How To Get Ubuntu To Work With UEFI

UEFI is a topic of hot conversation at the moment with the release of Windows 8 and it’s requirement to have UEFI enabled devices for Microsoft certification. Lucky for me none of my devices are UEFI enabled, well not until today anyway. My main workhorse is a HP Envy Sleekbook 6 and it had to go back to HP to have the keyboard repaired.

Today the courier posted my laptop back, I swiftly replaced the 500GB HDD with my 128GB SSD containing all of my data and of course Ubuntu. I got the usual GRUB screen, selected Ubuntu only to find a blank screen. After a number of reboots I decided to take a look in the machines BIOS settings just in case the engineer that replaced my keyboard had changed any settings. To my horror I found that they had flashed my BIOS and UEFI was now present and correct on my machine.

So after a little bit of research I managed to get my machine booting to Ubuntu 12.10 and I am writing this article on that very laptop. I’m not saying that this process will work for everyone with a new machine but it is the process that worked for me so it has to be worth a shot right?

Step One: Install Ubuntu

First of all you obviously need to have Ubuntu (or an Ubuntu derivative like PinguyOS, Mint or Elementary) installed. This is done in exactly the same way as usual. Either by a live CD or live USB. If you’re not sure how to do this then you can get more information on installing Ubuntu from their site. Once you have Ubuntu installed you will probably get a blank screen after the GRUB menu, just like I had. This brings us on to step two…

NOTE: If you already have Ubuntu installed like I did, then you do not need to re-install.

Step Two: Boot-Repair

Now that you have Ubuntu installed on our UEFI enabled machine you need to boot back into your live CD or live USB and install Boot-Repair.

Note: Boot-Repair will be removed from your live environment when you reboot if you don’t have persistence enabled. This is fine, it just means that you will need to install Boot-Repair every time you boot if you don’t have persistence enabled. To install Boot-Repair run the following commands in terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair && sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install -y boot-repair && boot-repair

Boot-Repair should then run automatically. If it doesn’t just search for “Boot-Repair” in the dash or navigate to System->Administration->Boot-Repair from the old fashioned system menu or simply type Boot-Repair in a terminal window. When Boot-Repair is running it will look like this:

All you need to do now is click on theRecommended repair” button and let Boot-Repair do it’s thing. Once it’s done, you will get a popup that says the process is complete and it will give you a URL that looks something like http://paste.ubuntu.com/123456. 

This URL is extremely important as it contains information about your boot record and machine so that if the process doesn’t work, you can post in a support for forum or email them for help. Simply quote the URL provided and they will have all they need to help you out.

I didn’t need to do any of that as the recommended repair fixed my machine and allowed me to boot in UEFI mode on my machine. If you’re worried about privacy then you can look at the output from my machine here. Within ten minutes of having the process worked out I have my machine booting back into Ubuntu even though UEFI is now enabled on my machine.

Conclusion

UEFI has been a big scary beast that has had a number of people in the Linux community worried for a very long time, but thanks to this fantastic tool you can carry on running Ubuntu on most modern laptops for years to come.

Are you running Ubuntu in a UEFI environment? Why not share your experiences by leaving a comment below or heading over to our forums.

How To Get Ubuntu To Work With UEFI
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