Blank Partition Table: Install Mint 14 64bit from Windows 8

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Blank Partition Table: Install Mint 14 64bit from Windows 8

Postby spotless on Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:57 am

I'm having a problem trying to install Mint (14, 64bit) from my USB drive (used unetbootin to mount and write iso, don't know if that helps) from Windows 8. After booting it from my USB, when I click on the "install mint" icon, it lets me select my language, checks if I have enough free space, connected to the internet, and a power source is plugged in; however, it then skips the "install, replace, or something else" window and goes straight to the partition table. When I get to the partition window, the only drive it shows is my USB's. It doesn't give me the option to choose the hard drive on my computer, and the partition table for the USB is completely blank. How do I unlock the option to choose my computer's harddrive and install it on there? (Also, I partitioned free space on my PC's harddrive through Windows 8 already, 150gb's to be exact. I used the method where you right click on "my computer" and shrink the volume of the C drive) All help is appreciated. Thanks in advance for any responses.
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Re: Blank Partition Table: Install Mint 14 64bit from Window

Postby viking777 on Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:25 am

Windows 8 installs use Uefi and gpt partition tables possibly also secure boot as well. In order to install in that mode your installation medium needs to be booted in Uefi mode. My guess is that Unetbootin is not capable of creating a Uefi bootable medium or a gpt partition table.

Sadly I know very little about this topic, but we have a user that knows quite a lot and he has made dozens if not hundreds of posts on the topic. So search for all posts by user srs5694

memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=79806

And start reading through his posts. You will almost certainly find an answer amongst them. Or you could just wait and see if he answers this topic, he probably will.

Good luck - you are going to need it :(
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Re: Blank Partition Table: Install Mint 14 64bit from Window

Postby srs5694 on Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:10 pm

If the hard disk isn't showing up at all (not even blank), then it's almost certainly a driver problem. If the kernel lacks the driver for whatever controller is handling your hard disk, it won't appear in the list. There are at least three ways around this problem:

  • Upgrade the kernel. This is obviously impractical when you're running the installer for the latest version of the distribution.
  • Open the computer and move the cable from the hard disk to the motherboard so that it plugs into another SATA port. This will work if your motherboard has two disk controllers (as many mid- and high-end boards do) and if the hard disk is currently plugged into a port for a controller that Linux doesn't support but Linux does support the other one.
  • Install an add-on SATA controller and switch the hard disk to it. This is essentially a more radical version of the previous solution, and it adds potential complications, such as the possibility that the computer won't boot at all from the new controller.

Obviously, the second option is the one that's most worth trying. I do have a few other comments, though:

  • New computers that ship with Windows 8 do use Secure Boot, UEFI, and GPT, as viking777 says; however, if the installer has booted, Secure Boot obviously isn't an issue, and neither UEFI nor GPT would create the symptoms described. (Some partition table problems could cause a disk to appear empty, though.) Windows 8 can install and run just fine in BIOS mode on older computers, so it's unclear if the computer is using BIOS-mode or UEFI-mode booting.
  • You don't normally install Linux "from Windows." There is a way to install Linux so that it resides in a file in Windows. I think Mint's version of this is called Mint4Win or something like that. If you're using a UEFI-based computer, you should not attempt to install in this way, since my understanding is that it just won't work on a UEFI-based computer.
  • Repartitioning in Windows prior to installing Linux may sound like a good idea, but it's not. It can create a disk setup that Linux can't use. This almost certainly is not the cause of your problems, but I wanted to alert you to the fact that you might have problems once you resolve your current one. The issue is that the Windows partitioning software likes to convert disks from a standard setup to one that uses Windows' Logical Disk Manager (LDM), aka "dynamic disks." If you get the installer started and the number of partitions it sees doesn't match the number that Windows shows, this may be the problem. The best solution is to use a Windows tool like EaseUS Partition Manager to undo the damage that the Windows tool did. In the future, avoid the Windows partitioning software as much as possible, especially for creating new partitions. Restrict its use to shrinking NTFS volumes.
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