Thursday, January 14, 2016

A New Laptop

Another laptop bites the dust.

(Updated Jan 31)

A few months ago my oldest laptop died an unnatural death. It was an Acer Aspire One about 6 years old.

I finally got tired of the other one freezing and complaining, so I went to town(Cebu, PH) and found a replacement. I had had good luck with the cheap Aspire Ones, so I just picked the best one Acer had in the market here.

Acer V3 15inch i7 8Gb 1Tb 2.4Ghz  -  V3-547G-77P6

It came with Windows 10 64bit. The hardest part about that was the decision of which Linux distribution to dual-boot with it. The Internet here is terribly slow, so the choice was limited, one year old LinuxMint 17.1 64bit, Ubuntu 14.04 32bit or Ubuntu 15.10 64bit.

It seems Windows 10 insists on EUFI type BIOS for boot configuration and boot loader. After a couple weeks I had upgraded the "BIOS" to the latest rev on Acer's support site, learned to select the next boot device from in Windows 10 menus, almost worn out the install media, re-partitioned the disk several ways and had working 14.04 and 15.10 on separate partitions alongside Windows.

The Acer barely acknowledges the F2(BIOS) and F12(boot order) soft-keys during post. After finding the Windows command to go to boot menu things got a lot less frustrating. Click Power then hold shift and click reboot for the F2 BIOS menu during boot, or pick the file to boot on the next power up.

I tried installing with the BIOS set to ignore EUFI, but then Windows10 would not boot.

The final answer is to upgrade the BIOS(to v1.31) from the default(v1.25) so it can boot a linux. Then install with EUFI enabled to secure mode and grub in the EUFI partiton, then in the BIOS set the grub file to be trusted, and there also set the boot order of the EUFI systems. Setting the boot order in Linux (efibootmgr -o 4,1 ) or in Windows 10 does not work.

I spent the next couple weeks doing all that system admin I had nearly forgotten. I installed VMware and VirtualBox. Then WindowsXP, Andy's HAM Radio, LinuxMint17.1-64bit as virtual machines. I also attempted to visualize the old Acer Aspire Windows 7 and LinuxMint physical drives into VMware, but got sidetracked about the time I realized I needed to do it from VMware instance installed in a Windows host OS.


I took it to the local Acer repair/warranty center in Cebu. Tomorrow I am to get it back and have the notes to correct the above procedures.