Dual boot Linux mint and Win8 - Samsung laptop

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Dual boot Linux mint and Win8 - Samsung laptop

Postby deiago on Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:24 pm


I'm a newbie to Linux Mint so please bare with me.
I recently bought a Samsung NP370R5E-A01ZA laptop, which came with Windows 8 pre-installed on it. I've been trying to dual boot it with Linux Mint 14 for the last week and have not succeeded. I have looked different solutions regarding the EFI issue with GRUB but I cannot figure out how to solve my problem.

This is what I've tried doing:
Attempt #1:
1. Turned off Secure boot and Fast BIOS mode
2. Set BIOS mode to CSM only and installed Linux Mint 14 (64-bit) cinnamon via USB flash drive. I installed it to unallocated space, which I made from partitioning my HDD within Windows 8.

With these settings Linux installs successfully, however on reboot, there's no GRUB Boot loader, it doesn't boot into anything and I get an error message saying that there was not operating systems found on my system.
When I change the BIOS mode to UEFI OS it boots straight into Windows 8.

Attempt #2:
1. Turned off Secure boot and Fast BIOS mode
2. Set BIOS mode to CSM and UEFI OS and installed Linux Mint 14 (64-bit) cinnamon via USB flash drive.I installed it to unallocated space, which I made from partitioning my HDD within Windows 8

With these settings, Linux installs successfully again, however the same problem exits. No boot loader, and it boots straight into Windows.

Attempt #3:
1. I have tried setting the BIOS mode to UEFI and CSM and I tried booting from my live USB, but my laptop hanged with a black screen and I had to force shut down my laptop.

I'm currently at University and I desperately need to install Linux on my laptop as all my development was done in Linux. I'm also doing a Computer Systems course that goes in depth to UNIX and Linux, and it's really important to have Linux on our machines.

Here are some specifications of my laptop:
Intel i3 3110m
This is the screen shot of GParted when I boot from a live USB flash drive

Thank you for your help :)
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Re: Dual boot Linux mint and Win8 - Samsung laptop

Postby srs5694 on Wed Apr 17, 2013 5:41 pm

My first suggestion is that you return the laptop for a refund and get a replacement from another manufacturer. The problem is that Samsungs have a known EFI bug that can cause the computer to brick itself, rendering it 100% useless. There are workarounds floating around, but offhand I don't know in what kernel versions they exist, or if the Mint installer incorporates them. Without those workarounds in place, even installing Linux is extremely dangerous. Furthermore, the workarounds aren't fixes; the firmware bug can be triggered from Windows, so using these computers is risky even with the pre-installed Windows software.

If returning the computer isn't an option, then I recommend you completely wipe the hard disk, disable EFI/UEFI booting, optionally re-install Windows in BIOS/CSM/legacy mode (which may require access to a retail Windows disc), and then install Linux in BIOS/CSM/legacy mode. This is a pain, but it's really the only safe way to run this computer, at least unless and until Samsung (or conceivably, but improbably, somebody else) releases a fixed firmware.

If neither of the above is an option, then you might try running Linux inside a virtual machine (VirtualBox, VMWare, etc.) within Windows. That will at least prevent Linux from triggering the firmware bug, and may give you some recourse should Samsung put up a fight over repairing or replacing the computer should the bug rear its ugly head under Windows. (That said, I've heard of users getting repairs without complaint from Samsung, so Samsung doesn't seem to have been obnoxious on this score to date.)

If you insist on proceeding with a dual-boot installation, see my Web page on EFI boot loaders for Linux. With that information, you should be able to get an EFI-mode boot working; or you could install my rEFInd boot manager under Windows, add "hdbios" to the "scanfor" option in its refind.conf file, and boot Linux in BIOS mode whereas Windows would still boot in EFI mode. If you go with an EFI-mode Linux boot, though, be sure to read up on the Samsung firmware bug and the (at least) two Linux kernel patches that help work around the problem. I'm afraid I don't have any URLs handy, though; you'll need to do a Web search or hope somebody else can post relevant links. The earlier patch prevents a Samsung-specific driver from loading. That driver regularly triggered the underlying bug, so this patch is the most important one. The second patch prevents the Linux kernel from triggering the bug in a more general way.
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