UEFI install on Dell notebooks

Post your tutorials and howtos here.
User avatar
ilu
Posts: 1599
Joined: 09 Oct 2013 12:45

UEFI install on Dell notebooks

Postby ilu » 03 Aug 2017 18:56

If you happen to have a Dell notebook where you wiped (or replaced) the disk and want to reinstall any system in UEFI mode but the blasted setup prevents you from adding a boot option with UEFI enabled (screaming: "file system not found"), do this:
1. Switch to legacy mode and boot a SolydXK live system
2. Create a GPT record on the device (using gparted, for instance)
3. Create the EFI partition - 100 MiB, fat32, named EFI system partition and label EFI
4. Reboot and switch back to UEFI, maybe reboot again - and voilá, you can add the boot option.
5. In setup, click "Add boot option", name it and see whether you can select either your DVD drive or your USB stick. Select it, click ok and reboot.
6. If there's only one long cryptic entry with "hdd" and "gpt" in it it's your HDD. It means USB stick or DVD drive are not recognised - try another USB port or another stick/drive. Proceed until you are able to boot.
7. If you want to install Win7 first, follow this instructions: https://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/1649-clean-install-windows-7-a.html and https://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/186875-uefi-unified-extensible-firmware-interface-install-windows-7-a.html, even if they seem convoluted - the important detail is, that you have to manually delete all partitions first and then allow the Win installer to recreate at will. Finish install, boot Win and shrink the Win partition to free space for SolydXK. If that's not enough have a look at the tool grizzler recommended below.
8. Now hope that your SolydXK install medium will be recognised by the Dell setup.

Written up for future reference. The main problem seems to be that these notebooks frequently decide not to recognise your boot medium.

User avatar
ScottQuier
Posts: 1756
Joined: 18 Jul 2013 15:55
Location: Newport News, VA

Re: UEFI install on Dell notebooks

Postby ScottQuier » 03 Aug 2017 22:20

I don't have a Dell computer but I have to say it's strange that one can't create the partitions as they wish during the Win7 install rather than letting the Win7 installer have free reign. But, I'm sure (as in, I have zero doubt) you've tested this enough that you know what you are talking about.
Scott
Quoting zerozero, "The usage of PPA's in debian-based
systems is risky at best and entails serious compatibility
problems; usually it's the best way to destroy an install"


User avatar
ilu
Posts: 1599
Joined: 09 Oct 2013 12:45

Re: UEFI install on Dell notebooks

Postby ilu » 04 Aug 2017 13:38

You have to give Win7 free reign to ensure that the EFI and system partitions are created correctly. Win7 is not optimized for use with EFI, which was not common at the time. I haven't tried to partition manually because with all the other hassle it's just not worth the risk of failure. You can always very easily resize afterwards.

User avatar
trinidad
Posts: 21
Joined: 23 Jul 2016 20:59

Re: UEFI install on Dell notebooks

Postby trinidad » 04 Aug 2017 15:41

This is not universally correct for Dell. The OEM DOM is important in this case. Older hardware had firmware bugs involving UEFI that forced Windows to run on the media channel after installation (basically a dirty circumvention of UEFI that allowed MBR to operate under GUID partitioning). Point 8 of your method is bad praxis for a Windows installation. Always defragment Windows first and then shrink the Windows partiton from Windows and leave the resulting free space unformatted. The SolydX installer will find the free disk space. Also under MBR Windows claims the whole drive during installation, but not under GUID. You can format NTFS primary partions in advance but you must leave free space at the beginning of the drive as sometimes with Dell upgrades both a small 16bit and a 1g 32bit partition are required under UEFI. To be safe 2g will work. If you are replacing a drive in a newer Dell you will most likely need to reinstall the firmware from Dell first usually via an internet connection and the flash utility.

TC
You can't believe your eyes if your imagination is out of focus.

User avatar
ilu
Posts: 1599
Joined: 09 Oct 2013 12:45

Re: UEFI install on Dell notebooks

Postby ilu » 04 Aug 2017 18:06

The main problem was to convince the Dell setup to accept any boot medium. Point 8 was just added for completeness.
trinidad wrote:Point 8 of your method is bad praxis for a Windows installation. Always defragment Windows first and then shrink the Windows partiton from Windows and leave the resulting free space unformatted.

I don't see why it's necessary to defragment anything in a new install but if your patience still lasts at that point, it can't hurt. Gparted never failed me.
Also under MBR Windows claims the whole drive during installation, but not under GUID. You can format NTFS primary partions in advance but you must leave free space at the beginning of the drive as sometimes with Dell upgrades both a small 16bit and a 1g 32bit partition are required under UEFI. To be safe 2g will work.

Don't forget the EFI and system partition. It's easier to let Win do the calculation.
If you are replacing a drive in a newer Dell you will most likely need to reinstall the firmware from Dell first usually via an internet connection and the flash utility.

Which flash utility are you talking about? I try to be extra careful with firmware updates and would prefer to use Dells tool which is Win only. So Win needs to be installed first. If you buy a used business device, the old disk is usually either wiped clean or not present at all - so no OS to start out with. I've never booted a Linux live system to do a firmware update from there, would that even work?

User avatar
grizzler
Posts: 1882
Joined: 04 Mar 2013 15:45
Location: The Hague, NL

Re: UEFI install on Dell notebooks

Postby grizzler » 04 Aug 2017 19:17

ilu wrote:The main problem was to convince the Dell setup to accept any boot medium. Point 8 was just added for completeness.
trinidad wrote:Point 8 of your method is bad praxis for a Windows installation. Always defragment Windows first and then shrink the Windows partiton from Windows and leave the resulting free space unformatted.

I don't see why it's necessary to defragment anything in a new install but if your patience still lasts at that point, it can't hurt. Gparted never failed me.

NTFS has a master file table (MFT) roughly in the middle of the partition. GParted doesn't care about that and simply does what it's told. If that means cutting up the MFT - or even shrinking the partition below it - Windows will throw a fit the next time you try to boot it.
Last time I needed to shrink an NTFS partition further than Windows would allow (because of the MFT), I defragmented and then shrunk it using UltraDefrag, which properly handled moving the MFT to the new center of the resized partition.
Frank

SolydX EE 64 - tracking Debian Testing

User avatar
ilu
Posts: 1599
Joined: 09 Oct 2013 12:45

Re: UEFI install on Dell notebooks

Postby ilu » 04 Aug 2017 20:45

Thank you for the explanation Frank - maybe I have been just lucky up to now. I'll have a look at that tool.

kurotsugi
Posts: 1920
Joined: 09 Jan 2014 00:17

Re: UEFI install on Dell notebooks

Postby kurotsugi » 05 Aug 2017 14:10

I never know that installing windows along with linux could be this complicated :lol:

User avatar
ilu
Posts: 1599
Joined: 09 Oct 2013 12:45

Re: UEFI install on Dell notebooks

Postby ilu » 05 Aug 2017 14:45

Yes, Windows (7 which is what everyone wants) is complicated. And after install you still don't have a working system ... you first need to get all the appropriate drivers. Linux takes just 15 minutes and is ready to go.
But to be fair - the main problem, that really takes time to solve, is not the Win install but to find out how to get the laptop to boot from dvd/usb with UEFI. That's what point 1-6 where about. I've done it on several second hand notebooks now and at least on the Dell I managed to get it right in the end. Which I can't say about Lenovo.

kurotsugi
Posts: 1920
Joined: 09 Jan 2014 00:17

Re: UEFI install on Dell notebooks

Postby kurotsugi » 05 Aug 2017 15:14

well...what I mean is specifically on the installing windows part, especially on partitioning case. on my case I usually let windows do the partition part. I usually made one EFI (100-500MB), one system (20-30GB), one shared partiton as NTFS (50-100GB), and the rest is untouched (neither partitioned or formatted). after the installation is finished, I continued with linux installation. the untouched partition will be partitioned as, 20-30GB as root, and the rest as /home. next, I'll mount the shared partition somewhere on under my /home/<user> directory. the caveat is that I need to be carefull on the format. somehow my win install media refuse to format an untouched disk as GPT. if I use a brand new disk it will format is using MBR. perhaps I was using an old media. in order to use GPT I need to use gparted to handle the partitoning part but leaving it unformatted.

just like trinidad, I've also got a bad experience with shrinking windows partition. thus, I really-really-really want to avoid it as possible. thanks to grizzler for explaining why shrinking a windows could be a pain. though, it doesn't change the fact that it still a pain to do it :lol:


Return to “Tutorials”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest