUSB resp. Live DVD to be properly check in Live session. So we turn off the notebook (or PC, the next notebook), start the BIOS / UEFI at startup and change the boot order so that our PC boots from our Live Media. And when we're there, make sure we have UEFI and Secure Boot turned on. Window design may vary according to BIOS.

In the UEFI Boot Order menu we put the USB Diskette on Key / USB Hard Disk in the first place. If we're done, we'll save the settings and restart, usually with the F10 key. So plug in LiveUSB and reboot. If we did the right thing, our live session distribution should welcome us.

So we start up and take the time to check the correct behaviour of our laptop to access the Internet. Linux Mint has the advantage that even Live session can be connected over Wi-Fi, which may not be necessary for some distributions. Connecting to the Internet is not a condition. I suppose everything works as we do, we go further. If not, you need to go back one step back and consider where the comrades have made a mistake. After a successful test, turn off the notebook / PC, pull out LiveUSB / DVD and start Windows.

5. Backup data on a laptop / PC.

Since we are going to handle the disk, it is recommended that you make a backup of your Windows data. There is a lot of ways, I assume that there is no need to devote special attention to this topic, but it needs to be highlighted.

6. Change the Windows settings.

Who's glad we'll be installing, he'll have to wait a moment. There are a few changes waiting for us. If we were satisfied by how fast our Windows starts, it's because they are not actually shutting down. When you press the Power Off / Off button, they are being moved to the disk. This should be changed so that when you click the Shut Down button, Windows will turn off. Open the Control Panel, click System and Security, and then click Power Options.

The following window will appear in which we can see that even if the notebook is turned off, Windows just goes to sleep.

In the "When I press the power button" dialog, therefore, switch Sleep to Shutdown for On battery and Plugged in mode. You also need to turn off Turn on fast startup - the box must be blank. These are the major changes without which the dualboot will not work, so let's take that.

7. Modify the Windows partition

The English text uses the "shrink partition", which means literally shrinking a partition. Who has more physical disks or has a pre-prepared partition, of course, can skip this part. We draw from a situation where Windows is cracked on the entire disk. To get a report, open the Disk Manager utility and see your disks.

We see that Disk0 is completely occupied. At the same time, however, we see a 100MB partition labelled EFI System Partition. The place to install Linux is by clicking the Win8 (C:) partition and choosing Shrink volume. The part we are going to reduce will be marked by diagonal lines.

Well, and in the subsequent dialogue, we determine how many partitioning capacities remain for Windows and how much we allocate to Linux.

After successful shrinking, part of the disc will be cut out like Unallocated, which we like because we wanted it.

This is what we do with the Windows edits, save the changes, and restart to make sure that our changes to the system settings did not hurt anyway. If the restart runs smoothly, we shut down Windows (not hibernate but - shut down). It is time to install Linux. If anyone is complaining that we have not yet shut down Secure Boot in UEFI, we have made it so on purpose. Just keep it on.

8. Install Linux Mint

Before installing, remember that we are installing under UEFI and Secure Boot. Basically, the installation from MBR does not differ much except for one important change. If we were stuck in classical installations under MBR and Legacy BIOS, the bootloader is installed in the partition without a number, sda, here is the difference that we will install the boot loader into the partition that is referred to as EFI System Partition and Linux will see it with the number. So we boot up our previously tested system (for me Linux Mint Cinnamon). And we'll see Secure Boot does not mind. Since it works on the Ubuntu LTS chassis, we can answer the question of how the distribution will be ranked with Secure Boot. So, if we do not stick to a dualboot, Secure Boot does not need to bother us. And I do not want anyone to bother with the detailed installation instructions, it's enough. We will highlight only important things.

The difference in defining parts under the UEFI is that you are not limited by the four primary parties. Note how the EFI party is tagged.

As we can see, it is dev / sda2 and there will be a boot loader installed after partitioning the disk. We do not interfere with existing Windows partitions.

So we divide the disk respectively. Its part, which we made free by shrinking the partition, at discretion and finally do not forget the bootloader.

If we have efi, for example, under sda3, of course we install it there. Sure no one is angry that I will not take all the steps in detail, repeating the instructions is enough. After successful installation, we will restart.

9. Post-installation adjustments

During the restart, we run the UEFI Boot Menu, it's a F12 key usually and a similar menu will appear.

And now a short node about Secure Boot. If we want / need / need to have Secure Boot enabled, you can choose to start Windows or Linux from this menu. So if I choose Windows Boot Manager, I start Windows and I can work normally. If I want to work with Linux, of course I choose Ubuntu or your installed distribution.

Now we choose ubuntu and get GRUB menu Linux Mint 17.

So we have a choice. If we select Mint, and we have installed correctly, of course it will start correctly. If you choose Windows Boot Manager, instead of Windows start, something similar will appear:

/ EndEntire

File path: / ACPI (a0Q41d0,0) / PCI (2,1f) / Sata (0,0,0) / HD (2,96800,32000,873aa15a09db744b, 2,2) / File (\ EFI \ Microsoft \ Boot ) / File (Bootmgfw.efi) / EndEntire

Error: cannot load image

And this error message is a consequence of the Secure Boot being turned on. So if we want to use the GRUB Menu and not take the UEFI Boot Menu, we will have to disable Secure Boot. How? It can problem for some Bios / UEFIs. Simply, the Secure Boot option is inaccessible.

How to do it? In my case, fortunately, activation of Supervisor Password helped to make the choice available. However, in some cases, no trick can help except for BIOS / UEFI upgrade. So, if you encounter such a complication, it's a UEFI for Windows that complicates this dualboot, you need to read how to successfully upgrade the UEFI.

In our case, however, we disable Secure Boot, save, restart, and we can take a dualboot under UEFI.



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