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Thread: UEFI boot Issue with Alienware X51

  1. #1
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    Post UEFI boot Issue with Alienware X51

    Hello there,


    I bought an Alienware X51 with Win7 64 bit installed via UEFI Boot mode. Now, I would like to have Ubuntu installed alongside Windows but am having problems booting the Ubuntu Live USB (32 bit).


    Firstly, here are my system specs:


    Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-2120 CPU @ 3.30GHz.
    BIOS Manufacturer: Alienware; Version A06.
    MB Manufacturer: Alienware.
    Video Adapter: Intel HD 2000 Graphics/Nvidia Geforce 545 GDDR5 OEM.
    Memory: 4 GB, 1333 Mhz.
    Hard Drive Device: ST31000524AS ATA Device, 1000 GB.
    Optical Drive: HL-DT-ST DVD+-RW GA31N ATA Device.
    Operating System: MS Windows 7 Home Premium Edition, 64 bit.


    Second, my disk partitions:


    I couldn't manage to connect to my home network after loading Gparted, so I had to take a picture of my screen. (Sorry!)





    I set up both my Gparted and Ubuntu Live USB with Universal USB Installer. When booting...


    With Ubuntu: I am greeted with a black screen and I believe a white cursor flash (underscore key?) in the top left, before my machine proceeds to load Win7.


    With Gparted: I am able to boot into the Linux distro, albeit in Failsafe Mode. Why can I boot UEFI with Gparted but not with Ubuntu?



    When I switch my boot mode from UEFI to Legacy, I can boot the Ubuntu live USB. After entering, "nomodeset," I open the Ubuntu installation tool, but once I reach the part where the installer lists the partitions, it doesn't show Win7. (Because they use different boot modes, Win7 is UEFI and my Live USB is currently in Legacy).


    I found this quote from https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UEFIBooting


    "Some machines (all Dell laptops, all new Apple from 2010 on, some Lenovo) have bugs in their UEFI firmware, preventing them from booting (black screen). Linux Kernel 3.0 (and higher versions) includes patches with workarounds for them. It is therefore recommended to use a Linux kernel of version 3.0 or higher."


    I'm not sure if the above quote applies to me, but I think it is worth posting.



    I have posted this question on some other forums, but none of the people who have helped have given me a step-by-step procedure on how to install Ubuntu with my machine. I am really lost when it comes to linux, I have just learnt the basics of navigating in terminal.

  2. #2
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    Re: UEFI boot Issue with Alienware X51

    The latest version of Ubuntu seems to install to UEFI for most systems, but still has the video issues that many of us have. I only have nVidia and have to use nomodeset on liveCD/USB and on first boot.

    Some with the newer system like yours with the Intel video built in seem to get it working with the Intel and then experiment with the nVidia and the nVidia drivers.

    Can you set which video you use in BIOS on connect to that output?
    or
    How to set NOMODESET and other kernel boot options in grub2
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1613132
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/BootOptions

    GUIDE: (U)EFI installation Also full install post #52 superfreak on pg.6
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1958383
    UEFI screen shots with choice to boot
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.p...7#post12030957

    https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php...ware_Interface
    https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/UEFI
    https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/GPT
    https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Grub2

    Be sure to use the Windows tools to shrink the Windows partition first and reboot a couple of times so Windows can run chkdsk and update itself for its new size.

    Another UEFI with issues on dual video:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1994622
    Last edited by oldfred; August 9th, 2012 at 05:15 AM.
    For info on UEFI boot install & repair:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to close thread when/if answered completely.







  3. #3
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    Re: UEFI boot Issue with Alienware X51

    It seems, though, that you're not able to actually boot the Ubuntu .iso, as indicated by the fact that it switches over to Windows 7. This is what I've seen before when the system tries the first boot device, decides it's not valid, and moves on to the next one in the list. So, I think altering Grub isn't going to fix it, as Grub never actually gets launched.

    It's an odd problem. However, as I mentioned in the last thread, it looks like there's a number of posts on the Dell Support forums with similar problems, and there is a suggestion that there's a hardware issue booting into other media sources as UEFI. One thing to check, which may not be what's happening here, is the format of the USB drive you made. According to this post, if the drive is formatted any other way than FATx (FAT32 for example), the system will not recognize it as a valid, bootable UEFI device:

    http://en.community.dell.com/owners-....aspx#20144598

    Since you can get Gparted to boot (which I do not believe is being booted in UEFI mode), and you can boot Ubuntu in BIOS mode, it would be helpful to boot to one of them and check the formatting of the Ubuntu USB drive you made to check that it's FAT formatted.

    If you need another source of confirmation, another quick test that I'll bet will work is if you unplug your hard drive(s), and try to boot the Ubuntu .iso in UEFI mode again. I'm betting you'll get an error along the lines of non-bootable device or no disc found or something.

    The other potential issue could be that this system is UEFI Secure Boot, and won't boot the .iso in UEFI mode because it's missing the signing key. I believe the only workaround there is to disable the Secure Boot protocol, although I'm not sure how to go about that.

  4. #4
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    Re: UEFI boot Issue with Alienware X51

    I doubt that vendors would turn on secure boot until Windows 8 as that is a requirement with Windows 8.

    But even some BIOS have a locked MBR, so there may be some other UEFI settings.

    These were from users with BIOS that had to change settings, maybe something similar in your UEFI:

    BIOS shows floppy or firewire and you do not have those
    changing newer BIOS SATA 6 Gbit/s from 6 Gbs to a SATA II - 3Gbs
    BIOS & disable "Boot Sector Virus Protection"
    Other BIOS settings - Security or locked down Boot sector, Bitlocker
    Raid meta data on drive - even if one drive (Vendor happend to set it on)
    Changed IDE Mode to AHCI Mode
    Then,when the SATA3G_1 selection appears in the drive list below,select the Enabled option.
    Have not seen any Alienware systems that I can remember, so not sure of anything else unique with them.
    For info on UEFI boot install & repair:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to close thread when/if answered completely.







  5. #5
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    Re: UEFI boot Issue with Alienware X51

    Thanks both of you for your input. Here is my bootscreen after I press F12 on system startup:



    UEFI: KingstonDataTraveler is FAT32, it's the Gparted Live USB, it boots okay.
    UEFI: Generic Flash Disk is also FAT32, it's the Ubuntu Live USB, it is the one that doesn't show anything when I choose it boot from it.

    They are both linux distros, and it seems that when I choose "UEFI: KingstonDataTraveler," I am booting Gparted in UEFI mode, because I am able to see all of my Windows partitions. If I booted in Legacy with Gparted I wouldn't be able to see my installed os, it would say unallocated or something, shouldn't it?


    With Ubuntu, I am not able to reach the screen where you are able to press tab to add more parameters. It immediately goes black and loads windows. (I take take a quick video to show this if needed).

    Also, I tried switching my BIOS display mode from discrete to IGFX and realized after booting that my integrated graphics only has HDMI output, which I do not have. I only have DVI displays. So I wont be able to see if using integrated graphics solves the issue becauae I can't see anything! I switched it back to discrete.

    I also can't find any mention of UEFI Secure Boot, though I found Intel XD Bit Technology in my BIOS, which I do not think applies here.

    What do you guys reccomend I do? What steps should I take first?

  6. #6
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    Re: UEFI boot Issue with Alienware X51

    Is the install of Ubuntu on the liveCD ok? It almost seems like it is not a bootable version.

    You can check that ISO you downloaded is ok. You did download the 64bit version not the 32bit?
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/HowToMD5SUM
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/In...n/FromUSBStick
    For info on UEFI boot install & repair:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to close thread when/if answered completely.







  7. #7
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    Re: UEFI boot Issue with Alienware X51

    I checked my ubuntu-12.04-desktop-i386.iso with this hash:

    d791352694374f1c478779f7f4447a3f

    and it worked. So, my installation is okay, unless Universal USB Installer didn't write the iso to my USB correctly, which I doubt.

    Do you recommend me downloading the 64 bit version instead?
    Last edited by RustyLambda; August 10th, 2012 at 01:10 AM. Reason: typo

  8. #8
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    Re: UEFI boot Issue with Alienware X51

    After doing a bunch more Google scavenging, I'm finding more than a couple users with issues booting from either a CD / DVD or USB device, and some of them are also seeing the system go straight to Windows instead of booting their alternate device. From my reading, I'm beginning to think there's an issue with these motherboards or the way the BIOS is configured. Here's another example of a user that can't boot from any USB or CD (no solution unfortunately):

    http://en.community.dell.com/owners-.../20076437.aspx

    And another who couldn't even boot from a Windows Server 2008 CD:

    http://en.community.dell.com/owners-.../20056864.aspx

    Although this is a totally different system (and this doesn't much make sense to me based on what you've decribed), I found this link suggesting to make sure you're plugged into a USB2.0 port and not a USB3.0 port:

    USB3.0 vs USB2.0 Boot
    http://en.community.dell.com/owners-.../20100012.aspx

    That's a bit of a shot in the dark, but maybe relevant. In case it's a hardware issue, I wonder if you tried other USB ports.

    Here's a post about a user experiencing some faulty motherboards:

    http://en.community.dell.com/owners-.../19445129.aspx

    Since you *can* boot the Ubuntu installer in BIOS, but *can not* boot it in UEFI mode, I would think it's not the fault of the USB drive or the .iso. You did mention in the first post that you've made a 32-bit .iso. Maybe this has something to do with it? Does anyone know if the UEFI boot stuff is in both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions? Is there any reason you don't want to use the 64-bit version?

    EDIT: Just re-read Fred's post. I think it has to do with the 64-bit vs 32-bit versions. Need to find out for sure if UEFI is supported in the 32-bit version natively.

  9. #9
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    Re: UEFI boot Issue with Alienware X51

    OK, I think this is it. The problem is that you have a 32-bit .iso, and you need a 64-bit .iso. The 32-bit .iso does not have built in support for UEFI like the 64-bit version does. I just looked through the package lists here, comparing 32-bit to 64-bit, and there's no .efi files in the 32-bit version:

    http://releases.ubuntu.com/12.04/

    Try the 64-bit installer and let us know how it goes.

  10. #10
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    Re: UEFI boot Issue with Alienware X51

    Using the 64 bit iso worked! I reached the grub-1.99 screen, pressed e to enter the "nomodeset" command, and booted up Ubuntu successfully. Now, would you guys kindly explain how to partition my hard drive to fit Ubuntu? Would 50GB be enough? I don't want to destroy my Win7 partition in the process, how do I make it install safely?

    I'm not sure about these sda drives, or what to do:

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/534/pic1gj.png/
    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/829/pic2cyu.png/
    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/268/pic3zd.png/

    (I didn't want my post to be huge so if you like can you please look at those pics)

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