Here’s what I did to replace Windows 8 (boo) with Linux Mint (yay) on a 2013 Asus ultrabook with the problematic UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) firmware, using an external DVD drive linked to the machine with a USB cable.
- Download Linux Mint and burn a bootable DVD.
- Disable Windows Fast Startup (in Windows’ Control Panel).
- Reboot machine while pressing F2, to get into BIOS setup.
- Under the Security menu, disable Secure Boot Control.
- Under the Boot menu, disable Fast Boot.
- Under the Boot menu, enable Launch CSM – if you can. (I couldn’t at first. This menu option was visible but inaccessible – “greyed out” in effect, though with no visible indication. In order to make the menu item accessible, I had to save the BIOS parameters, re-start and go back into BIOS setup. Then the item spontaneously became not just visible but selectable. This is an obvious bug in the Aptio setup utility.)
- Save the BIOS parameters, re-start and go back into BIOS setup.
- Under the Boot menu, Add New Boot Option and make your DVD drive boot option #1. My drive is named “HL-DT-STVRAM GPZON AP00”.
- Boot the install DVD you made and install Linux.
The above steps worked to get Linux Mint 14, the second-newest version of that linux distro, up and running. My troubles thus far were due to a buggy and undocumented BIOS. But then I ran into a bug in the installation software for Linux Mint 15. It installed without a hitch but then would not boot.
Here’s what I did to get an apparently problem-free install of Linux Mint 15 to actually boot when I turn on my laptop.
- On another machine that isn’t currently autistic, download an .ISO file of the Ubuntu Boot-Repair CD and burn it to a disc. (I had to install Free ISO Burner on an old Win XP machine in order to do this.)
- Boot the afflicted machine from the Boot-Repair CD and select “Recommended repair”. (And marvel at the funky graphic design.)
- Follow the instructions exactly, including opening a terminal window and typing (because copy & paste doesn’t work) four long arcane linux commands that they show you, where the distinction between one hyphen and two hyphens makes a difference.
- This creates a functioning GRUB menu that will show up on re-boot and send you straight into Linux Mint 15.
- Disconnect DVD drive, reboot. Phew!
All this on an Asus laptop. None of it, sadly, is any help if you’ve got a Samsung laptop rendered useless by the Samsung UEFI BIOS bug.