Laptops with BIOS rigged only for Windows Vista (Gateway PCS & others)
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Laptops with BIOS rigged only for Windows Vista (Gateway PCS & others)
A friend of mine who knows very little about Linux discovered his laptop Gateway Wifi computer, his source to the internet, has a BIOS program rigged so it's nearly impossible to wipe the hard drive and install another operating system, other than the Vista OEM, (I'm guessing).
I could only recommend that he finds some kind of BIOS flash program or tweak online or pull out and put back the CMOS battery.
I've never owned a laptop with a Wifi in my entire life, but was planning to buy one real soon.
He raised some very important questions about a situation that any rational person wants to avoid.
I'm sorry that I don't know the make and model and specs of his Gateway laptop. I'm linking this post to an email which is entirely up to him to read and volunteer any other information.
So my questions are as follows:
What can he do to modify the BIOS firmware so he can install either some better version of Windows or Ubuntu or some other distribution if anything?
What are some better laptop shopping recommendations?
Personally, I'd prefer a laptop with at least 2 hard dirves, where I wipe the Vista clean like the baby's dirty diaper that it is and clean install Ubuntu & a modified Windows XP, or dual boot the single hard drive with Ubuntu & a modified Windows XP.
Last edited by studpenguin; 11-03-2008 at 11:40 PM.
Reason: minor edits
WHOA!! Stop right there. There is NOT ONE "PC" maker that has a BIOS so locked
out you can't boot from another device. As long as you can boot from another
device you are free to run whatever you want. How well you can run it depends
on the hardware at hand what what support there is for the operating system you
intend to run.
These days "most" devices will work with linux. Your real challenge would be
getting everything on a laptop "designed for Vista" to work with XP.
As for laptops with 2 drives, typically (not always) you'll find that on 17"
models. Very very few 15.4" models have 2 bays and I've not see anything
smaller with more than one drive bay. Size and space become a limitation. You
can boot some operating systems off of other media as well such as a CD/DVD or
USB flash drive. It's just as easy to partition a drive to run dual (or more)
operating systems. Only thing to keep in mind, you generally want to install
any Microsoft OS first.
I agree with other posters that no manufacturer is really trying to block the linux community. It is either accidental or from lack of knowledge.
I know for a fact that BIOS vendors are NOT trying to cause troubles for the linux community. They go to a lot of effort to make their code correct.
Best ways to avoid buying a notebook with Linux issues (from easiest to hardest):
1) Buy a notebook with linux pre-installed.
2) Check manufacturers web site for linux drivers.
3) Buy a notebook with 1 year old Intel chipsets. In my experience, Intel chipsets are popular with notebook manufacturers, so they are popular with linux programmers, so they end up getting good support. At this point, anything with Intel Core 2 Duo, 965M chipset (Santa Rosa), Intel's GMA X3100 graphics, and Intel wireless is a good bet. I'm still having problems with my 45 series (Montevina based) notebook and Ubuntu.
4) Become a coding contributor to the linux community. Of course, this is for programmers, but if your notebook has troubles, you can work on the drivers yourself and make them work.
There is definitely some unfriendly hardware out there that seems to have been designed for Vista.
I have a friend that has spent a week now trying to reload a Sony VAIO Laptop with Windows XP Pro. The laptop originally came with Vista. He may get through the install of XP but when he restarts the system it simply shows him the Blue Screen of Death and fails. We even slipstreamed SP3 into a XP Pro Disc to see if that would help.. but still a total failure. can't even boot into safe mode after a seemingly successful install.
I was rather amazed that a manufacturer would use devices that only seemed happy with Vista (from all initial appearances). I'd love to get my hands on that laptop just to see if Linux would install and work.
so to the OP, Yes theres others out there that feel your pain, but it's more likely from new and unsupported hardware than any direct attempt at blocking you from installing Linux.
He may get through the install of XP but when he restarts the system it simply shows him the Blue Screen of Death and fails.
I have run into this problem a few times on newer devices. Customers don't like Vista and want to get back to XP. I find that if you change a setting with the SATA settings in the BIOS the problem goes away. Unfortunately not all BIOS are equal and some companies don't include the setting. Forgive me for getting the wrong order, but I believe the setting is ACHI. If you switch that to IDE it seems to run windows fine. Without it... BSOD!! Linux seems to have problems with the setting too. Though Linux will probably get around that if is hasn't already. Been a while since I installed Linux on a newer machine. XP forget about if you can't switch that setting.
I prefer to test run Linux on live CD's or USB drives (Ubuntu live, Knoppix or Puppy).
I really despise Vista with a passion and I'd like to retain the option of a Windows XP clean install from the modified versions of Windows XP I keep discovering. The Black Friday offers at Best Buy and other major retail vendors seem to all want to demand the Vista home edition every chance they get. F--- THAT ! IT SUCKS!
Thanks for your tips.
Last edited by studpenguin; 11-23-2008 at 11:03 PM.
Reason: minor petpeaves
I tend to doubt it's a BIOS problem other than changing the boot order to boot from the CD/DVD drive to install the new Linux OS (I recommend Ubuntu 8.10 or Ultimate Edition 2.0 (a tweaked ... basically rebuilt, actually ... Ubuntu 8.10 in hyper-drive.) You can then change the boot order back to original configuration ...
According to this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advance...ller_Interface
AHCI and XP are not compatable. XP and earlier versions of Linux came before SATA. ACHI and RAID settings are things that can be changed in a BIOS if there's a problem with an installation. Sometimes a BIOS update is advised.