ASUS T100TAF cannot boot USB with Mint

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adrianmdi
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ASUS T100TAF cannot boot USB with Mint

Postby adrianmdi » Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:56 am

I have an Asus T100TAF on which I'm trying to install Linux Mint without any luck so far.

Issue:
MINT bootable USB is not recognized by my laptop.

What I've tried so far without any luck by following lots of topics from this forum and many others:

(Note: this Asus seems to have NO support for Legacy Boot, only UEFI boot manager. There very few options inside this BIOS, the only thing that I managed to change is the `Secure Boot` to `disabled`. All my tryings are with the secure boot being disabled)

- Create bootable USB with Unetbootin
(case 1) Created a GPT partition table and one single FAT32 partition with BOOT and ESP flags. => NOT booting

(case 2) Created a GPT partition table, one FAT32 partition with BOOT,ESP flags and other EXT4 partition for Mint. selected in Unetbootin to make the bootable USB in the EXT4 partition (I'm not allowed to select entire USB so the program can match the right partitions)
=> NOT booting

(case 3 ...n) lots of other tries with different partition types

- Create bootable USB with `USB Image Writer`
After making sure that entire USB is cleared out of any partitions and that the partition table is GPT, I triggered the usb creation. => NOT booting

- Create bootable USB with `dd`
Same as previous, cleared all partitions, created GPT partition table and after that: `dd linuxmint_x86-64.iso /dev/sdb`. There were created lots of partitions: Undefined partition with BIOS_GRUB flag, one other FAT16 partition (I assume this is the EFI/Boot partition) flags BOOT and ESP, one other partition for mint files.
=> NOT booting
I've tried as well to manually create the partitions in the same structure, but all my tryings are without luck.


!! Additional notes:
- I've cleared out my default Windows installation (32GB mmc) using a GPARTED bootable USB and also prepared the proper GPT and partitions structure for the new mint install (just to make sure it doesn't conflict with the bootable USB efi)

- for testing purpose I've disabled the internal 32GB MMC and enabled as BOOT #1 option only the bootable USB (for the above solutions the USB is recognized as a bootable device but it always fail to boot and returns back to the BIOS screen

- I was successfully able to boot an Android x86-64 USB. The bootable USB was created with GPT partition table and only one FAT32 partition with BOOT,ESP flags (I was able to boot with 2 partions as well: 1. FAT32 for EFI and 2. EXT4 for OS files) - adding this information just to exemplify some successfull cases for booting

- I was successfully able to boot a GPARTED live usb by just creating a GPT partition table with only one FAT32 partition. Surprisingly, FAT32 partition was initially created with `msftdata` flag and forgot to change it to BOOT,ESP and the USB is booting ok even with `msftdata`

- I've tried adding EFI Shell on the USB, but I was not able to Launch it from Bios (is it possible to have EFI Shell on the same Mint Bootable USB as a backup method in case my boot loader is failing so I can trigger or repair the boot manually?)



I'm running Mint on all my laptops and for a several years now, some of them with dual boot with Windows 10, others without any windows, or even same laptops on which I attach different external SSDs with specific MINT versions (work SSD, home SSD, testing new version SSD) and I didn't encountered such issues until this ASUS T100TAF.

Can someone here help me out to create a proper Mint Bootable USB? In case a magic happens and the USB will finally boot, are there some advices for the installed Mint to properly boot afterwards (if the USB has booting issues, I foresee that the installed OS will also fail by having same Boot/EFI files)?

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ClixTrix
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Re: ASUS T100TAF cannot boot USB with Mint

Postby ClixTrix » Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:15 pm

The straightforward method I would use:

1. Create the Bootable Flash from an ISO copy using the Mint USB Image Writer in Accessories from another system. Mint LIve can boot either EFI or Legacy from Flash.

2. I would use GParted from Flash to wipe the drive and ONLY create/initialize a GPT Partition Table (as though it were a replacement drive) and Reboot the system so BIOS recognizes the Partition Table exists with no EFI Partition. I'm suggesting you avoid creating an EFI Partition to avoid BIOS thinking there is a bootable system already on the drive. Get it?

3. Swap Flash Drives to the Mint Live and Reboot

4. I'm going to take a guess that your system uses the [ESC} key to select bootable device/partition during the post (and not from BIOS setting). Hopefully, the Mint Flash Drive appears on the list (only item) to select and boot.

5. With Mint booted (fingers crossed), try the Live Install (where you can customize partitions or let Mint do its thing).
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administrollaattori
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Re: ASUS T100TAF cannot boot USB with Mint

Postby administrollaattori » Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:51 pm

If you have an another linux-computer, you can make an advanced boot/installation-usb.

Legacy+UEFI USB with installed system + live ISOs capabilities -> viewtopic.php?f=42&t=256750

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Re: ASUS T100TAF cannot boot USB with Mint

Postby michael louwe » Sun Nov 19, 2017 1:42 pm

@ adrianmdl, .......

adrianmdl wrote:.

.
Please refer to the fix at ... http://www.jfwhome.com/2016/01/04/lates ... us-t100ta/

The problem is because Asus and M$ had "colluded" to use a "special" 32bit EFI bootloader to install the less-resource-demanding Win 8 32bit on these super-cheap UEFI netbooks that came with under-powered Intel Atom Bay Trail processors, limited 2GB RAM and 32GB eMMC Flash-drive.
... Normally, modern UEFI computers must require 64bit bootable software and 64bit EFI bootloaders, eg Win 8 64bit. So, even doing a clean reinstall of Win 8 32bit on these netbooks was not easy, ie first gotta get the necessary drivers from Asus's website, especially the Win 8 32bit EFI bootloader.

Linux ISO files do not come with 32bit EFI bootloaders, ie come with only 64bit EFI bootloaders, except for the Debian distro. Hence, the Asus T100 could not boot a Live Linux USB/DVD. A kind Linux expert had created and provided the necessary 32bit EFI bootloader, ie the bootia32.efi file.

The Asus T100, like most M$-Surface 2-in-1 tablets, does not have backwards-compatible Legacy BIOS mode, purportedly because of M$'s Connected Standby feature for mobile devices. Sounds like a ruse to me.
Last edited by michael louwe on Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

adrianmdi
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Re: ASUS T100TAF cannot boot USB with Mint

Postby adrianmdi » Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:24 pm

@ClixTrix thank you for the tips, but I already tried that. Seems like my `Bios` is smart enough just to not recognize the Mint Live.

I tried also to edit the grub from Android bootable usb to recognize also Linux Mint. Even tried making the Android bootable usb and configure an extra partition for Mint files and update grub, but I had no luck getting Mint to appear in my grub list.

Legacy+UEFI USB with installed system + live ISOs capabilities -> viewtopic.php?f=42&t=256750
already tried that and not solving my issue

@michael louwe I ended up thinking this as well, but I didn't want yet to accept it, that my Bios is limited to 32bit although the processor is a 64bit. Indeed the default Windows installation was a 32bit one.

I do have some concerns though with Linux distributions:
- Why there is no 32bit EFI support officially added within the linux images?
- Is there a way to have only a 32bit boot loader, but be able to init a 64bit install?

I've installed successfully the Android x86 64 bit version on this Asus. What does this mean? Does this mean that the install actually went back to 32bit or only the boot was compatible with 32bit, but the OS installed with 64bit? If is the second case then why there is no such case with linux mint as well?


Another question would be: Am I able in this case to have any Linux Mint version installed on my Asus? (32bit or 64bit doesn't matter so much for this specific laptop) If this Asus has only UEFI boot, Linux Mint image has only 64 bit support for UEFI, Asus bios restricted to 32bit => There is no way to install Linux Mint :(

I read in the above links and others as well about building a custom standalone Boot, but I would like to avoid as much as possible any 3rd party hooks into my system. Is there a way I could create an EFI partiion (Fat32) and just configure somehow a universal BOOT that will know how to load my Mint?

Thanks you all for your time trying to help on this matter. I really appreciate it.

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administrollaattori
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Re: ASUS T100TAF cannot boot USB with Mint

Postby administrollaattori » Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:36 pm

adrianmdi wrote:Another question would be: Am I able in this case to have any Linux Mint version installed on my Asus? (32bit or 64bit doesn't matter so much for this specific laptop) If this Asus has only UEFI boot, Linux Mint image has only 64 bit support for UEFI, Asus bios restricted to 32bit => There is no way to install Linux Mint :(

I read in the above links and others as well about building a custom standalone Boot, but I would like to avoid as much as possible any 3rd party hooks into my system. Is there a way I could create an EFI partiion (Fat32) and just configure somehow a universal BOOT that will know how to load my Mint?

Debian has support for 32-bit efi, so you might install LMDE 32-bit ... I think.
https://wiki.debian.org/InstallingDebianOn/Asus/T100TA

remember to install GRUB for the 32-bit EFI: chroot to the newly installed Debian partition and install GRUB in this way:

# apt install grub-efi-ia32-bin
# grub-install --target i386-efi

michael louwe
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Re: ASUS T100TAF cannot boot USB with Mint

Postby michael louwe » Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:23 pm

@ adrianmdl, .......

adrianmdl wrote:.

..
I looked up your processor and it is actually a 64-bit processor. The thing with these smaller netbooks that have a intel baytrail is that they often have 64-bit processors but 32-bit UEFI firmware. Basically you need a 64-bit Linux distro with a 32-bit bootloader for it to work because as far as I know, 32-bit Ubuntu doesn't have an .EFI file and the 64-bit Ubuntu doesn't have a 32-bit .EFI.

... Quoted from ... https://superuser.com/questions/1071080 ... ook-x205ta

Like I said before, the 2012 UEFI international standard requires 64bit bootable software, eg the grub.efi.amd64 bootloader for Linux 64bit. Hence, nearly all Linux ISO files do not have 32bit EFI bootloaders, ie only 64bit EFI bootloaders, as per the UEFI international standard. It is only because of M$ using non-standard 32bit UEFI firmware for bootloaders in super-cheap OEM Win 8.x 32bit netbooks/tablets that this problem arose = likely to prevent the installation of Linux.
... Also, M$'s Connected Standby feature that abolished Legacy BIOS mode in UEFI 2-in-1 tablets.

The jfwhome link that I provided is for installing Ubuntu 64bit on the Asus T100 but using the bootia32.efi bootloader, and not the normal grub.efi.amd64 bootloader that is found inside the Live Ubuntu 64bit USB/DVD.
... I think, if you want, you can also install Ubuntu 32bit on the Asus T100 by using the bootia32.efi bootloader. The main point is that a 32bit EFI bootloader must be used for booting and installing an OS on the Asus T100, whether it's Win 8.x or Linux.

If the Android x-86 64bit ISO file has the bootia32.efi file, then it can be installed on the Asus T100, similarly for Debian 64bit.

There is no point creating an EFI Boot Partition on the Asus T100 if you do not have a 32bit EFI bootloader, as required by the computer's 32bit UEFI firmware.
... Installing the bootia32.efi file on the Linux ISO file should not present any problem to the Asus T100, ie it is not a 3rd-party hook into the system.

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Re: ASUS T100TAF cannot boot USB with Mint

Postby Tomgin5 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:14 pm

Some of the Asus T100TAT netbooks had only 1 GB of ram also. Fear not I installed LM 18.2 cinnamon 32 in an MSiU100 and it runs quite well. An atom n250 with 1 GB ram

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ClixTrix
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Re: ASUS T100TAF cannot boot USB with Mint

Postby ClixTrix » Thu Nov 23, 2017 6:02 pm

Someone has a receipt to cook that book.

http://www.jfwhome.com/2016/01/04/lates ... us-t100ta/

Found that checking here:

https://askubuntu.com/questions/392719/ ... ot-support

Where there's a will, there's a way.
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