From reading Rod's pages
I understand it may be possible to install a boot manager and boot loader, but I don't know how to get that far if I can't even get past a grub prompt yet?
I have yet to do a Mint 14 install myself, but the impression I get from the posts I've seen is that its ability to boot in EFI mode isn't that great, especially on USB media. This is a bit of a shot in the dark, but here's what I suggests:
- Get ahold of two USB flash drives.
- Prepare the first drive to hold the Mint installer. (You've already done this.)
- Download rEFInd. Get the binary zip file.
- Unpack the rEFInd zip file.
- Insert the second USB flash drive in your computer and prepare it with a FAT partition, ideally using GPT and set as an ESP (that is, with the "boot flag" set in parted, or with a type code of EF00 in gdisk).
- In the refind directory, type "sudo bash install.sh --usedefault /dev/sdc1 --alldrivers". Change "/dev/sdc1" to the identity of the FAT partition you created in the previous step.
- Move the USB flash drives from whatever system you use to prepare them to your UEFI system.
- Power on and get to your boot manager menu by pressing whatever key you need to press to get it.
- Select the second USB flash drive in the menu. With any luck, rEFInd should start.
- With any luck, you should see at least one Linux option that refers to a kernel on the first USB flash drive. Select it.
With any luck (yes, there's a lot of luck involved), the Mint installer should start and run normally. If you get as far as seeing Linux options in rEFInd and the installer hangs, you can probably work around that problem by pressing F2 or Insert twice, entering boot options, and pressing Enter. Unfortunately, I don't know what boot options the Mint installer expects, offhand. This information should be available in the boot loader configuration on the first flash drive, though -- try looking for grub.cfg or a SYSLINUX configuration file and see if you can parse it.
Is it possible to do the following?
1. Switch from EFI to BIOS mode.
2. Install Mint on the space I've made on the disk (I'm aware that Windows won't boot at this point).
3. From this new Mint install, install GRUB/ELILO/whatever I need to get it to boot in EFI mode.
4. Install something like rEFInd.
5. Restart after whatever configuration is needed, switch back to EFI mode.
6. Laptop now sorted with Mint, Windows 8 and a nice graphical manager.
Yes, but you'll need to install rEFInd in Windows and do at least part of its configuration (namely, creating a refind_linux.conf file) using a Linux emergency disc (or create that file ahead of time). Alternatively, you can try this experimental version of install.sh,
which can install rEFInd from a BIOS-mode Linux boot and give you at least a chance of starting it. This works by having rEFInd rename the Windows boot loader and then take its place, which is rather rude, but there are just too many hoops to jump through for the average user to manage it otherwise if the installer doesn't boot in the right way.
Pierre wrote:with point 5 - you'll have to leave it permanently in bios mode.
Converting Windows to boot in BIOS mode is possible but tedious -- you must convert your partition table from GPT to MBR format and then alter the boot loader. The computer's emergency restore functions will probably stop working. Overall, I don't recommend this unless you've got a Windows 8 retail disc of the same type as your OEM license, in which case you can wipe the disk clean and re-install everything from the retail disc.