Updating Bios Requires Windows OS on Acers and...

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victoriagrimalkin
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Updating Bios Requires Windows OS on Acers and...

Postby victoriagrimalkin » Sun Aug 21, 2016 6:20 pm

... probably all other brands of laptops, etc. This fact is something I just encountered when trying to solve a fan control problem on an Acer Aspire. So, my question is this: does any brand of laptop (other than MacIntosh/Apple) sell without any Windows OS? Can a buyer acquire a brand new laptop without any Microsoft involvement? If Bios can only be updated by downloading and running the updated version using a Windows OS, then how can a consumer buy a purely Linux or Ubuntu device?

I have read some discussion of UEFI Boot Mode, but it always seems to be for installing a Windows OS. I am so sick of Windows, yet I can't justify spending the price of a new Mac. If there is a manufacturer out there, does anyone know how to find them?

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Re: Updating Bios Requires Windows OS on Acers and...

Postby Ubulindy » Sun Aug 21, 2016 7:22 pm

Yes. I have a MSI GT-60

https://www.msi.com/index.php

They have "bare bones" laptops.

Mine came with Win 8. I went into the BIOS, disabled secure boot & fast boot, enabled "legacy boot". That was that. Runs any linux/gnu really.

Here is a link to look up different vendors and performance with linux.

http://linlap.com/

edit: added link
Last edited by Ubulindy on Sun Aug 21, 2016 7:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Updating Bios Requires Windows OS on Acers and...

Postby trapperjohn » Sun Aug 21, 2016 7:45 pm

Dell sells laptops/desktop with Ubuntu pre-installed with UEFI. It's easy to hack Ubuntu off the system and run another distro instead. A friend has one of these machines: Precision7510 XCTO. Yup, pricey, but it's rock-solid and less than a Mac.

There are several other manufacturers. I have looked closely at Thinkpenguin, who will pre-install any one of myriad Linux distros and will even ship a unit with no OS.

Meanwhile, on BIOS update w/o Windows, have a look at: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Flashing_BIOS_from_Linux. The FreeDOS approach seems the safest.

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TooMuchTime
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Re: Updating Bios Requires Windows OS on Acers and...

Postby TooMuchTime » Sun Aug 21, 2016 9:39 pm

I know that Microsoft has a pretty strong lock on non-Apple desktops and laptops when it comes to what OS is pre-installed. So while there are vendors that will do this, it is currently just a niche market. Which is strange when you think of commerce. The entire point of business is that you sell what the customer wants. If I owned a store that sold computers and someone said, "Put in a blank hard drive and I'll install my own operating system and software," I'd tell my sales and tech staff to do it and damn any agreement the computer manufacturer has with Microsoft. The customer is king, not some faceless company that signs agreements with manufacturers and expects vendors to comply. F that.

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Re: Updating Bios Requires Windows OS on Acers and...

Postby jimallyn » Mon Aug 22, 2016 3:09 am

I have a laptop I am readying for a friend. The hard drive was toast, so of course there was no OS on it. I put a 1TB drive in it and installed Mint 18. Then I thought it might be good to update the BIOS for him while I had it. I found pretty much the same thing as you did. There were a couple of sites that described how to download the BIOS update and put it on a CD with one of the free DOS clones and run it from (pseudo) DOS. I haven't done it yet, but I'm thinking about it. You might do some Googling and see if that is possible with the laptop you have or want. I recently put Mint 18 on a Dell laptop with Win8 for a friend of mine. Easy install. If the computer has UEFI instead of BIOS, there's a tutorial on the forums that tells you how to install with UEFI:

viewtopic.php?t=163126

I have heard that, at least in some countries, if you buy a computer with Windows on it and you're not going to use it, you can get a refund for the cost of Windows. I don't know which countries that applies in, or if it applies at all anymore, but it might be worth looking into.
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Re: Updating Bios Requires Windows OS on Acers and...

Postby MajorMuff » Mon Aug 22, 2016 5:00 am

There are always ways to update a BIOS when something else than Windows is running on the device. You WILL need a Windows device to unpack the require BIN files from the update though. After that, it's usually a question of putting a BIN file on a FAT32 formatted USB drive and updating from withing the BIOS itself.

In my experience this should not be too difficult, however I don't know the specific model you're using.
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Re: Updating Bios Requires Windows OS on Acers and...

Postby victoriagrimalkin » Mon Aug 22, 2016 5:13 pm

Thanks for the advise and suggestions. Since I am not a well-versed computer tech, I found most of it (flashing Bios and UEFI) too advanced for me. I will chalk this up to experience and keep it in mind, If I ever purchase a new laptop or notebook.

I appreciate the help rendered here and the more I learn about Mint and other Linux OS, the more I love it. My husband really is enjoying his new OS, too, and is so glad to no longer be tied to Windows.

Peace!

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Re: Updating Bios Requires Windows OS on Acers and...

Postby richlion2 » Wed Sep 07, 2016 4:27 am

Back in 2009 I used these guys, although for warranty reasons they recommended having Windows on it, so I paid, but then scrapped it after 1 year:
https://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/
You can configure your own laptop/PC.

As for UEFI, there are plenty of Youtube posts showing how to disable this stuff:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWGlJVV3djw

victoriagrimalkin
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Re: Updating Bios Requires Windows OS on Acers and...

Postby victoriagrimalkin » Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:22 pm

Thanks. I will check out your links. I've more or less given up the idea of updating, but this is good to know.

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Re: Updating Bios Requires Windows OS on Acers and...

Postby lexon » Wed Dec 14, 2016 1:06 am

I have an older Acer that had Vista Basic and another with W7. Installed Mint 18 with no issues. No Windows anymore.
I know it is extremely difficult with W10 but was not aware the W8 PC's had the same issue.
My W10 PC is impossible to dual boot.
Good luck.

L
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victoriagrimalkin
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Re: Updating Bios Requires Windows OS on Acers and...

Postby victoriagrimalkin » Wed Dec 14, 2016 2:20 pm

Thanks, lexon. We have resigned ourselves to limping along. Got a sweet little laptop fan on eBay that has solved by husband's Vista fan control problem.

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Re: Updating Bios Requires Windows OS on Acers and...

Postby MMcD488 » Fri Dec 16, 2016 1:21 pm

I used the FreeDOS approach to updating the BIOS on my ancient Dell laptop. The hardest part was finding the FreeDOS live image and after that the BIOS update went off without a hitch.

@lexon
I've read that Win 8 and 10 have default settings that conflict with dual-booting. I made sure Fast Boot and Secure Boot were off in my BIOS and OS before installing Linux Mint and I haven't had any issues dual-booting with either GRUB or rEFInd. I'm using Windows 10 Pro 64-bit on my desktop with Mint 18 KDE 64-bit.
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Re: Updating Bios Requires Windows OS on Acers and...

Postby samriggs » Sat Dec 17, 2016 7:04 pm

I had to do this also and used freeDos which went through without a hitch, just make sure to read how to do it before attempting it and make sure you get the correct firmware or it will bork your system

Here is some link with tutorials and resources

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/BIOSUpdate

http://linuxinsight.com/how-to-flash-motherboard-bios-from-linux-no-dos-windows-no-floppy-drive.html

http://www.freedos.org/

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Flashing_BIOS_from_Linux

Good luck
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Re: Updating Bios Requires Windows OS on Acers and...

Postby Petermint » Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:20 pm

Microsoft used to issue contracts that said any manufacturer shipping a computer with Windows had to ship all computers with windows. That type of contract was made illegal in many countries. Microsoft changed their tactics a little. $10 per Windows if you shipped every computer with Windows. $20 or $100 for Windows if you shipped only some computers with Windows.

Then you are up against the hardware suppliers that develop drivers only for Windows. You buy a new computer and face a six month wait for Linux drivers.

If you are not a slave to the Apple, you do not need the latest model the day of release. Your friends will still talk to you when your device is a couple of days out of date. The six month wait brings competition, lower prices, discount sales, and people posting pages about how they converted that device to Linux. Buy then.

Even a brand new day of release purchase has an obsolete SSD you will probably replace. Notebooks still advertise SSDs in GB instead of TB.

Wait for the sales. You save more than the $10 you might save if your computer did not have Windows installed.


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