Want to install openSUSE 12.3 on a new Windows 8 PC, hangs at "Loading initial ramdisk" on DVD boot

Hi,

First off a warning, I am a complete novice at this - this is the first time ever I’ve tried myself to set up a dual/multiple boot machine, and to install Linux and in particular openSUSE.
I got myself a shinny new Compaq PC (CQ2940EA) yesterday. It’s 64-bit, Intel Pentium, Intel graphics card, nothing fancy, with Windows 8.
My goal was to set it up for dual boot with openSUSE 12.3 (keeping Windows 8).
I found a seemingly good TweakHound article to guide me, Dual-Boot openSUSE 12.3 And Windows » TweakHound, and got going. I downloaded the 64-bit ISO from software.opensuse.org: Download openSUSE 12.3, checked the MD5 hash value (all correct), burnt it to a DVD (4x speed), checked the DVD for its content (seemed ok), shrunk my C: drive’s partition, and rebooted my PC, to boot from the DVD drive.
I see the GRUB screen flash by (“Welcome to GRUB!”), then get an initial screen similar to what TweakHound captured, but only with “Installation”, “Rescue System”, and “Check Installation Media” available (no “Firmware Test” etc., no Boot Options or function keys choices visible). I select “Installation”.
I then see a nice wallpaper with a console-like window in the middle, which tells me:
“Loading kernel …” (a pause of a few seconds or so)
“Loading initial ramdisk …”
“_” (the cursor)

And that’s it. Nothing moves anymore. Nothing blinks on the screen. Even the keyboard’s lights are dead. The only thing that works is the power switch. Just to make sure, I waited for 2 and a half hours before powering off.

I’ve tried the other options available from the initial screen, e.g. “Check Installation Media”, but I get exactly the same result (not surprisingly, since according to the cfg file I think I found, all these options start by doing the same things).

I rooted around the forums to find anything about things locking up after “Loading initial ramdisk”, and found a few, but none seem to relate to a boot from an installation DVD (unless I missed it, of course).

Is it something wrong with my PC? Is it something wrong with the DVD? The PC is brand new, I wouldn’t have expected that there could be any problem. I’ve checked for firmware updates and everything seems to be in order (weirdly enough, the DVD drive firmware claims to be from 2006, and I found an update claiming to be from 2013 for Windows 8, but its installation reports to me that my “system doesn’t meet the minimum requirements for this update.”).

Given that I’m trying to install, and that I’m booting from the installation DVD, what can I do?

Thanks for your help.

I’m sorry to hear that you are having problems.

I’ll try to help.

Since you purchased a new box with Windows 8, it almost certainly has UEFI firmware and secure-boot. Microsoft is requiring that for new computers.

First, you will have to ignore that TweakHound page. What they describe will not work with UEFI. I’m not sure what they were thinking when they wrote that. I suggest you look at:
Dual boot opensuse 12.3 and Windows 8 on a UEFI box
I wrote that for people with some opensuse experience, so it may not give as much detail as you would like. But it will at least give you an idea of what to expect.

You have already shrunk the Windows partition to free up some space. That’s good.

The opening screen was not what you expected. That’s also good, because it means that you managed to boot the DVD in UEFI mode. Yes, the screen is a bit limited. UEFI is a little new, and linux people are still working out the best way. That’s true about all linux distros.

The lockup you are seeing is going to make things a bit tricky.

I have three computers with Intel graphics. One of them has Intel IvyBridge graphics, and I have not had any lockups with that. Another is an older computer, and no lockups there either. But the third has Intel SandyBridge graphics, and I do occasion have lockups with that. It is not very frequent, perhaps because I have learned to configure it to reduce the chance of lockups.

The chances are that your lockups are related to your graphics card. It could be something else, in which case I have no experience with it. So I’ll write this assuming that it’s the graphics card.

If it is the graphics card, then you will be able to boot the DVD into the installer if you use “nomodeset” on the kernel command line. On a non-UEFI system, you just hit F3 on the boot screen. But that option won’t be available to you because it is UEFI. So adding “nomodeset” is a bit tricky for the novice.

I’m going to post this incomplete response now. Then I’ll check booting the installer with “nomodeset” on my UEFI box, and make a few notes. And then I’ll post another message to this thread with as simple an explanation as I can come up with.

Booting the 12.3 install DVD with nomodeset on a UEFI box

Okay, I’m back again.

You have already mention that you get to the grub boot screen, with three entries, the first being for “Installation”.

With the cursor on the “Installation” entry, hit the “e” key on your keyboard.

You should see an edit window with around 5 lines of commands on it.

The third line of that block of 5 lines should read:


linuxefi /boot/x86_64/loader/linux

Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move the cursor to the end of that line. Then type in a space and the word “nomodeset”. The line should then be:


linuxefi /boot/x86_64/loader/linux nomodeset

When you are satisfied that you have it typed correctly, hit F10. That should boot you into the installer. Hopefully the system won’t lock up. However, the graphics will be a bit crappy. But better crappy graphics than a system freeze.

I’ll post another message with detail you’ll need after you get into the installer.

Okay, the next installment.

I’m quoting one line from your original post because that helps keep the messages threaded properly, depending on how you are reading them.

Once you have booted into the installer, then things are mostly similar to a non-UEFI install. So I’ll just make a few comments on where things are different. I’ll assume that you are still looking at that TweakHound page. And what it gets wrong is mostly the booting part, because that is what changes for UEFI.

Firstly, the partitioning.

The partition will recommend partitioning for you. As part of that recommendation, it will want to mount a partition at “/boot/efi”. It will probably want to mount “/dev/sda1” there, though it could be a different existing partition. This is part of what is needed for UEFI, so do not change that.

Later, in that TweakHound guide, it tells you to get into the Booting page. You will still need to do that, but that page will look a little different.

You should see the BootLoader listed as “GRUB2-EFI” (rather than the “GRUB2” on the TweakHound image). Leave it there as “GRUB2-EFI”. That is what you will need.

You will not see any “Boot Loader Location” options. Instead, you will see a single “Secure Boot” option. The option will be worded something like “Enable Secure Boot Support”. Make sure that you check that box.

That’s it for the booting section. And that it for my install guide.

I’ll post one more message on what to expect after install.

Once you have installed, the computer should be able to boot. It should come up with a Grub boot menu. You will have to use that. As far as I can tell, there is no way of getting EasyBCD to add a boot entry to the Windows boot manager on a UEFI box.

The boot menu will include a line for booting windows. So you will still be able to boot into Windows.

Here’s a problem that you might have:

Some people are finding that after they boot into Windows, then they can no longer boot into linux. It will appear as if Windows has erased the grub booting setup, and put its own there. It isn’t really the fault of Windows, though they might deserve some of the blame. This behavior is mostly due to the BIOS. It happens on my system with a Dell BIOS. I don’t have an HP system, so I am not sure whether it will happen there.

If you do run into that problem, post back to this thread or send me a PM (message) if you can work out how to send such message through the forum. There seems to be an easy way around that problem, but I prefer not to suggest it if your BIOS does not need it.

And one more point - the crappy graphics that you will get due to using “nomodeset”. I’m not sure you can avoid that. It depends on how likely your box is to freeze up without it. And, incidentally, you will have the same problem with any linux distro, because all distros are using the same graphics drivers. If you want to discuss that issue further, wait till you have your system installed and otherwise working. And then open a new thread on that topic with a suggestive title.

phylasnier wrote:

>
> Hi,
>
> First off a warning, I am a complete novice at this - this is the first
> time ever I’ve tried myself to set up a dual/multiple boot machine, and
> to install Linux and in particular openSUSE.
> I got myself a shinny new Compaq PC (CQ2940EA) yesterday. It’s 64-bit,
> Intel Pentium, Intel graphics card, nothing fancy, with Windows 8.
> My goal was to set it up for dual boot with openSUSE 12.3 (keeping
> Windows 8).
> I found a seemingly good TweakHound article to guide me, ‘Dual-Boot
> openSUSE 12.3 And Windows » TweakHound’ (http://tinyurl.com/cckzjv7),
> and got going. I downloaded the 64-bit ISO from ‘software.opensuse.org:
> Download openSUSE 12.3’ (http://software.opensuse.org/123/en), checked
> the MD5 hash value (all correct), burnt it to a DVD (4x speed), checked
> the DVD for its content (seemed ok), shrunk my C: drive’s partition, and
> rebooted my PC, to boot from the DVD drive.
> I see the GRUB screen flash by (“Welcome to GRUB!”), then get an
> initial screen similar to what TweakHound captured, but only with
> “Installation”, “Rescue System”, and “Check Installation Media”
> available (no “Firmware Test” etc., no Boot Options or function keys
> choices visible). I select “Installation”.
> I then see a nice wallpaper with a console-like window in the middle,
> which tells me:
> “Loading kernel …” (a pause of a few seconds or so)
> “Loading initial ramdisk …”
> “_” (the cursor)
>
> And that’s it. Nothing moves anymore. Nothing blinks on the screen.
> Even the keyboard’s lights are dead. The only thing that works is the
> power switch. Just to make sure, I waited for 2 and a half hours before
> powering off.
>
> I’ve tried the other options available from the initial screen, e.g.
> “Check Installation Media”, but I get exactly the same result (not
> surprisingly, since according to the cfg file I think I found, all these
> options start by doing the same things).
>
> I rooted around the forums to find anything about things locking up
> after “Loading initial ramdisk”, and found a few, but none seem to
> relate to a boot from an installation DVD (unless I missed it, of
> course).
>
> Is it something wrong with my PC? Is it something wrong with the DVD?
> The PC is brand new, I wouldn’t have expected that there could be any
> problem. I’ve checked for firmware updates and everything seems to be in
> order (weirdly enough, the DVD drive firmware claims to be from 2006,
> and I found an update claiming to be from 2013 for Windows 8, but its
> installation reports to me that my “system doesn’t meet the minimum
> requirements for this update.”).
>
> Given that I’m trying to install, and that I’m booting from the
> installation DVD, what can I do?
>
> Thanks for your help.
> –

I run into that fairly often, especially booting from DVD or USB. I have
seen the problem go away after several reboots. Normally, the grub menu
comes up and then the hang occurs once I select the system to boot. One
thing that has always (so far) worked is to select the advanced options and
boot that. Once you do that, all the options then seem to work from that
point on. I haven’t figured out why, but it does.


Will Honea

And one more point - the crappy graphics that you will get due to using “nomodeset”. I’m not sure you can avoid that. It depends on how likely your box is to freeze up without it. And, incidentally, you will have the same problem with any linux distro, because all distros are using the same graphics drivers. If you want to discuss that issue further, wait till you have your system installed and otherwise working. And then open a new thread on that topic with a suggestive title.

Hi nrickert,

First of all, thanks for the excellent instructions and write-up. Thanks also to whonea/Will for chipping in, although I’m sad to report that my problem is not intermittent - it’s permanent, and seemingly terminal.

Right, back to your instructions nrickert. I’m afraid that nothing worked. I found the “e” command to be able to set parameters, and dutifully entered “nomodeset”, but everything still hangs in the same place.
Having found that there seemed to have been a problem with my DVD (when re-burning with verification on; the verification failed), I got some more, and burnt a new one (this time the verification passed). Trying to boot with that DVD made no difference - still hanging. If there was a problem with the image on the first DVD, it was obviously beyond that.

As clarification, my new PC is UEFI; you were correct. However, I obviously can’t even get to point where I could try to apply the rest of your instructions, re post-installation.

As well as getting new DVDs, I also got a Kingston USB 3.0/2.0 16GB drive, and I’m just using ImageWriter to burn the ISO to that (instead of a DVD).
NB: I used unetbootin first, but that was a complete failure. Unetbootin hung while trying to transfer the ISO file. I also tried by letting it download openSUSE 11 64-bit and burning that, but then when I rebooted (USB hard disk first in the boot list), I got a “ERROR: No boot disk has been detected or the disk has failed”.

I am just rebooting now, after ImageWriter completed successfully, with the USB drive connected, to see if it works any better…

Nope. I’m still getting “ERROR: No boot disk has been detected or the disk has failed”.

So what, have I also got a duff USB drive?! Man, this is driving me nuts, and I haven’t even got to the point where I can install!

Wait. I tried again, after having moved the USB drive from one USB socket to the one next to it, and I almost instantly got the GRUB screen. The display is different though. I got a different “Welcome to GRUB” flashing message, and the GRUB screen is ‘bigger’ (fonts, console window). Clicked “e” on “Installation”, and entered “nomodeset”.

…still no joy. Still hung PC, dead PC (no keyboard light working), right after “Loading initial ramdisk …”.

That PC really doesn’t like openSUSE or GRUB or whatever.

I did wonder about that happening. If it is a video problem, there is usually some activity - the DVD seeking.

You evidently have some hardware for which there is no driver, or which is causing an interrupt conflict. That’s hard to diagnose, particularly when there is no output to indicate what the problem might be.

At the moment, I don’t have any good suggestions. Perhaps someone else will chime in with some ideas.

At the moment, I don’t have any good suggestions. Perhaps someone else will chime in with some ideas.

I hope so too. The PC is really hung solid - screen frozen, no drive activity (be it the DVD drive or the USB stick), keyboard dead…
I’m still puzzled as to why the screen appears to use a different resolution (lower when booting from the USB stick) and/or be subtly different, but that’s secondary.

I suppose it wouldn’t help if I tried to use a virtual machine instead?

Another thing I’ll try tomorrow is install an older version of openSUSE. What would be good, a 11.x version? I definitively need a 64-bit version.

12.2 is the only other version currently being supported. 11.4 can be supported by Tumbleweed

I tried 11.4 today, but that goes even less far than 12.3, because of the secure boot feature of the new Windows 8 PC. I don’t really want to tinker with that, it’s not worth the risk.
(I know that 12.3 has been set up to work with secure boot, but that’s still very fresh, and I also know that 11.4 definitively didn’t have it.)
I’m giving up guys, just add Compaq CQ2940EA to the list of machines that openSUSE 12.3 doesn’t like one bit :frowning:
Thanks for all the help!

12.3 is the first opensuse version to support secure-boot. I think UEFI support goes back to at least 12.1, but secure-boot is new.

Disabling secure-boot in the BIOS won’t actually cause problems. Whether that would be enough to boot 11.4, I don’t know. The older the version, the more likely that you have hardware which it doesn’t recognize.

My suggestion. Try a few recent live distros - Fedora 18 and recent Ubuntu (I think it’s 13.04) both support secure-boot. Just see if the live system can be booted and run from the CD/DVD/USB (whatever). If you can’t at least run the live system, then you will have problems.

phylasnier wrote:

>
> gogalthorp;2563203 Wrote:
>> 12.2 is the only other version currently being supported. 11.4 can be
>> supported by Tumbleweed
> I tried 11.4 today, but that goes even less far than 12.3, because of
> the secure boot feature of the new Windows 8 PC. I don’t really want to
> tinker with that, it’s not worth the risk.
> (I know that 12.3 has been set up to work with secure boot, but that’s
> still very fresh, and I also know that 11.4 definitively didn’t have
> it.)
> I’m giving up guys, just add Compaq CQ2940EA to the list of machines
> that openSUSE 12.3 doesn’t like one bit :frowning:
> Thanks for all the help!

I’ve got an HP Envy with the AMI secure BIOS. Since HP owns Compaq, it
should use pretty much the same BIOS so maybe some of tyhe quirks I’ve found
will be useful.

First, W8 seems to get indigestion with an MBR style disk in the mix - no
big loss. I had no problem installing either 11.4 or 12.3 (or 13.1 ms1, for
that matter) onto the MBR disk. 11.4 boots from that disk with Grub in the
MBR - no problem. Be aware that the GPT disk is NOT available to you from a
system booted in legacy mode.

nrickert suggested booting (in legacy mode) from some live CD distros. I
hadn’t thought about it but when I saw that I tried and sure enough some
accumulated live distros I have back thru 11.1-i586 32 bit booted. Not very
useful because too much hardware in this box is not useable that far back -
but it did boot.


Will Honea
whonea@whonea.net

Hi nrickert,

just to say that I experience the same problem as the OP. I tried to install openSUSE 12.3 from DVD on a new DELL inspiron 14z 5423.

If I boot the DVD in UEFI mode, the installation hangs on the line “Loading initial ramdisk”.

If I boot the DVD in legacy mode, then the installation DVD continues normally.

I would like to create a Windows 8 / openSUSE 12.3 dual boot system.

What are my options?

Many thanks!