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I'm searching for a new laptop, and I'm currently considering getting an ASUS N56VZRH71. Everything spec-wise looks good (except for the absence of an SSD), but I want to know if I'll be able to dual boot Linux Mint and Windows 8 on it. I use Windows for most gaming, but I use Mint for work, and I'm confused about how Secure Boot affects computers.

Also, if I find another laptop I'm interested in, how can I tell whether or not I'll be able to dual boot Linux and Windows on that?

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Possible duplicate: The UEFI & SecureBoot impact, how severe? –  depquid Apr 13 '13 at 18:34
    
@terdon "Any" is a very all-encompassing word. If you have information that indicates that for the foreseeable future, no manufacture will ship any laptop with a locked UEFI that will only boot Microsoft-signed OSes, could you please provide that? –  depquid Apr 13 '13 at 18:41
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4 Answers 4

Looking at this, it would seem that your best bet right now with secure boot is Ubuntu 12.10. Current fedora may also work, but the ubuntu scheme sounds a little more foolproof, since the latter got what amounts to an all-access pass from the OEMs so that each and every driver does not have to be signed.

While Mint is "ubuntu derived", I would guess that because they are not actually part of Canonical (ubuntu's parent organization), they can't use the secure boot key Canonical has, which is recognized by the OEMs along with Microsoft's. So unless they get a similar arrangement, the situation is more complicated.

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I have a UEFI secure boot MSI laptop with OEM Windows 8 installed. I heard about Linux Mint, tried the DVD ISO version and it looked good. I had difficulty booting into Linux at first until I switched to Legacy boot mode. Then all was well. I played with Linux Mint for a bit. Of course, the settings changes I made were lost on reboot. So I took the plunge and installed as a dual boot system. I used the quick and easy partitioning rather than manually configuring. All seemed well. I had to reboot and manually switch from Legacy back to UEFI boot in order to get windows to work and back again for linux. It worked for a couple of days. Then one day Windows detected a "corruption" and tried to repair itself. Further research told me that the new security bios does not like alternate boots; this is in order to protect form Root kits.

My Windows became unstable and eventually got stuck displaying "Preparing automatic repair". I thought all was lost. I took it back to the store to have them reinstall windows 8. I was floored when they said that installing Linux voided my warrantee and that if my restore partition was corrupted, they would have to charge for a new windows operating system as well! Fortunately, I somehow got windows unstuck, the recovery partition was still valid and I had my data backed up (Windows partition was readable within Linux Mint, which was still operational). I reinstalled windows, blowing linux mint away.

Sooo... In answer to your question, UEFI does NOT work directly with Linux Mint. GRUB 2 seems to work in legacy mode but Windows 8 is badly behaved and does not play nice. The sulky brat tries to "Fix" things and messes things up.

My advice, don't install dual boot with Windows 8. Oh, and make a DVD backup of your Windows 8 just in case so you have protection against corruption.

Update: I have discovered a conflict that may be causing my "Preparing Automatic Repair" problems. I have an old laptop drive I mount externally to my computer using USB 3 (NexStar3). The drive used to be bootable, but I erased much of windows and the recovery partition. The USB device is set in the boot loader priority before the Laptop hard drive. If I simply unplug the USB drive, I do not get the Pre Auto Repair screen.

As an aside, perhaps if I install linux on THAT drive, I could have my dual boot. Then I would not be using GRUB 2 at all.

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I dual boot 2 different Windows OSs. I know your trying to with Linux, but in order to dual boot with Windows, go into your bios, turn secure boot off and then go under system config and turn boot mode from uefi to csm.save and exit.

If you don't hold shift while clicking shut down from Windows 8 it's supposedly not going to let you into your bios.

Windows 8 gets stupid as hell when legacy mode is on, maybe it's just my other laptop but I had to reinstall windows 8 cause somewhere in the process the recovery partition was m.i.a.

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For your first question, http://lmgtfy.com/?q=install+linux+secure+boot

For your second, if you use Mint for work, you should know what is grub.

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Dude, chill - no need to downvote. I didn't ask this question without googling around, I just wanted to make sure that it was definitely possible, since there's so much confusion surrounding Secure Boot. –  Cornholio Apr 13 '13 at 17:43
    
Also, of course I know what GRUB is - that's not what I was asking about. –  Cornholio Apr 13 '13 at 17:43
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This is not only not an answer to the question but is also unnecessarily rude. A lot of people (especially in the sciences) use Linux for work without being power users, why should they be? –  terdon Apr 13 '13 at 17:52
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-1: not only this is rude, it doesn't answer the question. –  Renan Apr 13 '13 at 18:19
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