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I bought an HP Probook x360 11 G1 EE laptop with an EFI boot and Windows preinstalled. Since there's no option in the BIOS to support legacy boot, I can't do without EFI.

I tried EasyBCD to install Linux, but EasyBCD says that it cannot install Linux.

Next, I tried Grub2Win. But when "testing to boot" into GRUB, the system just hangs whilst booting with a black screen and a blinking cursor at the top left of the screen.

So I'm pretty sure that if I just let some live Linux USB modify the master boot record, Windows will not be able to boot anymore. I don't want to try that.

What can I do to boot Linux? What is this new kind of EFI boot that seems to be locked to Windows only?

Additional note:

In this comment roaima pointed me to a forum thread about a related issue with this laptop that suggests that the problem may arise from some incompatibility with this machine and GRUB.

As alternatives to GRUB, I've heard about Syslinux and rEFInd, but I've never used them. Does anyone know of an easy way to try them to boot Linux without risking breaking the working Windows boot?

Update

When I've finally found the options and ISO that got a live linux usb key to boot, Ubuntu install failed at the "grub2 install" stage. I think this confirms the fact that there indeed is some incompatibility between grub and this precise laptop.

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I tried EasyBCD to install Linux, but EasyBCD says that it cannot install Linux.

Considering yours is UEFI then it's totally expected. EasyBCD does not work in UEFI. EasyUEFI is a similar tool but for modern systems. Usually you don't need any special tool for dual-booting. Dual-booting Windows+Linux is easy and well documented.

Unfortunately there are exceptions: Some notebooks don't have the correct UEFI specifications and tend to boot by name instead of EFI entries (and the name they boot is always "Windows"). Even so, if you followed the above instructions correctly you should always be able to select "Ubuntu" at boot time in the firmware (UEFI) settings. That's when third party software like EasyUEFI may come in handy.

  • Thanks for the detailed tuto. I'm going to investigate the boot process on my machine in light of this tuto, but to be honest, I'm not very optimistic, because my laptop dead-blink when booting most linux live USB key, while your tuto mostly deal with issues regarding installation process - but I can't get to this point. There seems to be a real issue with grub on this laptop, but your answer is indeed helpful, thanks ! – xtof54 Aug 7 '18 at 18:12
  • Some laptops with discrete graphics also need an additional boot parameter nomodeset but I haven't dealt with one of those recently. – GabrielaGarcia Aug 8 '18 at 10:11
  • Nope, ubuntu live boots, but it fails to install grub2 - which is an issue that is not covered by the tutorial, and I fear it's really related to this specific laptop - (I've installed dual boots many times before on other computers). That's why I was looking to alternatives to grub, and I'm sorry, but installing linux in dual boot mode does not look like a solved problem, for me, it looks like the situation is getting worse, probably voluntarily :-( – xtof54 Aug 8 '18 at 16:55
  • You're probably booting in legacy mode. In such mode the installer expects a MBR where to install the bootloader (Grub). Windows in UEFI mode requires GPT, no MBR, and the bootloader is installed in the EFI partition. Please check that and try to understand how UEFI works. The solution is not an alternative to Grub and neither applying solutions for older systems, the ones you're used to, I guess. – GabrielaGarcia Aug 8 '18 at 17:01
  • I was not booting in legacy model; actually legacy is not supported by the laptop. But you are right: I'm more familiar with old systems ;-) and as you said the problem was not about grub, it was about installing grub, which always fails for whatever reason. So following your advice, I've mounted the EFI partition and edited the grub.cfg there manually, and now it works, dual-boot. Thanks ! – xtof54 Aug 9 '18 at 5:39

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