Trials and tribulations with my HP EFI based laptop

I’ve bought a new laptop for my Son – its from HP and without realising it, it comes with one of those EFI based Windows 8 locked down things.

Now I was going to just wipe Windows and just load Ubuntu 12.04 – but having second thoughts I embarked with dualbooting.  Now I’ve done lots-and-lots of dual boots in my time – but this time I got cocky and messed up big time.  So to the detail.

Mistake number 1.

I’ve always backed up a new computer before doing any thing … but this time I decided, nothing will go wrong…

Downloaded Ubuntu 12.04 directly from the ubuntu website and put the ISO onto a memory stick.

Booted into the EFI bios, changed so that the USB was higher than the disk in its priority order and booted into the Live USB.

Didnt bother to test the wireless – that was Mistake number 1.

Everything looked ok.  Began to install.  The installer crashed half-way.  No worries I thought, just kick off another install making sure I was just installing over the previous failed Ubuntu.  Again, crashed half-way.

Mistake number 2

Began googling like mad – seems you have to turn-off fast-boot on windows 8 first.  Lets do that… what! where is windows?

Indeed, I seemed to have completely trashed my Windows 8 installation as well as the Recovery Partition.

Of course – no real recovery CD’s.  Lets contact HP customer support.

First email – automated response.

Second email – sorry you have to use a 3rd party provider and buy the recover CD for £30 – ouch.  For a laugh, I went to the provider, typed in my details – sorry your computer no longer has recovery CDs available.  What were they saying – my laptop was brand-new just off the production line.  Back to HP.

Third email – automated response

Fourth email – “as a good will gesture we’ll send you the actual recover CD’s” – fantastic customer support I thought.

Two weeks went by – no disks arrived.

Fifth email – automated response

Sixth email – I sent in a complaint.

Seventh email – “sorry we’ll send them again” – three days later they arrived.  Brilliant result.

It took 4 hours to recover using those CDs – but back to square 1.

Mistake number 3

Dont need to backup I thought – I’ve got the recovery CDs.  Lets crack on with the dual boot process.  Hmmm, crashed again.  The real mistake was that I never did a MD5SUM on the ISO – the ISO was corrupt

Finally downloaded 12.04 using zsync and this ensured the ISO was pukka.

Mistake number 4

Succeeded to dual boot. However I need to use F9 to boot into Ubuntu.  No worries I thought, I’ll fix that later.  After dual booting.  No wireless. Lets connect wired … wired connection doesnt work either. Damn!

Mistake number 5

Lets download Ubuntu 13.04 – yes you guessed it … I never did a MD5SUM again.

Booting into 13.04 – no wireless again – but this time the wired connection worked.  Lets proceed with the dual boot – again crashed.  Having seemingly never learned my lessons above, proceeded to trash the whole disk again.  Back to the recovery CDs.  Downloaded ubuntu 13.04 again via zsync.

Yes – dual boot – but with F9 to boot into Ubuntu.  Fixed the wireless by downloading and installing Kernel 3.10 from the main-line.

Mistake number 6

Lets Google I thought and figure out  why I have to press F9 to boot.  Hmmm, lets use Boot-Repair.  Accept the defaults I thought.  No joy. More googling – started fiddling with the EFI files themselves in the /boot/EFI folder.  Eventually found out that by renaming the Microsoft EFI file to something else, renaming the Ubuntu replacement EFI to the original Microsoft EFI name, ubuntu would boot by default. Oh no – Windows no longer boots.

To cut a long story short – recovered Windows again using the HP Recovery Manager which fortunately was still on the hard-disk.  Install 13.04 as a dual boot. Boot using the Live USB.  Ran Boot-Repair…

and the magic was a little option not checked by default in the advanced options – this was to force renaming of the EFI files.

By ticking this, ubuntu was the first to boot.  Windows was accessible via one of the many grub entries now visible – not the bottom “windows” option, but one of the other EFI files.

Moral of the tale:

Backup-backup-backup

MD5SUM, MD5SUM, MD5SUM

and…

find a manufacturer that doesnt insist on using EFI!

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One thought on “Trials and tribulations with my HP EFI based laptop

  1. Pingback: How to reinstall grub after Windows 8.1 upgrade on a HP Pavilion | xpress-ubuntu

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