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Thread: Looking for advice on installing on UEFI desktop

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  1. #1
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    Default Looking for advice on installing on UEFI desktop

    I purchased a new desktop PC , as documented in this thread: https://forums.opensuse.org/showthre...light=hardware

    I'm looking for opinions on how to install an OS on this PC if UEFI/GPT is selected ?

    The PC comes with a 2 TB hard drive, and a 256 GB SSD drive, and without an operating system installed (at my request). The motherboard is a Gigabyte Z87X-D3H which supports UEFI.

    I'm thinking of puting on the 256GB SSD drive the following;

    • freedos - which may be possible per : https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/h.../msg00047.html
    • windows7 - it appears this may need to go on first , albeit I would prefer to install it later
    • openSUSE-13.1 ( / root partition)
    • openSUSE-TBD (some TBD milestone/beta release)
    • swap


    The 2 TB HD drive I plan to carve up into a couple of partitions to hold the /home (ie the data) for the openSUSE installs. I could also put partitions such as /var and /tmp on the 2 TB HD as part of an effort to reduce wear and tear on the SSD drive.

    My research into Windows7 failed to give me one case of where a PC with only GNU/Linux only in a UEFI/GPT setup (but with empty drive space/partition) had windows7 installed later. Every guide I found had Windows7 installed BEFORE openSUSE. I don't have Windows7 currently, and it may take a week or two to obtain in an inexpensive OEM version to install. Hence I would prefer to install it later, but this appears frought with risk/uncertainty (and hence Windows7 must be installed first). Opinions?

    Free Dos - has anyone actually succeeded in putting freedos on a UEFI/GPT system ?

    My SSD drive, although it has no partitions, is flagged as MBR. I'm I correct this is a simple matter to reflag it as GPT ?

    Here is some detail on the hardware (obtained by booting to a liveDVD) :


    and from fdisk -l
    Code:
    linux:/home/linux # fdisk -l
    
    Disk /dev/sdb: 256.1 GB, 256060514304 bytes, 500118192 sectors
    Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    Disk label type: dos
    Disk identifier: 0xa0f97c4b
    
       Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
    
    Disk /dev/sda: 2000.4 GB, 2000398934016 bytes, 3907029168 sectors
    Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 4096 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 4096 bytes / 4096 bytes
    I was curious if these were setup for gpt, so I tried gdisk:

    First the hard drive:
    Code:
    linux:/home/linux # gdisk -l /dev/sda
    GPT fdisk (gdisk) version 0.8.7
    
    Partition table scan:
      MBR: not present
      BSD: not present
      APM: not present
      GPT: not present
    
    Creating new GPT entries.
    Disk /dev/sda: 3907029168 sectors, 1.8 TiB
    Logical sector size: 512 bytes
    Disk identifier (GUID): 1E15EA18-90C0-419B-B2F6-DDF9EF154E9C
    Partition table holds up to 128 entries
    First usable sector is 34, last usable sector is 3907029134
    Partitions will be aligned on 2048-sector boundaries
    Total free space is 3907029101 sectors (1.8 TiB)
    
    Number  Start (sector)    End (sector)  Size       Code  Name
    and then the SSD drive:
    Code:
    linux:/home/linux # gdisk -l /dev/sdb
    GPT fdisk (gdisk) version 0.8.7
    
    Partition table scan:
      MBR: MBR only
      BSD: not present
      APM: not present
      GPT: not present
    
    
    ***************************************************************
    Found invalid GPT and valid MBR; converting MBR to GPT format
    in memory. 
    ***************************************************************
    
    Disk /dev/sdb: 500118192 sectors, 238.5 GiB
    Logical sector size: 512 bytes
    Disk identifier (GUID): D709EEE3-CA60-49FA-8AC1-ABA4427C27DF
    Partition table holds up to 128 entries
    First usable sector is 34, last usable sector is 500118158
    Partitions will be aligned on 2048-sector boundaries
    Total free space is 500118125 sectors (238.5 GiB)
    
    Number  Start (sector)    End (sector)  Size       Code  Name

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on installing on UEFI desktop

    Quote Originally Posted by oldcpu View Post
    My SSD drive, although it has no partitions, is flagged as MBR. I'm I correct this is a simple matter to reflag it as GPT ?
    I booted the PC to a gparted liveCD and it appears it will be easy to change the SSD to a GPT ... I note this:


    [click on the image above for a larger image view]

    and for the interested, this is what I see on the 2 TB hard drive:

    [click on the image above for a larger image view]


    So I think I now need to decide if I carve up the HD/SSD the way I want and then install openSUSE now, or if I wait until I have Windows7, install that, and only then install openSUSE. ... < thinking > ... I still have not decided if I want to put Windows7 on this PC. For certain openSUSE is going on the PC.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on installing on UEFI desktop

    Quote Originally Posted by oldcpu View Post
    So I think I now need to decide if I carve up the HD/SSD the way I want and then install openSUSE now, or if I wait until I have Windows7, install that, and only then install openSUSE. ... < thinking > ... I still have not decided if I want to put Windows7 on this PC. For certain openSUSE is going on the PC.
    How about if you were to install openSUSE now.

    Then, if and when you decide to put W7 on it, you back up all your system first.

    After W7 is on, if you can't get things to work properly in short order, follow up with another -- but basic -- install of openSUSE, then restore your root and home partitions from the backup of your working system?

    <thinking too>

    -fb
    -Gerry Makaro
    Fraser-Bell Info Tech
    Solving Tech Mysteries since the Olden Days!
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    If I helped you, consider clicking the Star at the bottom left of my post.

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    Default Re: Looking for advice on installing on UEFI desktop

    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser_Bell View Post
    How about if you were to install openSUSE now.
    I am very tempted to do that.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Looking for advice on installing on UEFI desktop

    Hi oldcpu.

    You might be interested reading this link.
    The key words are " protected MBR in a GPT"
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/libr.../gg463525.aspx

    Might give you some interesting hint to make the two world work.

    Edit:
    i am waiting for my SSD and HD this week and I will be following this thread
    for my installation as one of my references.
    People who do not break things first will never learn to create anything

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on installing on UEFI desktop

    Quote Originally Posted by conram View Post
    You might be interested reading this link.
    The key words are " protected MBR in a GPT"
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/libr.../gg463525.aspx

    Might give you some interesting hint to make the two world work.
    Thanks. Its an interesting read.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on installing on UEFI desktop

    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser_Bell View Post
    How about if you were to install openSUSE now.

    Then, if and when you decide to put W7 on it, you back up all your system first.

    After W7 is on, if you can't get things to work properly in short order, follow up with another -- but basic -- install of openSUSE, then restore your root and home partitions from the backup of your working system?
    Since I have not yet ordered Windows7 I decided for the moment to go with this approach. I do have all my data backed up already, so it does appear the easiest for now, and I confess to being impatient.

    If/when windows7 is ordered and the install DVD arrives, I'll simply repartition both HD and SSD and re-install.

    So yesterday I installed a 64-bit openSUSE-13.1 (with KDE desktop) on this PC.

    With UEFI firmware selection, I chose GPT partitioning for the SSD and the HD, and a did NOT choose a secure boot install. Prior to the installation I carved the SSD and HD with Gparted liveCD, and then during the install I pointed openSUSE installation to the correct partitions:

    On the 256GB SSD drive :

    • EFI partition (256 MB - FAT32)
    • / partition for root (98 GB, EXT4) <<<<<<<<<< where this is overkill - being far too large. But its only temporary
    • swap of 17GB <<<<<<<<<<<< where this is likely not needed. With 16GB of RAM I don't think one needs a swap. And I speculate this likely could have been on the HD instead of the SSD with no impact, as I can't see the swap being used ?
    • some extra empty partitions for other possible GNU/Linux installs



    On the 2 TB HD drive

    • 25 GB /var partition <<<<<<< likely far too large, but this is only temporary. I put the /var here to reduce writes on SSD drive.
    • 25 GB /tmp partition <<<<<<< likely far too large, but this is only temporary. I put the /tmp here to reduce writes on the SSD drive.
    • some extra empty 25 GB partitions for other possible GNU/Linux installs
    • 1.7 TB - / home partition for my current install



    The install went well. I installed from a USB stick and the copy to the SSD drive of the software part took about 4 minute and 25 seconds. Sound works. Graphics work. Internet / LAN access works. I'm currently trying out some rendering to obtain an assessment as to the speed improvement of the Core i7 4770 over my older Core i7 920.

    The USB-3.0 works well, with speeds of ~65MB/sec to ~90MB/sec attended when reading/writing from my external USB-3.0 hard drives.

    The /EFI partition has only /EFI/opensuse/grub64.efi inside.

    This will get more complex when I put other GNU/Linux on the PC and/or when I put Windows7 on the PC.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on installing on UEFI desktop

    Quote Originally Posted by oldcpu View Post
    I do have all my data backed up already, ...
    Heh! I knew you'd already have it backed up. In fact, I suspect multiple backups.



    -fb
    -Gerry Makaro
    Fraser-Bell Info Tech
    Solving Tech Mysteries since the Olden Days!
    ~~
    If I helped you, consider clicking the Star at the bottom left of my post.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Looking for advice on installing on UEFI desktop

    Dear oldcpu,

    Quote Originally Posted by oldcpu View Post
    Since I have not yet ordered Windows7 I decided for the moment to go with this approach. I do have all my data backed up already, so it does appear the easiest for now, and I confess to being impatient.
    Well, yes, you have your new hardware and want to see it work.
    I would be impatient as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by oldcpu View Post
    If/when windows7 is ordered and the install DVD arrives, I'll simply repartition both HD and SSD and re-install.
    'Simply' may not be true in this - in the sense of doing it just the same way.

    Quote Originally Posted by oldcpu View Post
    So yesterday I installed a 64-bit openSUSE-13.1 (with KDE desktop) on this PC.

    With UEFI firmware selection, I chose GPT partitioning for the SSD and the HD,
    easy task for openSUSE 13.1

    Quote Originally Posted by oldcpu View Post
    and a did NOT choose a secure boot install.
    Perhaps you're right.
    Maybe that Microsoft originally was trying to sell something as 'secure' in the weird sense,
    that no other system than windows can be booted.
    Linux now can boot on such a system,
    but that might not have been the original plot of the minds that invented 'secure boot'.

    The newer UEFI BIOS versions can even go online (on the internet) themselves,
    this means they can do that prior to any OS which may put in place some security mechanisms,
    which at the end of the day means a serious security threat - as long as e.g. Linux isn't running,
    which is a quite secure system, its security mechanisms just don't apply, because it isn't running yet.
    Simple.

    And secure boot as such, in my view, can not result in any plus of security,
    because it only prevents booting certain systems, instead of protecting
    the PC from possible worms from the internet imported by the BIOS as such being online.

    Quote Originally Posted by oldcpu View Post
    Prior to the installation I carved the SSD and HD with Gparted liveCD, and then during the install I pointed openSUSE installation to the correct partitions:

    On the 256GB SSD drive :

    • EFI partition (256 MB - FAT32)
    • / partition for root (98 GB, EXT4) <<<<<<<<<< where this is overkill - being far too large. But its only temporary
    • swap of 17GB <<<<<<<<<<<< where this is likely not needed. With 16GB of RAM I don't think one needs a swap. And I speculate this likely could have been on the HD instead of the SSD with no impact, as I can't see the swap being used ?
    • some extra empty partitions for other possible GNU/Linux installs



    On the 2 TB HD drive

    • 25 GB /var partition <<<<<<< likely far too large, but this is only temporary. I put the /var here to reduce writes on SSD drive.
    • 25 GB /tmp partition <<<<<<< likely far too large, but this is only temporary. I put the /tmp here to reduce writes on the SSD drive.
    • some extra empty 25 GB partitions for other possible GNU/Linux installs
    • 1.7 TB - / home partition for my current install



    The install went well. I installed from a USB stick and the copy to the SSD drive of the software part took about 4 minute and 25 seconds. Sound works. Graphics work. Internet / LAN access works. I'm currently trying out some rendering to obtain an assessment as to the speed improvement of the Core i7 4770 over my older Core i7 920.

    The USB-3.0 works well, with speeds of ~65MB/sec to ~90MB/sec attended when reading/writing from my external USB-3.0 hard drives.

    The /EFI partition has only /EFI/opensuse/grub64.efi inside.

    This will get more complex when I put other GNU/Linux on the PC and/or when I put Windows7 on the PC.
    I have an idea.
    In some early post in this thread you wrote that you would like to install freedos, right?
    (just say so, if this isn't your intention any longer).

    Do you have an external USB drive available on which there is no data?
    That may possibly even be an USB stick.

    If this drive isn't partitioned with MBR (not the likely case) do so.
    Then install freedos on it (that may even need FAT file system instead of NTFS).
    With secure boot disabled (or CSM enabled in an UEFI BIOS),
    freedos should boot from that.

    If this is the case, make a second test:

    Re-partition that drive with a GPT,
    format it,
    and then try to install freedos again.

    Does this work?
    Does it boot?

    This should give a clue.

    Good luck
    Mike
    Last edited by ratzi; 19-Jan-2014 at 15:30. Reason: 'new hardware' instead of just 'hardware'

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on installing on UEFI desktop

    Quote Originally Posted by ratzi View Post
    I have an idea.
    In some early post in this thread you wrote that you would like to install freedos, right?
    (just say so, if this isn't your intention any longer).

    Do you have an external USB drive available on which there is no data?
    That may possibly even be an USB stick.
    It never occurred to me to try to place freedos on a USB stick. That would be a fun test to try.

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