LM 14 KDE dual-boot installation issues on ASUS 'nettop'

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LM 14 KDE dual-boot installation issues on ASUS 'nettop'

Postby osprey on Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:59 pm

LMers - I recently installed LM 14 KDE on an ASUS EB1503 nettop dual-booted with Windows 7. The nettop is hooked up to a ASUS PB238Q 23” LED display. The system is now working great although there were a few obstacles along the way. I thought I'd share my experience to help out anyone with install problems on hardware similar to mine. My story might also help newbies identify the main potential problems to consider before they start.

MBR or UEFI? From the forums I learned it's important to know if your W7 installation was performed in MBR mode or UEFI mode. Using the Disk Management tool in W7, I first thought it was UEFI, since there was one small partition labeled 'EFI System Partition.' However, by right-clicking on Disk 0 (in the Disk Management tool), and going to Properties, I could see that in fact my W7 installation was a standard MBR installation. Thanks to srs5694 for this tip. (See the last post in the thread http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=121526). This was mostly good news since I don't know a whole lot about UEFI. The downside is the limit of four primary partitions in MBR setups.

Partitions. My hard disk came with all four primary partitions already used - one for W7 itself, a recovery partition, the DATA (D:) partition, and the 'EFI System Partition', whatever that is. After making sure that there was nothing important in the DATA partition, I deleted it using the W7 Disk Management tool, and then verified that I could still boot and run W7. Ok so far, but I'll have to use an extended partition for LM if I want a swap partition in addition to the main partition for the filesystem.

Install Media? I loaded the LM 14 KDE iso both onto a bootable DVD and a live USB (generated on Windows using 'Linux Live USB Creator'). Booting up the USB worked fine, but looking at the /sys/firmware directory I saw a 'efi' subdirectory which apparently indicates a UEFI bootup. (Thanks again srs5694). This is bad I guess. When booting up from the DVD, there is no efi subdirectory, confirming a MBR bootup. Looks like I should install using the DVD. A bit of strangeness here is that booting the DVD only seems to work if I do it immediately after booting and shutting down using the live USB. Otherwise, booting from the DVD just usually hangs the system with no screen output.

Installation. Before installing, I created an extended partition for LM 14 (with logical partitions for the swap and main filesystem). I then installed normally from the DVD. I used the default location for GRUB (/dev/sda/), hoping it would find W7. The actual installation of LM 14 was simple. After installing, GRUB was able to load either W7 or LM fine. Yay!

Graphics Driver issues. I was initially impressed that the LM installation gave me the full 1920x1080 resolution for my display. But as soon as I started playing with LM 14, I became really annoyed by frequent X-server crashes. I was tempted to downgrade my display resolution, since this did seem to prevent the crashes. Eventually I stumbled upon the 'Additional Drivers' tool (in the Applications/System menu) and loaded the proprietary Nvidia driver. This not only fixed the crashing problem, but the system seems overall faster now and the graphics just look crisper. For me, the Nvidia driver makes the difference between a functional system and a non-functional system. I understand the conflict between open source software and proprietary software, but I think many users may not realize the difference in performance between the standard drivers and the Nvidia drivers.

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