BIOS options to recognize disk? (Lenovo H535)

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ipso
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BIOS options to recognize disk? (Lenovo H535)

Postby ipso » Sat Aug 10, 2013 1:05 am

You've heard this one before...

I have a brand new Lenovo H535 desktop. (HDMI to 40” Westinghouse 1080i monitor - Booyah! Fricken' IMAX.) I stuck a new 3T disk in the empty bay, unplugged the Win8 disc (which boots fine) and used the same plugs to run the new empty 3T.

I booted to a live-DVD of Linux Mint 15 (64bit/Cinnamon) and used GParted to make sure the disc was empty and unallocated space. I installed Mint 15. Easy peasy. Hard to imagine anything easier and more big and beautiful.

But upon reboot, the BIOS won't recognize the new disk. (I don't want to dual boot Win8/Linux on the same disk, which apparently Windows has precluded. I want this machine to have two completely different hard drives, and be able to boot up to either disk, if possible, but if no Linux – this box goes back.)

For now, I want to get a Linux disc to boot (forget Win8.) I've been fussing around but can't get the various BIOS options to jive – because I have no idea what I'm doing. Maybe someone can help cut through this knot...

Code: Select all

BIOS Menu options
- Main
- Devices
   - USB Setup
   - ATA Drives Setup (SATA Mode)
      - IDE
      - AHCI   (This was the default for Win8 – I think I want that for Linux for better performance, if possible.)
      - Disabled
- Advanced
- Power
- Security
- Startup (Primary Boot Sequence)
      - CSM
         - Disabled (Win8 had disabled)
         - Enabled (selecting this allows access to the two boot adjustments below)
      - Boot Mode
         - Auto (selecting this allows the “boot priority” just below – otherwise that option disappears)
         - UEFI Only
         - Legacy Only
      - Boot Priority
         - UEFI first
         - Legacy first
      - Quick Boot  (disabled/enabled)
      - Boot-up Num-lock (on/off)
      - Keyboardless operation (disabled/enabled)
- Exit


Seemingly no matter what I try, I get:

“Error 1962: No operating system found. Press any key to repeat boot sequence.”

I want this to work. Any help navigating the above BIOS options to get it to work is much appreciated.

Thanks for your time.

srs5694
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Re: BIOS options to recognize disk? (Lenovo H535)

Postby srs5694 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 10:55 am

First, you don't have a BIOS; you have an EFI (or UEFI, which is just EFI 2.x). Manufacturers are abusing the term "BIOS" and applying it to their EFIs, but IMHO, this is bad because it makes people think that the EFI firmware works just like the old BIOS firmware, when it doesn't. EFI, in fact, boots in a very different way from BIOS, so you must do different things to get it to work. One critical difference is that the strategy of unplugging a disk with Windows in order to install Linux on a different disk without risking a Windows installation has some flaws with EFI. The EFI boot process involves booting from files, rather than from binary blobs stored on the MBR of the disk. These boot files are registered with the firmware. Some EFIs will "helpfully" delete entries that don't exist, so your computer might end up with boot problems as you unplug and re-plug your disks. Even if that doesn't happen, you'll end up with two EFI System Partitions (ESPs), which is where the boot loaders are stored, and this can be confusing. The Windows installer can flake out when there are two ESPs on a single disk, but I'm not sure offhand how it responds to two ESPs, each on its own disk. To be sure, disk-swapping as you've done does still have its advantages, but you must be aware of its drawbacks and plan appropriately.

Most EFIs (apparently including yours) include a Compatibility Support Module (CSM), which provides a BIOS compatibility layer. The CSM is to EFI a bit like WINE is to Linux -- it lets the firmware run BIOS-mode (aka "legacy") OSes. This sounds very helpful, but in fact it creates confusion. In your case, it's not clear from your description if you've installed Linux in EFI mode or in BIOS mode. This could be at least part of your problem.

All computers that ship with Windows 8 include a firmware feature called Secure Boot. This is intended to improve security by preventing the booting of programs that aren't cryptographically signed. The trouble is that this causes varying degrees of problems for Linux distributions, and Mint users in particular often report Secure Boot problems. You should disable Secure Boot in your firmware before doing anything else. I can't be sure exactly where the Secure Boot options are located, so you'll just have to dig to find them. If you want Secure Boot's features, you can re-enable the feature later and try to get it working. See my Web page on the topic for more on this topic.

Once you've disabled Secure Boot, I recommend that you connect both of your hard disks and then do either (or both, if the first you try doesn't work) of two things:

  • Boot a Linux live CD (such as the Mint installer) and check for a directory called /sys/firmware/efi. If that directory is present, run Boot Repair. If all goes well, this will restore your system to bootability for both Mint and Windows. If this doesn't work, it will produce a URL that provides various diagnostics. Post that URL, or go on to the next option.
  • Prepare a USB flash drive or CD-R with my rEFInd boot manager. Boot with it and test it. It should boot both Windows and Linux. If it does, boot to Linux and install the Debian package version of rEFInd to fix the problem. (Be sure that you have an ESP mounted at /boot/efi before you install the Debian package, though. If nothing is mounted at /boot/efi, mount an ESP there, and edit /etc/fstab to ensure that it will be mounted automatically at each boot.)

ipso
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Re: BIOS options to recognize disk? (Lenovo H535)

Postby ipso » Sat Aug 10, 2013 6:11 pm

I'm antithetical to having a Mint install “beside” a Windows OS – because that's hosed up two machines already, and I lost not only the Windows OS, but also access to the factory OEM “hidden” partition that allows me to get back to square 1. The Linux installs were as easy as you like, but it was a bridge of no return. Mint booted fine, but I could not access Windows in any way. On both machines I ended up using GParted to clear all partitions so the drive was 100% unallocated, then reinstalled Linux.

I've inherited a handful of old machines, so I just dedicated those two to Linux, but the imprint is indelible. I'll not be doing that again. (Unless.... if it hoses the OS I can just return the machine to the store – like with this one – such a scoundrel.)

...

No. I am not a scoundrel. I won't do it.

I've tried every permutation I can on this firmware, and it's baffling that I can install an OS but the machine won't boot to it no matter what I do. Maybe it's common knowledge that many Win8 machines won't run Linux native, but I didn't know that. My sales guy at Fry's didn't know that either because I said clearly I was looking for a Linux machine.

It would seem Microsoft has declared “War” on Linux and Linux users. I guess I can't blame them.

Nor can they blame me when I never EVER purchase another Windows product again.

I liked the idea of having a Win8 disc in reserve, but if they are going to force the issue – bu-bye! I'm returning this “deal” and find myself a quad-core Linux-only monster...!

Thank you anyway for the effort.

srs5694
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Re: BIOS options to recognize disk? (Lenovo H535)

Postby srs5694 » Sun Aug 11, 2013 11:55 am

ipso wrote:I'm antithetical to having a Mint install “beside” a Windows OS – because that's hosed up two machines already, and I lost not only the Windows OS, but also access to the factory OEM “hidden” partition that allows me to get back to square 1. The Linux installs were as easy as you like, but it was a bridge of no return. Mint booted fine, but I could not access Windows in any way. On both machines I ended up using GParted to clear all partitions so the drive was 100% unallocated, then reinstalled Linux.


I'm not sure about Windows 8 systems, but most Windows 7 systems come with utilities that let you create a set of recovery discs so that you can restore the computer even if your hard disk gets completely wiped. You can also, of course, back up the hard disk using any number of disk-backup utilities. Taking one or both of these precautions is always advisable before installing a new OS on a computer, unless of course you don't care about Windows and intend to wipe it completely.

I've inherited a handful of old machines, so I just dedicated those two to Linux, but the imprint is indelible. I'll not be doing that again. (Unless.... if it hoses the OS I can just return the machine to the store – like with this one – such a scoundrel.)

...

No. I am not a scoundrel. I won't do it.


If the machine is built such that attempting to do what you want with it causes it to fail, then there's nothing wrong with returning the hardware. Don't call yourself a "scoundrel" for such actions. Even thinking that you're a "scoundrel" for returning hardware that's not working to your satisfaction means that the manufacturers have succeeded in making you think that you're to blame for something that's their fault. There's a saying in retail: "The customer is always right." The computer industry is increasingly turning that dictum on its head, and returning bad hardware is one of the few tools we customers have to point out to them that they're wrong to do so. Sadly, I've encountered a lot of people who won't exercise that power for one reason or another, even when they should.

I've tried every permutation I can on this firmware, and it's baffling that I can install an OS but the machine won't boot to it no matter what I do.


I've provided you with two suggested solutions. You haven't said that you've tried either of them. Please do.

Maybe it's common knowledge that many Win8 machines won't run Linux native, but I didn't know that.


Recent computers do pose new challenges -- the shift from BIOS to UEFI is creating problems for a variety of reasons. These challenges are far from absolutes, though -- it is not true that "many Win8 machines won't run Linux native." They will run Linux, but in some cases you must jump through some extra hoops to get it to work.

It would seem Microsoft has declared “War” on Linux and Linux users. I guess I can't blame them.


It's not as simple as that. Yes, some of the new challenges derive from new Microsoft policies, but even those policies (like a requirement that Secure Boot be active) have legitimate purposes (like improving system security). Most of the remaining problems are due to design flaws, such as buggy EFI implementations and poor EFI support in Linux. Note that these flaws are spread around -- some can be laid at the feet of computer manufacturers, but others fall in the court of Linux distributions. Mint, unfortunately, is not the best Linux distribution on this score (although it's also not the worst). In short, Hanlon's Razor applies: "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

Nor can they blame me when I never EVER purchase another Windows product again.

I liked the idea of having a Win8 disc in reserve, but if they are going to force the issue – bu-bye! I'm returning this “deal” and find myself a quad-core Linux-only monster...!

Thank you anyway for the effort.


If you don't care about Windows, then don't bother with preserving Windows on your hard disk. With Windows out of the picture, your options for getting Linux working on a new computer increase, since you can do things that would be more destructive for Windows or that would require re-installing Windows to get it to coexist with Linux.

ipso
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Re: BIOS options to recognize disk? (Lenovo H535)

Postby ipso » Sun Aug 11, 2013 3:00 pm

I've provided you with two suggested solutions. You haven't said that you've tried either of them. Please do.

I thought you were talking about fixing the OEM Win8 disk for some kind of dual boot, or prepping it for a Linux install over that disk (which I will not do) vs. my empty disk which had nothing to “fix”. In any case I couldn't process what you were saying.

Now.. I re-read, and realize you might have been talking about my installed Mint 15 instance that wouldn't boot. (Duhh!.)

But it's too late. I just walked in the door from taking the machine back. Bummer. Quad-core w/ 8GB RAM with a perfectly simple black Lenovo box with EXACTLY what I need on the front and nothing else. $499 “one day sale” at Fry's. As mentioned, the HDMI out to my 40” really popped. But I've got 5.75 (old) machines and barely use two, so it wasn't making sense to get another, since I wasn't able to get Mint running.

(I should have kept that machine... Damn it.)

If you don't care about Windows, then don't bother with preserving Windows on your hard disk. With Windows out of the picture, your options for getting Linux working on a new computer increase, since you can do things that would be more destructive for Windows or that would require re-installing Windows to get it to coexist with Linux.

I realize fully that I have no idea what I'm talking about, but I wouldn't want a Linux install in any way compromised by installing it over “Windows only” technology. The purpose of this machine is to be completely Windows free, not just think I am.

You have been very helpful and informative with the whole EFI/UEFI/BIOS thing. Thank you for taking the time to try and help me out, and thus informing everyone here too.


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