UEFI Boot only or BIOS locked and UEFI set

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[This page explains a solution in case a donated computer can only boot with UEFI or the BIOS is locked (password unknown) and UEFI is set as the boot option. If your computer can boot in legacy mode, you can skip this page].

Back in 2013/2014, there was a technical and legal discussion about SecureBoot and UEFI. The manufacturers argued that only UEFI boot on their computer provides security and therefore must only be used. However, the EU and NGOs went to court and the judges decided that the computer manufacturers had to re-open the BIOS settings so that users could choose whether to use the UEFI boot, the legacy boot (the "old" boot) or both as boot options. Computers that were produced before the "UEFI only" decision and after the old flexibility decision have no problem installing with Labtix and prepared Labdoo images.

However, if the computer was manufactured in the "UEFI only" period in 2013/2014, this may cause problems when installing a Lubuntu-based installation. Our Labdoo images are set up for legacy boot, not for UEFI boot (although Lubuntu could). We have described a solution for these specific UEFI-only machines here.

Another use case is a locked BIOS. A computer has been donated, but a BIOS password has not been removed and is unknown. If the boot option in the BIOS is set to "UEFI / Secure Boot Only" and cannot be switched to "Legacy Boot" because of the password lock, you can run the installation process described below and then use the computer for Labdoo.

If our solution is too difficult for you, please contact Labdoo helpers or hubs in your country / region and ask them for support.

You can use the installation tool Labtix (recommended, supports UEFI-Boot) or Parted Magic. PXE is not possible because you have to select certain options during the installation process and PXE does not allow access to these settings.

The installation sequence is rough:

  • First install a small Xubuntu based image via cloning in a partition (Xubuntu is able to UEFI boot); a prepared image is available on FTP server http://ftp.labdoo.org/download/install-disk/special_images/,
  • Next ,install in a second partition of one of our Labdoo images with slightly different settings than usual.
  • Change the grub boot file.
  • After that, the system will boot and a user will not even notice that this is a special "UEFI only" laptop.
  • This solution only works for 80 GB disc-drives or bigger.

So here are the steps in details:

  1. Download the special UEFI-Boot image, available on our FTP-Server http://ftp.labdoo.org/download/install-disk/special_images/ and copy it to a local USB-drive or any local server.
  2. Start Labtix, run the Clonezilla tool (icon on the Labtix desktop) and make the drive with the special UEFI image available - Important: Use "expert mode" and "restoredisk", mark the option -icds . For experts: Or install Xubuntu (I think all other UEFI based * buntu do it too) in UEFI mode on the device.
  3. If you use the prepared UEFI image, the size of the partition sda2 is set to 80 GB by default. A Labdoo image for 80 GB fits. If you want to install an image for a 160 GB or 250 GB hard drive, you have to enlarge the partition sda2 with GParted.
  4. Shut down the computer and restart it with Labtix.
  5. Start Clonezilla to replace sda2(!) of the installed UEFI-Boot image / Xubuntu by replacing "restoreparts" with sda1 of the Labdoo-image you want to install. Make sure you choose the target-partition sda2 when asked and the "-icds"-option in "Clonezilla advanced extra parameters". Make sure the option "-k Do NOT create a partition table..." is checked.
  6. After installing sda2, use GParted to maximize sda2. Check if the "boot"- and "esp"-flags are set to sda1. To retrieve the UUID of sda2 right-click on it and select "Information". Mark the UUID and copy it with "Ctrl" + "C" to the clipboard.
  7. Edit /EFI/ubuntu/grub.cfg in the EFI-bootpartition ( usually sda1, the small partition with 512MB ) with the editor Geany and replace the given UUID with the UUID of sda2 you copied by GParted. E.g. open SpaceFM -> sda1 -> navigate to /EFI/ubuntu/grub.cfg -> right mouse click -> open > Geany editor -> in line 1 you will see a UUID -> mark and paste the new UUID from the clipboard. Don't forget to save the file before closing Geany editor.
  8. Shut down and restart the computer. Now it should start in UEFI mode and users will see the Labdoo login after a short time.

This description is very technical, but it works. If you know a simpler solution, please feel free to contact us.
A special thank you goes to helpers from hub Rhein-Ruhr (Germany) for noticing and solving this specific problem.


Continue reading to the next page:
Sanitation Guide: PXE Over the Network


Go back to read the previous page:
Installed tools for Labtix