HowTo: Dual Boot Windows 8.1 + Mint + UEFI Only (CSM Off)

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loligater
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HowTo: Dual Boot Windows 8.1 + Mint + UEFI Only (CSM Off)

Post by loligater » Fri Jan 31, 2014 2:57 pm

EDIT: This should also work for Mint 17. The guide is intended for bootloader configuration.

Before I start, I would like to state that I am not posting this to debate anything regarding using UEFI only, what the benefits of Secure Boot are, or any other back-end logistical modules like that. Additionally, I accept no responsibility if this borks your BIOS, Drives, runs over your dog, or anything else. :wink: I am creating this thread because my experience was difficult (partially because I am still relatively new to Linux, only 2 years) as I could not locate a lot of guidance online. Hopefully my experience can help someone else.This is written to cater to a fresh install of both OSes. If you are modifying an existing install, this can also be helpful.

Table of Contents
  • Goal
  • Agenda
  • My Desktop Config
  • Procedure
  • Dealing with Post Installation Problems
  • Q/A
Goal: To run Windows and Linux Mint on separate disks without using Legacy Bios. Additionally, making this happen on grub loader and chain loading into the Windows Bootloader. You can adapt this to work on one disk by simply installing grub into an EFI Partition (details later) after you install Windows. You can also use Boot-Repair to assist you.

Agenda:
  • Setting up your bootable Flashes
  • Setting up your BIOS/Video Card(s)
  • Install Windows 8/8.1
  • Install Linux Mint 16
  • Dealing with Post Installation Problems
My Desktop Config:
System Components:
  • Motherboard: Z77X-D3H
  • CPU: i7-3770
  • RAM: 8GB DDR3
Video Cards:
  • Triple Monitors
  • Intel 3000 Series
  • Nvidia EVGA GTX 670
  • Nvidia EVGA GTX 285
Storage:
  • 2x SSD (with the two operating systems)
  • 3x HDD
  • 1x External HDD
Procedure

First off, if you don't have a second computer to help you during this. Prepare your bootable media now. I used Rufus because you can specify to use a GPT partition for the bootable media for use in a UEFI computer. If you use Rufus, do this for both your bootable Windows 8.1 USB and your bootable Linux Mint 16 Petra USB. Also, be careful because after you select your .ISO image, it may revert to an MBR partiton. Simply reselect GPT from the dropdown menu.

It is important that you make the Mint USB a GPT/UEFI bootable USB. If you do not, it will may not install a grub-efi loader. If you have your own means of doing this then you can disregard this instruction! :)

Next, prepare your hard drive(s). Your HDD you are installing the OSes to must be GPT. If they are MBR you need to make a GPT partition table. If you have data you can not backup, and you want to convert it to GPT without losing it. You can follow this guide. I used the referenced guide on my laptop when working with my single drive. It did have to install gdisk:

Code: Select all

sudo apt-get install gdisk
Once your drives are setup for GPT, we want to setup your BIOS. Since all BIOS are relatively different, how you go about this is up to your specific motherboard. You need to enable UEFI and disable CSM. For the meantime, disable Secure Boot. If you can not enable these features, I strongly suggest looking for a BIOS update from your motherboard's manufacturer. I advise updating it regardless, as UEFI may be better in a new edition. I updated my laptop and the only new feature was updated CPU MicroCode but it allowed me to boot off my UEFI USB correctly. If you have an existing OS installation your PC may not boot to Windows/Linux anymore , after you enable/disable these features . If you are like me and already had your PC in UEFI, and only had to disable CSM and/or Secure Boot and in addition you plan on keeping your existing Windows installation. You must check if you can still boot into Windows and if not, fix that problem now with your bootable Windows USB before you continue.

Video Cards and UEFI are not friends. Refer to A2 in the Q/A section. If you fit that description, you need to set your Integrated Intel Card to Enabled, and set it as your primary card in your BIOS as a work-around. A2 in the Q/A section describes how you could possible get your card to support UEFI.

Now that the foundation is laid out, we can start by installing Windows! Boot off of the Windows 8/8.1 USB we made. Your motherboard should list your USB with the prefix "UEFI" or something similar, again not all boards are the same so in rare cases it might not show the prefix UEFI. Choose the UEFI bootable USB and install Windows to the drive you need. Windows might reformat the drive again when you make the partition, this is okay, it will still be GPT as it is required. Windows 8/8.1 will not allow you to install to a MBR disk if you are booting off UEFI bootable media. Once that is done, boot into Windows but do not install any updates. We don't want to setup Windows with updates as that can cause problems during this process. Also, setting up Windows could be unfortunate, if we are unable to get it to boot later and need to start over, wasting time. tl;dr install Windows and do not set it up.

Now onto our favorite, Mint! Swap your USBs and boot off of the Mint drive. Once you are at your Mint desktop, start the installation process. Choose the drive you want "/" on, and on that drive allow 200-500MB (I did 500 to be safe, but I am not sure if it is necessary) for an EFI Partition. Select to install your Bootloader to that EFI Partition (not just the drive). Example, the drive I was installing Mint to was /dev/sdc. My EFI was on sdc1 and "/" was on sdc2. I installed grub loader to /dev/sdc1. For consistency sake, my /home was on another drive's partition for my backup. Once this finishes, it should auto detect your Windows installation and your Linux installation (along with the recovery option).

Check to see if you can boot. You should be presented with Grub and with the appropriate boot options. Try Both Windows and Linux. If they work... you're done!!! :D :D :D Now if you want, you can go ahead and re-enable Secure Boot. Make sure it still works. If it does not, Windows can be finicky and unfortunately I do not have a solution for you.

It is normal if it runs an auto repair, and maybe a chkdsk. When I did this it checked one of my HDDs and then booted fine.

Otherwise....

Dealing with Post Installation Problems

Broken into sections.

Can boot Mint, not Windows

Swap for your Windows 8/8.1 USB and run Start Up Repair. If after a few tries this doesn't work, you may need to reinstall Windows. If so, we will need to fix Grub later and you can read A4 in the Q/A section. However, if you are ever presented with booting into Safe Mode you should boot into it. This is good, it means Windows is willing to work but may have a small problem. Booting into Safe Mode will let it solve the problem (strictly with booting).

Can boot Windows, not Mint
Boot off of your Mint USB again and download boot repair. Look for Secure Boot and uncheck it, it usually is checked automatically. Decide if you need it to reinstall grub or not. I would advise not to reinstall grub. It is up to you.

Can boot Windows, but Mint only uses my Intel card
This is a more complicated issue. Reference A2 in the Q/A section. After that, look over other Q/A to find more information about this issue. In some setups it really doesn't matter much. Basically, Linux really does not like using multiple cards at the same time, and if your main card does not support UEFI you need to use the Intel card as I specified earlier.

Q/A:
Q1: Why did I want to use pure UEFI and not UEFI + Legacy or Legacy Only?

A1: On my particular system at least, UEFI only provided a smoother experience booting. On UEFI + Legacy or Legacy Only, during POST my displays would flash when it switched to the Windows UEFI Boot Loader and additionally in UEFI mode my system used an HD POST Image. Just a small thing, but it was pleasing to my eyes. With UEFI Only, it shows the HD Post image, switches quickly to grub (timeout of 1 second) switches to Windows. Finally only taking 2 or 3 seconds and I am at my log in screen.

Q2:When I turn CSM off, I do not see any thing indicating that POST is happening. If I wait long enough, Windows/Linux/Other will eventually boot. I can no longer get into my BIOS, or if I am I can't see it.

A2:This is because when CSM is off, you are in UEFI Only mode. Unfortunately, most video card's vBIOS do not have support EFI. To my knowledge, the only video cards that do support it (natively) are Intel's i series. Luckily, most manufacturers will work with you to get it working. For my EVGA 670, I contacted support@evga.com and asked specifically for a UEFI compatible vBIOS based on their latest vBIOS (80.04.5C). I flashed it and voila, I no longer have to use my Intel Card.

Q3:Alright, I get it I can't really use my main card to start because it probably doesn't support UEFI but I have multiple monitors and some are on my discrete card. How can I get this working on Mint?

A3:As specified in the previous question. Ask your card manufacturer for a UEFI bios. Flash it, and switch your monitors over to that gfx card. When you go to start Mint, it probably won't work. However, the recovery option should. When you run the recovery, it will complain about xorg and it won't run your video driver. It will tell you that your driver will not be able to start correctly from here if you resume a normal boot When you get to your tty1, log in and you can attempt to follow what I did below.

Code: Select all

sudo apt-get remove xserver-xorg-video-intel
sudo apt-get remove intel-gpu-tools
sudo apt-get install nvidia-current
sudo service mdm restart
When I ran

Code: Select all

sudo service mdm restart
I was welcomed with an error then my log in screen! If you get a black screen, try plugging your video cable back into your card. Mine worked because I run three screen so I could see it on the other two. I hope this fixes this problem for you!

Q4:I finished your guide, but Grub won't boot into Linux.

A4: You will need to use boot-repair as specified in "Can boot Windows, not Mint" which is a little above the Q/A section.

Q5:I ran boot repair, but now I have a ton of different options to boot into Windows. How do I fix this?

A5:Open terminal and run:

Code: Select all

sudo update-grub2
Then if you still have several options. I simply edited the grub.cfg in /boot/grub/ and removed the conflicting options. Then I changed the "default" variable at the top to 2 (starts at 0, and 2 was my Windows option) in order to auto boot into Windows. A warning: Do not use Grub Customizer when you are finished. I am not sure, but I believe it doesn't like grub-efi. It has ruined my setup twice, and I only realized it was ruined after I ran it the 2nd time.
Last edited by loligater on Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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gold_finger
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Re: HowTo: Dual Boot Windows 8.1 + Mint 16 + UEFI Only (CSM

Post by gold_finger » Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:06 pm

Excellent post! Thanks for doing this!

Was thinking of trying to write something like this myself, but don't have actual experience doing it -- just second-hand knowledge from reading and helping various people try to resolve issues. Much better coming from someone who's done it themselves (possibly more than once?) and who knows more about the Windows side of things as well.

Will keep this bookmarked and refer new people to it as a reference.

Thanks again, loligater.
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Re: HowTo: Dual Boot Windows 8.1 + Mint 16 + UEFI Only (CSM

Post by JohnBobSmith » Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:48 pm

Great post! Though I will say the following.

There is no need to complicate installation procedures.

While I have not installed mint on two or more seperate hard drives, the partitioning of the drives the way you mentioned seemed a bit un-nessescary. Perhaps an explanation as to why you need to partition the hard drives the way you did would help? Also, it seems like getting everything working with UEFI is a real pain. Do you have a reason for needing to keep UEFI enabled? On my machine, I can boot into and use windows 8 (not 8.1, im not upgrading to the latest M$ trash) with UEFI disabled.

I only say this because for me, with a single drive, the installation procedure was not complicated, or at least didn't seem that complicated.

Anyhow, I'm glad you got everything working to your liking. :)
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Re: HowTo: Dual Boot Windows 8.1 + Mint 16 + UEFI Only (CSM

Post by loligater » Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:57 pm

gold_finger wrote:Excellent post! Thanks for doing this!

Was thinking of trying to write something like this myself, but don't have actual experience doing it -- just second-hand knowledge from reading and helping various people try to resolve issues. Much better coming from someone who's done it themselves (possibly more than once?) and who knows more about the Windows side of things as well.

Will keep this bookmarked and refer new people to it as a reference.

Thanks again, loligater.
You're welcome!
JohnBobSmith wrote:Great post! Though I will say the following.

There is no need to complicate installation procedures.

While I have not installed mint on two or more separate hard drives, the partitioning of the drives the way you mentioned seemed a bit un-nessescary. Perhaps an explanation as to why you need to partition the hard drives the way you did would help? Also, it seems like getting everything working with UEFI is a real pain. Do you have a reason for needing to keep UEFI enabled? On my machine, I can boot into and use windows 8 (not 8.1, im not upgrading to the latest M$ trash) with UEFI disabled.

I only say this because for me, with a single drive, the installation procedure was not complicated, or at least didn't seem that complicated.

Anyhow, I'm glad you got everything working to your liking. :)
The reason for using UEFI as I explained was for my system in particular. UEFI provides a much better boot experience on my system. It doesn't have to switch around weird while it boots, and Windows doesn't complain (it was complaining at me, which may be unique to me). The complications are there for a reason, more so getting grub (because I like grub much better) as my primary bootloader and having it UEFI (as I previously explained).

If you were here in person, I would show you why I preferred it as it is more of a visual thing.

Everything will work with UEFI disabled. I posted this specifically for people seeking knowledge like I was. I had a difficult time getting this to work because I was unable to find much, if any help on this.

In reality, the partitioning isn't at complicated all though. You have a Windows partition on a separate drive, and you have another drive with a boot partition and Mint's root partition.

There is other stuff in this guide that is helpful, even if not going after the threads subject. For instance, the guide I linked that demonstrates how to convert an MBR partition to GPT is very useful and I am glad I found it! :)

Thanks, it was a real b**** but everything works flawlessly now and I am happy :)

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Re: HowTo: Dual Boot Windows 8.1 + Mint 16 + UEFI Only (CSM

Post by JohnBobSmith » Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:00 pm

Thank you for clarifying! I personally have no problems with UEFI disabled on my windows 8 laptop. It works for me on my system, same as UEFI works for you on your system. Once again, good find, and im glad that you got everything working to your specific tastes. :)
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