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Old 05-10-2013, 03:01 AM   #1
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Is it safe to install linux on my laptop and be able to revert to factory settings?


I want to dual boot on my Sony VAIO which has Windows 8 preinstalled on it. This installation of Windows allows me to return the laptop to its factory settings using some preinstalled software from VAIO. I would like to know if installing linux mint alongside windows 8 is going to destroy the ability to return it back to factory settings if I change my mind about the dual boot.

I have an issue with the partitioning screen here too...
I have attached a picture of what I see on the partitioning screen. As you can see there are no drives listed. What can I do to partition the drive? Is it safe to proceed with the instalation.

I am very concerned because the laptop wasn't cheap.
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File Type: png Screenshot from 2013-05-10 07:42:55.png (28.3 KB, 24 views)
Old 05-10-2013, 04:27 AM   #2
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Normally, it's OK, but you generally need to keep in mind the type of disk controller.

ahci or ide.

sometimes it won't boot.

Hope this helps, Glenn
Old 05-10-2013, 05:02 PM   #3
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I would suggest that you consider using a free virtual machine. It is really the most safe way I know if your system has enough resources.

Second would be to learn and understand how the company provides for you to recover the system. If you need to make or buy disc's then you need to right now. The other issue is backup. Be sure to consider making your own clone or backup by some means. Even a NTbackup or Windows backup (virtual machine image) would be a start. Learn how to recover your system before you need to do it.

Most of these new systems are not really easy for newbie's to fool with. There is help for some of that on the Ubuntu and maybe Mint web help pages.

Last edited by jefro; 05-10-2013 at 05:06 PM.
Old 05-10-2013, 06:04 PM   #4
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Usually a laptop has one or more partitions holding the recovery software. You can recognize them because these are smaller in size than the ordinary Windows and Data partitions. You should leave those recovery partitions alone. The installer should offer your the option to resize one of those partitions.

Since it does not, you should not proceed with the installation like this as it is likely that you will make irreversible changes.

I almost never say this, but you could try a different distribution to see if it does recognize the existing disk and partitions.

Again, the only option you could take is to shrink one of the Windows partitions and put Linux there. No complete repartitioning from scratch, no deleting of partitions.

You could also download a live distro and see if the Vaio operates on that and recognize the partitions. It doesn't completely solve your problem but it is informative and may help you to decide whether you proceed or not.

Old 05-13-2013, 10:40 AM   #5
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Using the built-in restore capability is typically a long and painful process. I wouldn't, even for a moment, consider it a viable way to do dual booting. If you don't want to shrink the Windows filesystem and repartition to make space for Linux, a better alternative would be to use clonezilla (or similar) to save the Windows partition to an external device. Restoring the old contents from that device will be a lot faster than restoring to the original factory configuration, and you keep all the Windows updates that have been installed since you got the machine.
Old 05-13-2013, 11:36 AM   #6
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Is there an option to make installation media? If yes, do so.
Old 05-13-2013, 02:35 PM   #7
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My point was to know how to fix it or don't get into a situation that needs a fix.

If you need windows and you are unsure of your skills then don't dual boot.

In any case, if you use linux or windows or whatever, you need to know how to restore it now before it is broken. I have reloaded OS's for decades. There are some fast ways around it if you use applications. Many modern computers have some way to recover the OS to factory state. If that data is on a partition and you delete it, you will have to buy media if it is even available.
Old 05-16-2013, 07:37 AM   #8
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Progress update


I have managed to create a new 128 GB partition using windows built-in disk management utility. This partition shows up as a drive when I do a live boot of Ubuntu. However, it still doesn't show up in the partition tables during install and also when I click on the icon for the drive it says "operation not permitted.

In the windows disk management, I shrunk the current C partition by 128 GB. Then I turned it into a new simple volume which was the only choice, then I had the option to format it as NTFS or exFAT I tried NTFS first and when that failed I tried exFAT and that also failed. When I run `fdisk -l` I get no results.

I am booting ubuntu off a live usb. How can I get the installation of ubuntu to recognise that there is this 128 GB partition available to install to?
Old 05-16-2013, 11:31 AM   #9
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If you are trying to install Ubuntu, you will need to use a Linux filesystem and the default for a current Ubuntu is ext4. ntfs and fat32 are not going to work. You need to prefix the fdisk command with sudo in a terminal in windows: sudo fdisk -l (Lower case Letter L in the command).
Old 05-16-2013, 01:40 PM   #10
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Sometimes it's just easier to leave free space & let ubuntu format the free space
Old 05-16-2013, 02:20 PM   #11
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Problem solved, I hope

I used the windows disk management utility to get back the 128 GB that I had set aside. Then I used my live USB to boot into Ubuntu. Then I used gparted to shrink the volume instead and then also to format as ext4. Now when I try to install it asks me if I want to install alongside windows. I will do this and let you know if this works. This is a problem I see a lot of people having with UEFI devices and no one seems to have a solution. This could be it.
Old 05-16-2013, 02:33 PM   #12
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I have a new problem

The installation was successful and the laptop now boots into Ubuntu. The problem is... when I try to boot into windows I get an error saying...

error: can't find command `drivemap'.
error: invalid EFI file path.

Press any key to continue...
When I press a key I am returned to the GRUB menu

Any Ideas?
Old 05-16-2013, 02:48 PM   #13
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I thinks it's because you used GParted to shrink a partition that Windows was currently using.
I've always had issues with that; last time I tried it, it corrupted my old Windows system.

Granted that was back in the time of Windows XP, but it did cause me hassle.
Windows back then didn't like other software touching it's partition
I guess it liked it's own software so that it can keep track and move files as you're shrinking it.

It has been many years since then, and they have included built in partitioning tools even into the 'home' editions.
So this may not be an issue anymore.

I believe you should have left the 128GB you left aside, by using Window's built in partitioning tool.
Then using GParted or another portioning tool to format the 128GB into ext4, or even blank/unallocated.
(which was what seemed to be what others were advising)

Then allow Ubuntu use that free space — it would detect it.

This is a chance you've corrupted the Windows partition in someway — even if it's just the Windows boot.
I hope this is not the case, and that fixing the drivemap error would restore your ability to boot into Windows.

Ubuntu should have the ability to detect and mount your Windows partition, and be able to access the files.
Can you do this? Try and access your files on Windows. If you can do this, it's unlikely you've corrupted the data.
Old 05-16-2013, 04:02 PM   #14
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Solved at last :) :)

After installing Ubuntu 13.04 alongside Windows 8 and finding I got that error message above when trying to boot into windows. So I paste the error message into google (as you do) and found a thread about manually editing the grub.cnf file. I was scared to do that because my bash skills are very limited. So I looked at the related topics section and saw a link to another thread.

It recommended these steps.

1. Boot from live USB
2. Connect to the internet.
3. Open a terminal...
4. Type the following commands...
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install boot-repair boot-sav
5. A GUI pops up and scans the system, and then gives you the option to automatically repair and manually repair
6. Choose auto repair
7. Reboot the machine

The GRUB menu appeared with new options

As well as Windows 8 (loader) there was also now a Windows 8 UEFI (loader) and the equivalent for the recovery

I selected that and windows booted without an issue.

Thanks to everyone here who provided me with the clues I needed on my quest to dual boot my Sony VAIO.
2 members found this post helpful.
Old 05-16-2013, 04:07 PM   #15
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Don't forget to mark thread as solved, also since you used install along side of windows, check your disk space & see if you have unused partitions.


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