Author Topic: Six months of distro hopping later...and it's good to be back  (Read 3177 times)

Offline rickc

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Hi all

I posted a bit here six or 7 months back, having loved P6. Unfortunately, I treated myself to a new laptop ( it's HP - trust me - don't get one!! ) and P6 didn't support my wifi.

The official buntus did. so I've had to make do til p7 came out.   

I was unable to settle !  Must admit, KDE is now amazing, a lovely desktop environment.   It's also slow and buggy.   I've learned a bit about linux during this time, and now have three linux partitions sharing with windows 10.   I found that the additional drivers tool is dead in Kubuntu.  I was surprised how much Ubuntu (Unity) has improved since I first saw it and hated it.  I merrily used it for a week, then realised I was struggling to find my apps!   Mate was enjoyable for a time but felt a little old fashioned somehow. As with Ubuntu, I can't get on with gnome 3

I find it madness that new laptops like mine have 2TB hard drive.   I'm finding I do more - and store more, online now.  There's much less need now for more memory, and installing a new OS is easier now because of that.  That said, I'm not ready for cloud only.  I like my music on my hard drive and I prefer a proper office app...and some steam gaming

The ice integration with this distro is extremely cool.  Now using it again, I realised I'd missed it.  Not seen it in other distros, and I've no idea why.

My early impression of P7 is  that it is extremely stable and reliable.  For reasons I don't really get, it is more so than the official buntu flavours.  Must admit I didn't like the default theme and icon this time (I thought p6 was great) - but changing it to my liking was enjoyable and easy.

Despite only a few days of use, this is already my main OS for everyday use.  What other distros do you use? I have netrunner (buggy but so cool) and Bodhi (still not sure what I think of it!) on my other partitions

But trust me...this laptop is a nightmare for dual booting.  Oh well, we live and we learn!! Anyway, good to be back!

Cheers
Rick


Offline Timo

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Re: Six months of distro hopping later...and it's good to be back
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2016, 12:44:26 pm »
What do you mean with that laptop is a nightmare for dualbooting? Does it automatically set windows to first boot option after you've booted into windows? I have this on my gaming rig, it even changes it for all BIOS profiles each time, extremly annoying. However its a windows feature from what I've red, which luckily doesn't work on most PCs...
« Last Edit: June 27, 2016, 12:55:48 pm by Timo »

Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: Six months of distro hopping later...and it's good to be back
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2016, 12:48:29 pm »
Great posting rickc...

I particularly liked that though you didn't like the new theme instead of whining about it you simply changed it .. no theme will please everyone :)

Welcome back.
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Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: Six months of distro hopping later...and it's good to be back
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2016, 12:50:44 pm »
What do you mean with that laptop is a nightmare for dualbooting? Does it automatically set windows to first boot option after you've booted into windows? I have this on my gaming rig, it even changes it for all BIOS profiles each time, extremly annoying. However its a windows feature from what I've read, which luckily doesn't work on most PCs...

Really ? .. i had someone on the other forum (HP laptop) that this was happening to, I never did get to the bottom of it ::)
(this doesn't happen on my two HP laptops)

Cheers Timo .. now I at least know where the blame lies.
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Offline AndyInMokum

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Re: Six months of distro hopping later...and it's good to be back
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2016, 01:04:57 pm »
Hi rickc, welcome back - Peppermint 7 is a bit of a high octane dragster  :o!!
Backup! Backup! Backup! If you're missing any of these -  you ain't Backed Up!
For my system info please L/click HERE.

Offline Timo

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Re: Six months of distro hopping later...and it's good to be back
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2016, 02:26:43 pm »
What do you mean with that laptop is a nightmare for dualbooting? Does it automatically set windows to first boot option after you've booted into windows? I have this on my gaming rig, it even changes it for all BIOS profiles each time, extremly annoying. However its a windows feature from what I've read, which luckily doesn't work on most PCs...

Really ? .. i had someone on the other forum (HP laptop) that this was happening to, I never did get to the bottom of it ::)
(this doesn't happen on my two HP laptops)

Cheers Timo .. now I at least know where the blame lies.

I don't know if my (HP) Laptop has it, because there is no Windows anymore, but the ASUS mainboard in my gaming rig has it (with Win7). It's a UEFI feature, which can be used for usefull things, e.g. I can hop from Win7 into the BIOS and boot again without a true shutdown. This is extremly helpfull since my mainboard has a coldstart issue (crashes after a minute if coldstarted - reboot before it crashes and it will run 100% reliable after that), because it's the only way to not coldstart and boot from a USB stick or DVD.
From what I remember UEFI boot settings should be saved in NVRAM, accessible by the OS to allow features like this. However a backdoor to edit BIOS settings can also be abused, there are extremly clever viruses which use this (formating the HDD wont help there) and obviously Windows can edit this as well. I guess this is very hardware dependend (otherwise those viruses would probably conquer the world). In my case ASUS used it for it's "DirectBIOS"-feature, but if the manufacturer doesn't use features like this they probably lock that door since it's a potential security issue.

Edit: Just asked the ArchWiki, they show how to switch UEFI boot order.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2016, 02:43:16 pm by Timo »

Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: Six months of distro hopping later...and it's good to be back
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2016, 03:54:07 pm »
Switching UEFI boot order is easy .. the problem with the PC I mentioned was that after a reboot it would rewrite the EFI boot partition

Now colour me confused here because adding an OS to the EFI partition stayed added, it just rearranged the order at each boot  :-\

It's as though the BIOS somehow said "Nope, you can add bootloaders to the EFI partition, but edit the order and I'll change it back" .. I've never seen that before, and can't see how or why it would do that.

You could change the boot order with efibootmgr, and if you then checked the boot order HAD successfully been rewritten .. then you'd reboot and it had been edited back (even if you never booted into Windows)  :-\

At the time I could find nothing online about it being a UEFI 'feature' on any PC's/mobos/HP's .. and my two HP's (different models, but same pavillion 15 series) don't do it.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2016, 04:01:32 pm by PCNetSpec »
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Offline Timo

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Re: Six months of distro hopping later...and it's good to be back
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2016, 11:10:06 pm »
Ok, then it's something different. My Win7 always makes itself first boot priority, but you have to boot into it. That came with an update, a installation without updates doesn't do that.

I don't know why it should change the boot order by itself.

Offline rickc

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Re: Six months of distro hopping later...and it's good to be back
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2016, 12:03:28 am »
Switching boot order is impossible with this laptop.  I have to press f9 every time to change boot order, only then will it see my other partition.  I've tried everything and been helped on other forums.  It's not the only laptop with this issue   I've got http://support.hp.com/gb-en/product/HP-Pavilion-15-ab200-Notebook-PC-series/8499306/model/9093456/product-info

eg, efitbootmnr appears to work, but when you reboot the bios changes everything back again

I'm used to it now and life is too short to spend more time on it! I've been advised that the only solution is to attempt to change windows boot manager. No thanks!


Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: Six months of distro hopping later...and it's good to be back
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2016, 04:04:46 am »
Yeah it's odd, and a little worrying that some laptops don't allow the boot priority to be changed away from Windows being first.

Another question has to be .. what would happen on these PC's if you remove Windows altogether .. would it STILL rewrite the EFI partition in an attempt to place the non existent Windows bootloader at the top of the priority list  ???
« Last Edit: June 28, 2016, 04:24:58 am by PCNetSpec »
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Offline Timo

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Re: Six months of distro hopping later...and it's good to be back
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2016, 04:22:17 am »
what would happen on these PC's if you remove Windows altogether .. would it STILL rewrite the EFI partition in an attempt to place the non existent Windows bootloader at the top of the priority list  ???

Does this matter? If the first priority isn't there it should go with whatever it finds next?

Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: Six months of distro hopping later...and it's good to be back
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2016, 04:27:06 am »
Well you would THINK so wouldn't you, but then you would THINK it would accept YOUR priority in the first place...

Or would it just hang at a broken Windows boot ?
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Offline Timo

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Re: Six months of distro hopping later...and it's good to be back
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2016, 05:24:36 am »
Would be interesting to know.

Just tried it on my HP Pavilion x360 13-a051ng. Switching boot order in BIOS (f10) stays and select boot device directly (f9) resets, like it should. However this was USB stick and HDD, not sure what it would do with 2 OS on the HDD. The 4 Boot devices in BIOS (HDD, USB, USB CD/DVD, Network) are a little weird, since there is only one bootable USB Port anyways (USB and USB CD/DVD seem to be the same? - there is no CD/DVD drive built in). And it doesn't seem to autodetect whats plugged in, because I've no ethernet cable plugged in and you can't boot from wlan (like the other USB ports wlan requires a driver), but you can select it in BIOS as first boot priority.
Maybe the 4 Boot devices are hardcoded in BIOS (f10). f9 seems to detect connected bootable devices. This could be the issue. I'm thinking about making a new Win7 stick and installing it to look what happens... sadly I used the Win7 stick for P7, thought I wouldn't need it again, rather kept the P6 stick^^
« Last Edit: June 28, 2016, 05:27:24 am by Timo »

Offline rickc

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Re: Six months of distro hopping later...and it's good to be back
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2016, 05:32:57 am »
I did wipe windows altogether, and then it wouldnt boot at all without going into f9 first.  I don't think erasing windows erases the windows boot manager.  A separate partition has the windows recovery, which you can't touch




Offline murraymint

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Re: Six months of distro hopping later...and it's good to be back
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2016, 06:07:07 am »

Maybe the 4 Boot devices are hardcoded in BIOS (f10).

Yes, that's always been the "traditional" way of things in BIOS. (Now with UEFI we're not even supposed to call it BIOS any more, it's "system firmware" or something, isn't it?)

rickc, you could wipe the drive completely and the windows recovery and UEFI partitions would be gone. I'd hope that then the system firmware would stop its windows bull...