Any idea when, Mint and Winders8, install without the hoops?

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Capt Turk
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Any idea when, Mint and Winders8, install without the hoops?

Post by Capt Turk »

Has anyone heard, or know about, when a Mint version will be available that you don't have to jump through 40 hoops to install on a Windows 8 UEFI computer?

Just bought the wife a new Toshiba Satellite laptop. It, of course, has Windows 8 and that UEFI crap on it. She wants Mint on it but no way will I attempt it from what I've read.
I looked for a Windows 7 laptop for her but couldn't find any that had the LCD she wanted.

I've read through a bunch of the tutorials on the work arounds and still can't make heads or tails of any of it. I've had enough trouble trying to get Mint to install on earlier computers, I sure am not gonna even try these work arounds. I've totally trashed hard drives on the older computers trying to install linux, so I'm sure I would turn her new laptop into an expensive paper weight.

I'm sure that linux will lose a LOT of new users, and people that are not well versed, until they come up with a way that linux can be installed without all the hoops.
srs5694
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Re: Any idea when, Mint and Winders8, install without the ho

Post by srs5694 »

I have a number of comments about this:
  • EFI/UEFI per se is not the demon in this. Both BIOS and EFI have their own quirks. In principle, EFI is easier for boot loader installation and management. There are a number of problems with EFI at the moment, though, including buggy implementations, less-mature OS support for EFI, and lack of user knowledge about EFI. Thus, installing to an EFI-based system does tend to be trickier than installing to an older BIOS-only computer; but that's the fault of a number of factors that orbit about EFI, but not EFI per se.
  • As just noted, one of the problems with EFI is with bugs in specific EFI implementations. This means that you can not rely on any particular step-by-step guide for EFI installation. This is a problem if you rely on such guides, but it also means that you may not run into the specific problems described by such guides. If you read guides that include numerous workarounds, you might not need to jump through those hoops. I don't know offhand how good or bad Toshiba's EFIs are, so I can't comment on your wife's laptop specifically, but you might want to try doing a search for information on installing to that specific laptop, or at least to Toshibas generally.
  • Many EFI installation guides I've seen make cringe-worthy mistakes. All too often, these guides are written by people with a minimal understanding of the issues involved, so they stumble around until something works, but the result is a convoluted path or one that's likely to lead readers astray unless the quirks of the author's system are mirrored on the reader's computer. Unfortunately, there's not much you can do to protect yourself from such issues except to take the time to read widely and understand the issues, which brings me to....
  • Given the state of EFI and EFI documentation, IMHO it's best to learn the EFI principles, rather than follow a step-by-step guide. Once you understand how it's supposed to work and where problems crop up, you'll be better able to manage the installation yourself. To that end, reading [url=http://www.rodsbooks.com/linux-uefi/]my Web page on Linux EFI installation[/url] may be helpful.
  • More than anything else, the ability of most EFIs to boot in either EFI/UEFI mode or in BIOS/CSM/legacy mode causes problems. One of the most often-repeated pieces of advice in EFI installations is to enable BIOS/CSM/legacy support, but I disagree strongly with this advice. In most cases, it just creates the opportunity to lead you down a path that will require post-installation corrections. On rare occasion, enabling BIOS/CSM/legacy support is required, but as a general rule it isn't. The special case where it's required should be dealt with as a special case, not treated as normal.
  • Mint is not the best Linux distribution when it comes to EFI support. The best I've encountered on that score is Fedora, so if you're having problems with an EFI-mode installation of Mint, you might want to try Fedora. Ubuntu (upon which Mint is based) is likely to be better than Mint, too -- but Ubuntu is behind Fedora on this measure.
Brahim Salem

Re: Any idea when, Mint and Winders8, install without the ho

Post by Brahim Salem »

1- Disable secure boot; Go to "Security" tab and disable "Safe Boot" in your bios (onToshiba Satellite press f2 to to get into BIOS) . More on that here [url]http://www.maketecheasier.com/disable-secure-boot-in-windows-8/[/url]

2- Enable CSM (in the boot tab of BIOS). CSM stands for Compatibility Support Module, and basically allows technology that is not compatible with UEFI to run an emulated legacy BIOS. To do that go to BIOS then "Advanced" tab, select "System Configuration" then change boot mode from "UEFI" to "CSM" .

that's it :D
Capt Turk
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Re: Any idea when, Mint and Winders8, install without the ho

Post by Capt Turk »

Going to CSM does allow me to boot the LiveCD. When it is changed to CSM Windows will not boot. Will Windows boot after installing linux, or will I have to change back to UEFI everytime I want to use Windows?
srs5694
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Re: Any idea when, Mint and Winders8, install without the ho

Post by srs5694 »

Brahim wrote:2- Enable CSM (in the boot tab of BIOS). CSM stands for Compatibility Support Module, and basically allows technology that is not compatible with UEFI to run an emulated legacy BIOS. To do that go to BIOS then "Advanced" tab, select "System Configuration" then change boot mode from "UEFI" to "CSM" .
Capt Turk wrote:Going to CSM does allow me to boot the LiveCD. When it is changed to CSM Windows will not boot. Will Windows boot after installing linux, or will I have to change back to UEFI everytime I want to use Windows?
That's exactly the point I made earlier:
srs5694 wrote:More than anything else, the ability of most EFIs to boot in either EFI/UEFI mode or in BIOS/CSM/legacy mode causes problems. One of the most often-repeated pieces of advice in EFI installations is to enable BIOS/CSM/legacy support, but I disagree strongly with this advice. In most cases, it just creates the opportunity to lead you down a path that will require post-installation corrections. On rare occasion, enabling BIOS/CSM/legacy support is required, but as a general rule it isn't. The special case where it's required should be dealt with as a special case, not treated as normal.
Enabling BIOS/CSM/legacy support when installing Linux is a bad idea, at least as general advice. The problem is exactly as you suspect, Capt Turk: Once Linux is installed in BIOS/CSM/legacy mode, Linux will boot in that mode but not in EFI mode; but Windows, installed in EFI mode, will not boot in BIOS/CSM/legacy mode. Thus, you'll need to do one of three things:
  • Use the firmware's boot manager, or possibly its setup utility, to change boot modes whenever you want to change your OS. This is an awkward process on many EFIs. It's impossible with some of them.
  • Install rEFInd from Windows and configure it to support chainloading to a BIOS/CSM/legacy-mode boot from an EFI-mode boot. This is essentially a variant on the previous option, but it's likely to be less awkward. It's also not guaranteed to work; it will fail on some computers, for a variety of reasons. It's also an extra hoop to jump through in the OS installation process. Once rEFInd is installed, it's likely to be better to use it to boot Linux directly in EFI mode -- that is, it becomes the next solution....
  • Change the boot mode of one OS or the other. It's easier to change Linux's boot mode, because this can be done by installing [url=http://www.rodsbooks.com/efi-bootloaders/]your choice of EFI boot loader for Linux.[/url] The question, though, is: Why jump through an extra post-installation hoop when you could do it right the first time by booting the Linux installer in EFI mode, which would result in an EFI-mode boot loader and both OSes booting in EFI mode at the outset?
All of these solutions qualify as what I referred to earlier as "post-installation corrections." In most cases it's better to get the installer to boot in EFI mode to begin with. That said, I can't guarantee that this preferred approach will always work. Sometimes the Linux installer runs but bungles the boot loader installation, resulting in an unbootable computer. Other times users have trouble getting the Linux installer to boot in EFI mode, for any number of reasons. IMHO it's usually best to work through those reasons rather than do a BIOS/CSM/legacy-mode installation, but on rare occasion an EFI is just so badly designed that this might not be practical. Ultimately, though, figuring out how to get the installer to boot in EFI mode will be educational. If you try it, you'll learn enough about EFI that you'll be better able to deal with it in the future. Thus, IMO it's best to at least attempt an EFI-mode installation first. If and only if you run into problems with that, a BIOS/CSM/legacy-mode installation may provide a workaround.
Capt Turk wrote:Going to CSM does allow me to boot the LiveCD.
Does this mean that you were unable to boot the Mint live CD before you activated BIOS/CSM/legacy support? You didn't mention such problems in your first post to this thread. If you are having problems, please post details. Also, although I disagree with Brahim's second recommendation, I do agree with his first, at least as an early debugging step:
Brahim wrote:1- Disable secure boot; Go to "Security" tab and disable "Safe Boot" in your bios (onToshiba Satellite press f2 to to get into BIOS) . More on that here http://www.maketecheasier.com/disable-secure-boot-in-windows-8/
I'll conclude by re-posting a pointer to a Web page I've written on installing Linux on EFI:

http://www.rodsbooks.com/linux-uefi/

That's not a step-by-step guide, but it does cover the most common pitfalls and how to avoid them. I've been following EFI issues for about three years, I own four EFI-based computers, and I currently maintain rEFInd, so I've got a lot of experience with EFI.
Capt Turk
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Re: Any idea when, Mint and Winders8, install without the ho

Post by Capt Turk »

Thanks for the reply. I'm sad to say it does me no good. I still can't really make any sense of it. I'm a retired old fart living on a small fixed income. I can not afford to brick this computer. We saved for over a year to be able to buy it.

My original question,, does anyone know when version of Mint will come out that doesn't require you to be a geek? One that can more or less just be plugged in, answer a few questions, and it works.

From what I've found so far, Fedora comes closer right now than anyone else.
srs5694
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Re: Any idea when, Mint and Winders8, install without the ho

Post by srs5694 »

Capt Turk wrote:My original question,, does anyone know when version of Mint will come out that doesn't require you to be a geek? One that can more or less just be plugged in, answer a few questions, and it works.
No OS has ever met that criterion, and it's unlikely that any will in the foreseeable future. Windows and OS X have a huge advantage in that they tend to be pre-installed; but if you were to acquire an OS-less PC and try to install Windows on it, there would be some chance of the installation going wrong, and you'd probably need to know a bit about how to do the installation. OS X on a Mac is more likely to be a painless install simply because the range of hardware is relatively small, but if you want real pain, check out the Hackintosh forums -- people go to ridiculous lengths to get OS X running on standard PCs! Even on Apple hardware, there are incompatibilities between specific models and specific versions of OS X. If your criterion is an absolutely painless and risk-free experience, your only options are to buy a computer with your OS of choice pre-installed or to have somebody more experienced do the installation for you (perhaps for pay). FWIW, there are vendors who sell machines with Linux pre-installed.

Part of the problem, incidentally, is that the hardware is a moving target. In theory, somebody could put in enough effort to make Mint a guaranteed-painless install on all current hardware (assuming no hardware defects) -- but by the time that work was done, all the current machines would be obsolete, and several new generations would have appeared and would need work.

If you want to install an OS for yourself, then you must learn at least a bit about that OS and your hardware. That's true for Mint, Ubuntu, Fedora, Gentoo, FreeBSD, Windows, OS X, and everything else. To be sure, there are differences between them, but none will be absolutely risk-free and idiot-proof. Asking "when will it be perfect" is like asking "when will society be crime-free" or "when will we have flying cars?" The answer is the same: Your guess is as good as mine, but not for a long time, if ever. Repeating the question won't change the answer.
cwsnyder
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Re: Any idea when, Mint and Winders8, install without the ho

Post by cwsnyder »

I personally like this answer to your initial question:

"Not while Windows 8 or 8.1 is still supported."

You would be better off buying a used/reconditioned computer to run Linux, or one which you build yourself, then leave the Toshiba Satellite laptop to run Windows 8. Linux even runs fairly well on reconditioned netbooks.

The majority of success stories with Linux on UEFI that I have seen, are with people who replace Windows 8, or, for dual use notebooks, have one hard drive for Windows, one hard drive for Linux.

[edit] Have you considered a Virtual Machine for Linux on top of Windows 8?
LMDE Mate 64-bit, LM17.3 Cinnamon 64-bit
Debian Mate 64-bit, Xubuntu xenial 64-bit, Ubuntu-Mate 14.04 64-bit, Antergos Xfce 64-bit, PCLinuxOS Mate 64-bit
srs5694
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Re: Any idea when, Mint and Winders8, install without the ho

Post by srs5694 »

cwsnyder wrote:Have you considered a Virtual Machine for Linux on top of Windows 8?
This is a good suggestion. Virtual machines cut out many of the problems of dual-booting, and they're more practical today than they were in the past. If you install in EFI mode, you can also learn something about EFI-mode installations in a simpler environment than a dual-boot setup, which may help you in the future if you decide to try dual-booting again.
Capt Turk
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Re: Any idea when, Mint and Winders8, install without the ho

Post by Capt Turk »

Sorry for taking so long to get back. Been down with a bad case of the flu and middle ear infection for the last week.

I guess I should rephrase my question. When might I expect Mint to once again install like it has been installing, up till now? I've been using Mint since 8 first came out. I've had very little trouble, ever, getting it to install. Only thing that's ever kept me from installing was bad hardware, or a bad burn. I've installed, fixed, and maintained Mint for a half a dozen neighbors around me for the last couple of years. Every installation has been a plug in the CD,repartition the drive, answer a few questions, it installs, and it works, at least to the point of having a functioning system. Granted there have been driver problems, and a couple of other issues like that. At least I had something to work with, and could fix those. As it is, I've lost three linux users back to Windows already. They are not liking it, either. They hate W8. Like me, they had to buy a new computer, and not knowing about all this UEFI crap, bought laptops with W8 installed.

I've read till my eyes bleed, and it seems to be a no win situation unless you are willing to risk bricking your new computer. Hundreds of posts of people bricking their computers, guys who apparently know what they are doing, fighting, trying to get a Windows8/linux dual boot system installed for weeks, and still failing. Attempts at installation where nothing could be made to boot, not even window recovery mode.

It appears that Microshafts aim of locking out linux users has been fullfilled, at least for most inexperienced users, or us poor folk who can not afford to trash their computer.

I guess I'll just have to plug my ears so I don't hear all the knashing of teeth from my wife, and neighbors, and hope my computer doesn't bite the dust, till someone figures out how to make an install work like it has up till now.

Thanks for the attempts, anyway.
NuxNubkins
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Re: Any idea when, Mint and Winders8, install without the ho

Post by NuxNubkins »

This is precisely the reason why I strictly do self builds for desktops, and have a copy of Windows 7 laying around. I formatted my laptop completely, which had Vista on it, and installed 7. I've upgraded 2 machines from Win8 to Win7 for people I know already, and will not hesitate to offer to do so for anyone stuck with Windows 8.
srs5694
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Re: Any idea when, Mint and Winders8, install without the ho

Post by srs5694 »

Capt Turk wrote:I guess I should rephrase my question. When might I expect Mint to once again install like it has been installing, up till now? I've been using Mint since 8 first came out. I've had very little trouble, ever, getting it to install.
Please re-read my first post; it's still a valid reply. Pay particular attention to my final bullet point. Mint does not have good EFI support, and Mint's Secure Boot support is especially bad. Although Mint has a reputation as an easy-to-use distribution, that's an oversimplification; for good EFI support, Fedora beats Mint hands down, and Ubuntu comes somewhere in-between those two. See [url=http://www.rodsbooks.com/linux-uefi/]my Web page on Linux EFI-mode installations[/url] for more on EFI generally. It can be done, and it's really not that hard -- if you take an hour or so to understand the issues.

Beyond that, installing Linux has always been a gamble. Although It usually works fine, it sometimes doesn't, depending on hardware-specific issues. (I'm not talking about defective hardware, just incompatible or sub-optimal hardware.) The fact that you've had no problems in the past is as much a reflection of the fact that you've been lucky as anything else.

This forum is one in which ordinary users participate. Few or none of us have inside knowledge about Mint development. In fact, because Mint is derivative of Ubuntu, even the Mint developers are somewhat at the mercy of what happens in Ubuntu. Thus, the probability of your getting simple and accurate answer to your question (like "in Mint 18") is probably lower than my chance of becoming a millionaire by winning the lottery.
bobafetthotmail
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Re: Any idea when, Mint and Winders8, install without the ho

Post by bobafetthotmail »

I guess I should rephrase my question. When might I expect Mint to once again install like it has been installing, up till now?
I have to admit that it's now back to the good old days (not really) when installing Linux was a pain due to hardware support, but it's now at least doable in most cases if you waste some time to hack the %&$£&%& thing. HP and Dell stuff notwithstanding, but HP laptops have always been a pita to work with anyway.

Last year was like "MS screws you over roflolololololololol" but at least now we have a fighting chance.

Within a few years we will get over this again.
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