Help? Dual boot install - Win8 / Mint 14 EFI - Lenovo G580

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Help? Dual boot install - Win8 / Mint 14 EFI - Lenovo G580

Postby tsdadam on Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:32 am

Hi all,

I took delivery of a Lenovo G580 yesterday with a view to installing Mint alongside the pre-installed Windows 8, for a laptop I can do some light development work on among other things.

I've read so many pages now trying to get my head around installing Linux on a UEFI/EFI system, and I think I understand most of it, but try as I might, I cannot get things going the way I want.

So far I've successfully disabled secure boot in the bios (which should let me install in plain EFI mode, no?), and resized the windows partition to give myself some space to install linux in. I've created a bootable USB stick with both windiskimager and unetbootin, using the latest 14.1 Cinnamon iso. Both times I've done this, I can get the laptop to boot from the stick, but all I get is the GRUB prompt. I've tried the same with Ubuntu and Xubuntu isos, but get the same thing.

I understand that I could change the EFI mode to BIOS instead and keep changing it when I want to go between windows and mint, but I don't really want to go down that route.

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 even tried a bootable DVD from the front of Linux Format and can't even get it to boot from it, it just ignores the disc and loads windows.

I know EFI and linux is a bit of a nightmare at the moment for a lot of people, but if anyone can point me in the right direction, I'd be over the moon.
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Re: Help? Dual boot install - Win8 / Mint 14 EFI - Lenovo G5

Postby tsdadam on Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:17 am

Following up my own question with a quick thought...

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.
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Re: Help? Dual boot install - Win8 / Mint 14 EFI - Lenovo G5

Postby Pierre on Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:05 am

the answer to all those points, is "basically, Yes'

I even tried a bootable DVD from the front of Linux Format
and can't even get it to boot from it, it just ignores the disc and loads windows.


if it ignores either the usb or the DvD, during the boot process,
then the bios is to to boot from the hdd 1st.

somewhere in the bios settings, is a option to change the boot order.
find that, & change it to boot from the DvD 1st & the hdd 2nd.

you'll have to shrink the windows side of the hdd 1st, to get some room @ the end of the hdd,
to install another O/S, such as Mint.

with point 5 - you'll have to leave it permanently in bios mode.
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Re: Help? Dual boot install - Win8 / Mint 14 EFI - Lenovo G5

Postby tsdadam on Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:18 am

Pierre wrote:the answer to all those points, is "basically, Yes'

I even tried a bootable DVD from the front of Linux Format
and can't even get it to boot from it, it just ignores the disc and loads windows.


if it ignores either the usb or the DvD, during the boot process,
then the bios is to to boot from the hdd 1st.

somewhere in the bios settings, is a option to change the boot order.
find that, & change it to boot from the DvD 1st & the hdd 2nd.


I've already set the boot order in the bios to have usb and then DVD before HDD on the list, and I've tried hitting F12 at POST to bring up a boot device choice, and with the DVD in the drive it doesn't even show on the list. In an older laptop (no EFI) it boots just fine.

you'll have to shrink the windows side of the hdd 1st, to get some room @ the end of the hdd,
to install another O/S, such as Mint.


As I mentioned in my original post, I've already resized the windows partition in order to free up some space for the Mint install :)
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Re: Help? Dual boot install - Win8 / Mint 14 EFI - Lenovo G5

Postby YeeP on Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:49 am

tsdadam wrote:Following up my own question with a quick thought...

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.


Watching this thread closely. Through my 500 questions to Rod, I would have to say that if you want to do #1, then you need to have windows 8 installed in "bios mode". I do not think you can have one Os installed in bios mode, and one in EFI. Also, I think you can ditch grub and just go straight to rEFInd.

Very interested in his answer to #5. My computer was also purchased yesterday.... :mrgreen:
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Re: Help? Dual boot install - Win8 / Mint 14 EFI - Lenovo G5

Postby tsdadam on Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:54 am

YeeP wrote:Watching this thread closely. Through my 500 questions to Rod, I would have to say that if you want to do #1, then you need to have windows 8 installed in "bios mode". I do not think you can have one Os installed in bios mode, and one in EFI. Also, I think you can ditch grub and just go straight to rEFInd.

Very interested in his answer to #5. My computer was also purchased yesterday.... :mrgreen:


I know what you mean, I understand having less control over Windows, but I was hoping there was something possible in linux to change it from a BIOS to an EFI install. I don't know enough about the difference between the two of them to be able to guess.

I'd happily install windows in BIOS mode, but as it's a store-bought machine, I don't have a DVD, just a restore partition. I don't know whether it's possible to restore the windows 8 install in a different mode than it was originally installed as.
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Re: Help? Dual boot install - Win8 / Mint 14 EFI - Lenovo G5

Postby srs5694 on Fri Jan 04, 2013 11:05 am

tsdadam wrote: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:

  1. Get ahold of two USB flash drives.
  2. Prepare the first drive to hold the Mint installer. (You've already done this.)
  3. Download rEFInd. Get the binary zip file.
  4. Unpack the rEFInd zip file.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. Move the USB flash drives from whatever system you use to prepare them to your UEFI system.
  8. Power on and get to your boot manager menu by pressing whatever key you need to press to get it.
  9. Select the second USB flash drive in the menu. With any luck, rEFInd should start.
  10. 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.
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Re: Help? Dual boot install - Win8 / Mint 14 EFI - Lenovo G5

Postby tsdadam on Fri Jan 04, 2013 11:56 am

srs5694 wrote:
tsdadam wrote: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:

  1. Get ahold of two USB flash drives.
  2. Prepare the first drive to hold the Mint installer. (You've already done this.)
  3. Download rEFInd. Get the binary zip file.
  4. Unpack the rEFInd zip file.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. Move the USB flash drives from whatever system you use to prepare them to your UEFI system.
  8. Power on and get to your boot manager menu by pressing whatever key you need to press to get it.
  9. Select the second USB flash drive in the menu. With any luck, rEFInd should start.
  10. 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.


Thanks for the very thorough answer. Just a quick couple of questions though if I can?

1. The only other system I have in the house at the moment is Windows, what's the equivalent (if you know) of doing steps 5 and 6 without linux? If there's no real way, I guess I could install a VM and do it that way...

2. If I can't get hold of a second USB flash drive, should I - in theory - be able to put the Mint installer on DVD, boot rEFInd from USB and then be able to see the DVD from rEFInd?
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Re: Help? Dual boot install - Win8 / Mint 14 EFI - Lenovo G5

Postby YeeP on Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:35 pm

Cool idea on question #2. I have seen Rod say that sometimes the EFI system gets funky with booting from disc.

Also, is the $5 purchase of a small flash drive breaking the bank for you.... :wink:
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Re: Help? Dual boot install - Win8 / Mint 14 EFI - Lenovo G5

Postby tsdadam on Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:38 pm

YeeP wrote:Cool idea on question #2. I have seen Rod say that sometimes the EFI system gets funky with booting from disc.

Also, is the $5 purchase of a small flash drive breaking the bank for you.... :wink:

The month after Christmas with a 3 month old son at home? Yeah, maybe...

I'm just being facetious I'll have a look on the way home, see how much I can pick one up for, I just wanted to avoid a trip to the shop :)
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Re: Help? Dual boot install - Win8 / Mint 14 EFI - Lenovo G5

Postby srs5694 on Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:56 pm

tsdadam wrote:1. The only other system I have in the house at the moment is Windows, what's the equivalent (if you know) of doing steps 5 and 6 without linux? If there's no real way, I guess I could install a VM and do it that way...


It can be done from Windows, but requires more steps, since you'll need to copy all the files by hand; however, there's an easier way....

2. If I can't get hold of a second USB flash drive, should I - in theory - be able to put the Mint installer on DVD, boot rEFInd from USB and then be able to see the DVD from rEFInd?


I somehow though you didn't have an optical drive. Instead of the rEFInd USB drive, you can substitute the bootable rEFInd disc image that you can download from its Web page. That's actually a little bit easier to prepare, too; just burn it like any other whole-disk image.
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Re: Help? Dual boot install - Win8 / Mint 14 EFI - Lenovo G5

Postby tsdadam on Fri Jan 04, 2013 4:48 pm

OK, an update.

I've successfully got it booting from CD (had to switch from AHCI to legacy in setup), and booting the rEFInd CD, but it doesn't seem to see the USB install.

I get two windows options (I imagine windows and maybe some kind of rescue image or mode?), but the Mint 14 iso I write to USB with unetbootin doesn't show up, regardless of which port I put it in, and whether or not I press Esc in rEFInd to refresh the list.

Is there something else I should be doing, or a different way I should be writing the image to the USB drive?
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Re: Help? Dual boot install - Win8 / Mint 14 EFI - Lenovo G5

Postby YeeP on Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:10 pm

On the rEFInd CD, do you have the efi files? That should boot in EFI boot mode.... I think.

I guess according to this, you do have them: http://www.rodsbooks.com/refind/drivers.html

Can you tell us (me) exactly how you made those discs and usb drive?

Are you using Gparted in Windows to signify the partitions as bootable in formating the USB(s)?

Did you try the manual Windows install of rEFInd, as a setup for multiple EFI boots? Not sure if that is the correct step, but it seems like it in my little mind.
http://www.rodsbooks.com/refind/installing.html#windows
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Re: Help? Dual boot install - Win8 / Mint 14 EFI - Lenovo G5

Postby tsdadam on Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:31 pm

YeeP wrote:On the rEFInd CD, do you have the efi files? That should boot in EFI boot mode.... I think.

I guess according to this, you do have them: http://www.rodsbooks.com/refind/drivers.html

Can you tell us (me) exactly how you made those discs and usb drive?

Are you using Gparted in Windows to signify the partitions as bootable in formating the USB(s)?

Did you try the manual Windows install of rEFInd, as a setup for multiple EFI boots? Not sure if that is the correct step, but it seems like it in my little mind.
http://www.rodsbooks.com/refind/installing.html#windows

All I did was write the CD image from here > http://www.rodsbooks.com/refind/getting.html , with the built in windows 8 image burner. That was all that was needed, that and making sure I chose to boot from CD instead of HDD. That was enough to get rEFInd to boot and find the windows install.

All I did for the USB stick, which a) doesn't get detected in rEFInd, and b) if booted from directly just brings up a GRUB prompt, was to download the latest 64-bit Cinnamon iso from the Mint website, and write it to my USB stick with unetbootin. unetbootin makes the USB stick bootable.

Hope that helps.
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Re: Help? Dual boot install - Win8 / Mint 14 EFI - Lenovo G5

Postby YeeP on Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:54 pm

That helps.

As far as the USB for rEFInd, did you format it to FAT or FAT32?

Could you boot from the rEFInd CD in UEFI mode? It looks like you turned it to legacy for the purpose of running the Cinnamon disc.
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Re: Help? Dual boot install - Win8 / Mint 14 EFI - Lenovo G5

Postby tsdadam on Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:56 pm

YeeP wrote:That helps.

As far as the USB for rEFInd, did you format it to FAT or FAT32?

Could you boot from the rEFInd CD in UEFI mode? It looks like you turned it to legacy for the purpose of running the Cinnamon disc.

I believe it was FAT32, and yes, the CD was booted in EFI mode. The only thing I changed to legacy was the AHCI mode (SATA) of the drive itself.
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Re: Help? Dual boot install - Win8 / Mint 14 EFI - Lenovo G5

Postby srs5694 on Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:30 pm

I'm afraid that YeeP's questions aren't very relevant to your problem, tsdadam. rEFInd is clearly launching from the CD image, so questions about the filesystems used aren't relevant. The key question is this: Are there any files on the USB flash drive with names that end in ".efi"? The EFI/BOOT/bootx64.efi file is particularly likely to be present. If such files are present, then it appears that your firmware isn't recognizing the USB media, and perhaps you could find a firmware option that would help out on this score. If such files are not present, then you need to find a way to add an EFI boot loader to the USB flash drive itself. In fact, the Linux kernel itself might serve as a boot loader, but you may need to move or copy it from wherever it resides now -- move it to the root of the USB drive's filesystem or to a subdirectory of the "EFI" directory. You'll also need to move the initial RAM disk file (with a filename that begins with "init") to the same directory.
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Re: Help? Dual boot install - Win8 / Mint 14 EFI - Lenovo G5

Postby YeeP on Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:41 pm

I wouldn't say I am trying to help, moreover, just trying to learn.
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Re: Help? Dual boot install - Win8 / Mint 14 EFI - Lenovo G5

Postby srs5694 on Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:44 pm

I've just downloaded a Mint 14 Cinnamon installation image. It's a mess.

The developers have tried to create an all-in-one installation image (CD/DVD/flash drive, BIOS/UEFI) -- call it "Frankenimage," although the developers of this method like to call it by the less scary name "hybrid ISO." As with many multi-function tools, it doesn't do any one function very well -- or at the very least, it's next to useless for booting in EFI mode from a USB flash drive. The reason is that the filesystem it contains is ISO-9660 -- or at least, that's how Linux detects it. When I plug it into an EFI computer, it can't read the files on the disk, even if I use rEFInd's ISO-9660 driver. (IIRC, the driver includes checks about device block size that won't be met on a USB flash drive.) The ISO-9660 filesystem seems to contain the necessary files for booting, but you'll need to copy them over to a FAT filesystem on the USB flash drive. In theory, it shouldn't matter what OS or tools you use to do this -- just do a file-by-file copy of everything. When I tried this, I got something that booted to GRUB but gave me a "grub>" prompt. To boot into the installer, I needed to copy the "casper/vmlinuz" and "casper/initrd.lz" files to the root directory of the disk and use rEFInd to launch it. In truth, I'm not even 100% sure that this worked, since my test computer has some weird video quirks that require a lot of effort to work around, and I didn't try to do so. The kernel did begin booting, though.

It's conceivable that UNetbootin or some similar tool would get this working with a little less effort, but I can't seem to select a target device in UNetbootin, so I couldn't test it.
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Re: Help? Dual boot install - Win8 / Mint 14 EFI - Lenovo G5

Postby srs5694 on Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:12 pm

An update: I just tried removing the check for 2048-byte blocks in the ISO-9660 driver, and it seems to work for me -- rEFInd can see the ISO-9660 filesystem on the Mint Frankendisk burned to a USB flash drive. Here's a download link for a test version of the CD image of rEFInd and the new driver:

http://www.rodsbooks.com/refind-cd-0.6.2.1.zip

I can make no guarantee that it will work, but it might. On my system, it produced a GRUB menu rather than a "grub>" prompt, but the resulting system didn't boot completely. Still, it's worth a try....
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