Linux experience on Acer S7 (UEFI, RAID)

Hi folks,

let me share some experience on installing Linux on Acer S7 laptop. It usually has Win8.1 or Win10 pre-installed but I don’t like that OS.

So here is the history of Linux on that laptop.

Linux Mint Cinnamon

Prerequisites

This laptop has UEFI and RAID (also known as Intel Smart Response Technology, SRT). We need to turn it off before installing:

  • if Windows is still installed, disable Fast Startup: Control PanelPower OptionsChange settings that are currently unavailable → uncheck appropriate checkbox;
  • go to BIOS: F2 (ok, Fn-2 for this laptop) right after the booting logo splash;
  • disable QuickBoot/FastBoot;
    • you’ll need to set the Supervisor password, then disable QuickBoot/FastBoot, then unset the Supervisor password. Last step is optional but what will you do if you forget it?
  • disable RAID (I set HDD mode to AHCI, that work fine).
    After the installation you will turn it back on.
  • I disabled UEFI (turned bios to Legacy mode).
    You can try to install Linux using UEFI.
  • If the system is unable to boot from flash drive, either press F12 (well, Fn-= on Acer S7), or set up appropriate boo device order in BIOS.

At this point I expect you to have the Linux installation flash drive ready.

Installation

Nothing special during the installation if you have installed Linux at least once. If not β€” just follow simple wizard (language, timezone, etc.). I installed Linux as single OS so I removed all the partitions from all the disks during the installation.
Some peculiarities here:

  • if you experience errors after handling partitions in installer wizard, quit it and do all the partition things via Gparted (it’s included to try-and-install image);
  • if you see the error "Unable to set up partition /dev/sda5" (your path may vary, the swap partition), just merge all the partitions together (with no swap); you’ll set up the swap on your live system.

Very important point, after wizard is finished, do not remove the flash drive immediately, let the system reboot by following all the on-screen instructions.
If you miss this point (premature flash drive removal), both /vmlinuz and initrd.img will be empty and system will boot into GRUB rescue mode.

So you let the system to reboot and go straight to BIOS. Turn HDD back to RAID mode and make sure the boot device order is correct.

Troubleshooting

If the system does not boot to GUI but shows the GRUB, do following:

  • boot again with Linux installation flash drive but not install it, and
  • use Boot-Repair to fix it. Recommended repair usually is enough.
    • Linux Mint has issues with installing Boot-Repair. Better use another flash with Boot-Repair disk.

Now you should have bootable working system.

Distributives which I tried

I was tempted by elementary OS reviews. It looks really clean and beautiful. Until you run only pre-installed application only. Even Google Chrome’s window looks ugly.
Moreover, this distributive lack a lot of mid-level configuration (Control Panel).

Well, if you want something zero-config, pretty looking but not that flexible, try it. It really can catch you with how it looks like.

People say that Ubuntu works pretty fine. I believe there’s no need to pass the link to Ubuntu site here, he-he πŸ™‚

Personally I prefer Cinnamon over Unity so my weapon of choice is Linux Mint. It looks pretty clear and behaves snappy.


These instructions should work for other laptops with UEFI (and RAID). Please let me know if you have any issues or questions.

Peace!

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