UEFI for cold newbies

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mike acker
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UEFI for cold newbies

Post by mike acker » Sun May 20, 2018 8:32 am

Recovering a Bricked Laptop by Conversion to Linux/MINT:

Cold Newbies will need things as automatic as possible.

Given that they are able to download the .iso and burn it to a USB or DVD:

They should be able to boot the live image -- and then -- recover their files to an external HD -- while in live mode; This may require intervention at the BIOS level in order to boot the live stick if the BIOS is set to use the internal HD as boot option 1.

while in live mode they should also make sure they can access the 'Net as it will be needed during install -- and after the new Mint is booted;

If the decision to install is taken they will likely need to use the "erase disk and install MINT" option. I'm looking at this mainly for folks who've got a bricked laptop -- possibly due to problems with MSFT updates.

With this in mind, I'm (hopefully) expecting the "erase and install" option will decide whether to use EFI or Legacy, and establish a good set of partitions accordingly.

Comments, thoughts, hints, or gotchas?
Last edited by killer de bug on Sun May 20, 2018 2:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Moved to Chat as this is not a support request.
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tovian
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Re: UEFI for cold newbies

Post by tovian » Sun May 20, 2018 8:45 am

"Secure Boot" is turned on by default on most UEFI-enabled PC's. You may have to turn that OFF just to get your Linux distro to boot (??)

I have had many problems trying to work with Linux on (1st-generation) UEFI-enabled PC's. I find it easier to always change to Legacy mode (and I think that automatically disables Secure Boot).
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Re: UEFI for cold newbies

Post by mike acker » Sun May 20, 2018 8:49 am

tovian wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 8:45 am
"Secure Boot" is turned on by default on most UEFI-enabled PC's. You may have to turn that OFF just to get your Linux distro to boot (??)

I have had many problems trying to work with Linux on (1st-generation) UEFI-enabled PC's. I find it easier to always change to Legacy mode (and I think that automatically disables Secure Boot).
yes.
and in the case I'm working the subject is a "bricked" Windows 10...... which will certainly be in UEFI mode. The BIOS on this device may be locked so that it cannot be taken out of UEFI mode.

For this reason I'm hoping our installer detects that -- and then can do the "erase disk and install MINT" -- in UEFI mode, and setting up the proper partitions.
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Pierre
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Re: UEFI for cold newbies

Post by Pierre » Sun May 20, 2018 8:59 am

Mike since our LinuxMint is mainly based on the Ubuntu System:
- wouldn't the detection be mainly from the original Ubuntu System ?
sure, our LinuxMint is based on a Modified version of the Ubuntu System,
and thus will have some control on what is actually done by the LinuxMint installer . .

but, only the Team.LlinuxMint would know just where the detection, could come from.
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Re: UEFI for cold newbies

Post by tovian » Sun May 20, 2018 9:06 am

mike acker wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 8:49 am
The BIOS on this device may be locked so that it cannot be taken out of UEFI mode.
If that turns out to be the case I'd like to know the brand of that PC so I can counsel my clients to avoid that brand (until everyone does it that way).

I wonder how much Microsoft pays manufacturers to do crap like this. I'd guess they give a (small) rebate on the license fees they charge for the OS.
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Re: UEFI for cold newbies

Post by Pierre » Sun May 20, 2018 9:14 am

which tovian you actually can't do,,
since No Two Manufacturers implement UEFI in the same way
:lol:
so, it's darn confusing, at best, as the whole thing is Designed to Run just the One System - - M$ Windows.
:(

thus, if you now wish to modify your machine, to either Replace / Dual_boot Windows:
- it's an unpredictable exercise - - apparently this UEFI can vary across Models from the Same Manufacturer.
:roll:
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Re: UEFI for cold newbies

Post by mike acker » Sun May 20, 2018 9:21 am

tovian wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 9:06 am
mike acker wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 8:49 am
The BIOS on this device may be locked so that it cannot be taken out of UEFI mode.
If that turns out to be the case I'd like to know the brand of that PC so I can counsel my clients to avoid that brand (until everyone does it that way).

I wonder how much Microsoft pays manufacturers to do crap like this. I'd guess they give a (small) rebate on the license fees they charge for the OS.
It's been my feeling for a while now that all BIOS will end up as UEFI only. Maybe when Debian 10 comes out I'll see about it on the Research box.

The MoBo that I use now work in either BIOS or Legacy mode. Sooner or later we'll all have to learn to use UEFI.
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Re: UEFI for cold newbies

Post by mike acker » Sun May 20, 2018 11:36 am

Pierre wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 8:59 am
Mike since our LinuxMint is mainly based on the Ubuntu System:
- wouldn't the detection be mainly from the original Ubuntu System ?
sure, our LinuxMint is based on a Modified version of the Ubuntu System,
and thus will have some control on what is actually done by the LinuxMint installer . .

but, only the Team.LlinuxMint would know just where the detection, could come from.
the client I'm working with will be coming from a Win-10 environment. non-technical person.
the first thing he'll need to do is to get his iso downloaded and burned to a DVD or USB stick.
then he should be able to boot into LIVE

once he gets to this point he'll need to mount his USB/ external HD and work on recovering his files

if that's successful then he may be able to install MINT 18.3 to replace his failed W10 system (and to escape from the drudgery associated with W10)

we'll see how he does.
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Re: UEFI for cold newbies

Post by CaptainKirksChair » Sun May 20, 2018 12:10 pm

It is likely that the Win10 system was using NTFS and "Fast Startup" is enabled though Windows power options. If that's the case, you may not be able to mount the hard drive in Mint. So I doubt you'll be able to recover any files. It's the fast startup that causes the problem. It's just a version of system hibernation that makes it look faster. And if that hibernation file got corrupted (which could cause the laptop to brick), I don't know how to access the drive. You can't mount it in Linux and I don't think booting into a Windows installer prompt will allow access either. I could be wrong about that last part. If you DO gain access to the Win10 drive somehow, you can rename the hiberfil.sys file on the root of the C: drive. It's a system file so it will be hidden. Don't delete it, just rename it to something like hiberfil.sys.save. Then see if Windows will start. If so, disable Fast Startup in the power settings and save all of the user's files to an external drive. Then drop Windows 10 like a bad habit.

I don't have a problem with hibernation on laptops; I have a problem with how Windows implements hibernation.

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Re: UEFI for cold newbies

Post by tovian » Sun May 20, 2018 12:16 pm

If your client's PC uses a traditional HDD (non-SSD) this is where I would employ a second HDD. I'd take an old spare, wipe it, and see if I could boot and install Mint (if the UEFI would let me). If all that's successful then I would use the live system (or another machine) to wipe the original HDD. At that point I believe I could reinstall the original HDD and install whatever OS I wanted. If the UEFI would NOT let me work with a "wiped" HDD then at least I would have the original HDD as a fallback until I could find some other way or workaround.
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Re: UEFI for cold newbies

Post by mike acker » Sun May 20, 2018 1:45 pm

thanks gentlemen

I now have 2 clients with the same issue: bricked laptop and not happy with W-10

It's entirely possible they both have hybernating drives....
seems like I read someplace how to get around that

you'd think W-10 would offer the user the opportinity to enter "Safe/recovery"-- the old systems would have a backup O/S on drive D: for that

both clients have alternate machines to work from so they can get the .iso and burn a DVD

This looks promising

in both cases here: client has bricked their W-10 box. the "ntfsfix" may be about the only cure. apparently the hybernate state has to be cleared before the drive can be accessed. getting the drive as read-only will be good for the recovery process which will be needed before the "erase disk and install MINT" switch is applied.
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Re: UEFI for cold newbies

Post by tovian » Sun May 20, 2018 6:41 pm

I think I had one of these cases a couple of months back. I took the drive out of the computer, connected it to an external usb adapter, plugged that into a Linux machine, and deleted the hiberfil.sys (under the root of the system drive - generally C:\hiberfil.sys). When Windows can't find the corrupted file it generates a new one and continues merrily along its way.
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Re: UEFI for cold newbies

Post by mike acker » Sun May 20, 2018 6:57 pm

tovian wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 6:41 pm
I think I had one of these cases a couple of months back. I took the drive out of the computer, connected it to an external usb adapter, plugged that into a Linux machine, and deleted the hiberfil.sys (under the root of the system drive - generally C:\hiberfil.sys). When Windows can't find the corrupted file it generates a new one and continues merrily along its way.
I would expect I could do the same thing from a live stick, ...
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Re: UEFI for cold newbies

Post by Pierre » Sun May 20, 2018 10:01 pm

and this scenario is going to be even more common,as this win-10 system, gains more ground.

recovery from a Failed win-10 system, is going to be something that us Linux Users will have to learn to do.

I'm lead to believe that you can mount a Failed NTFS system with a Linux System,
& at least be able to Copy Files from that Failed System.

once you done that bit, you can then look at some option to get the Failed Windows System working,,
or more preferably, install a New Operating System onto that machine & thus teach it's owner about Linux ..
8)

This looks promising
and we'll need some resources that are better detailed than that one is.
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Re: UEFI for cold newbies

Post by mike acker » Mon May 21, 2018 6:07 am

one of the two cases has recovered

but it wasn't pretty:
I was able to FINALLY get windows loaded. It took almost 6 hours on the phone over 3 days, but I have my computer back. I have some of the software loaded back, still need to load a couple others. Thankfully I still have the old laptop which has about 80-90% of the data files I lost on the new one. It will be a cold day in hell before I accept another update from them,
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Re: UEFI for cold newbies

Post by tovian » Mon May 21, 2018 7:46 am

mike acker wrote:
Mon May 21, 2018 6:07 am
one of the two cases has recovered
I assume you have asked him to tell you whatever he can remember about what he did to recover it (?)
If not, do it quick.
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Re: UEFI for cold newbies

Post by mike acker » Mon May 21, 2018 6:32 pm

tovian wrote:
Mon May 21, 2018 7:46 am
mike acker wrote:
Mon May 21, 2018 6:07 am
one of the two cases has recovered
I assume you have asked him to tell you whatever he can remember about what he did to recover it (?)
If not, do it quick.
alas
the gentleman reported spending 6 hours over 3 days with MSFT on the phone.

and that he now has to re-install his optional app programs -- and data.

i.e. MSFT re-installed W-10 OS
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Re: UEFI for cold newbies

Post by mike acker » Mon May 21, 2018 6:41 pm

2d client reported having downloaded the .iso but was then unable to locate where the system stored the download.

I asked him to look in /Downloads and if it's not found there to try the Windows search tool

this probably doesn't matter: On my Win-8 VM when I right click on the .iso the option to "burn disc" shows -- but -- when selected it reports: no burn tool available.

I could hunt down a burn tool but this is quickly going beyond what a customer on this level could reasonably do. I've offered to mail him a live DVD.

It's my impression, from working with the live DVD that: if the LIVE works on the intended target then there is a reasonable expectation that the system will install and run on that target.

in this case the target is a bricked W-10 : it will have UEFI BIOS. Hopefully the installer will enable the LEGACY option in the BIOS -- if it is going to need that --

I think the worst-case scenario for this client is: if he is unable to make it through the Linux ( MINT 18.3 ) install: he may end up taking the machine to BestBuy to have W-10 re-installed.
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Re: UEFI for cold newbies

Post by tovian » Mon May 21, 2018 7:19 pm

Hate to hear all this mess - it should be a relatively easy fix - if you could get your hand on the machine(s). And, you could probably preserve EVERYTHING instead of losing everything from an OS re-install. And Best Buy / Geek Squad ? Not in my lifetime !!

Oh well, some days you eat the bear; some days the bear eats you.
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Re: UEFI for cold newbies

Post by mike acker » Tue May 22, 2018 7:04 am

tovian wrote:
Mon May 21, 2018 7:19 pm
Hate to hear all this mess - it should be a relatively easy fix - if you could get your hand on the machine(s). And, you could probably preserve EVERYTHING instead of losing everything from an OS re-install. And Best Buy / Geek Squad ? Not in my lifetime !!

Oh well, some days you eat the bear; some days the bear eats you.
alas

I think we've come to a fork in the road. Some clients will want to switch to a simpler "appliance" type solution -- ( Chromebook? ) while others will need a fully functional work station -- ( some flavor of Linux ? )

it seems AAPL is more interested in iPads and iPhones than they are in desktops or even laptops. Chromebook is likely to eat their lunch in this market if they don't get their xit together

I have a Chromebook that I'm familiarizing on. It looks very promising -- but -- "needs work". I don't know how much hope their would be for that though-- Chromebook is a Google product and as such will always be used to pressure people to stay in the Google environment -- use Google Docs, use the G-drive, and use g-mail. For many customers this will be "all good" -- as long as the thing "just works" and they don't have to fuss with it.

It's the fuss -- that is going to kill msft/windows.

I think the "writing is on the wall" -- in big letters: the trend for commercial software is SaaS via the "Cloud" using the browser as a terminal. In this environment the vendor will have absolute control over the customers' processes.

I'll continue to try to help refugees convert to Linux -- "for those desiring"

in both of these client cases: (a) the client is very non-technical, and (b) the client doesn't want to spend $$$ -- such as buying a Dell with Linux pre-installed. It's a rough entry point: such customers are not going to do to well if they have to interrupt the BIOS and adjust the UEFI/Legacy switches and reset the boot-order. Hopefully -- although I fear this is not the case -- we don't have anyone running around with their USB | DVD set as boot option 1: it's a * good way to get hacked.
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