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Old 05-04-2017, 10:14 AM   #1
m_yates
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HOWTO: Install Debian 9 on Lenovo Yoga 910 Laptop


I'm posting these steps to get Debian installed on a Lenovo Yoga 910 Laptop. Using Linux has never been easier, and installing Linux on a laptop has never been harder. Hopefully others will find this helpful.

The laptop is described here:

http://www3.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops.../p/88YG9000786

It is sold across the United States in retail Best Buy stores, among other places. Getting Debian (or any Linux distribution installed) is quite a challenge.
  1. I highly recommend first upgrading the BIOS using Windows 10 before doing anything else. The BIOS upgrade process is very Windows-centric. After Windows is removed, who knows if you will ever be able to upgrade the BIOS again without re-installing Windows.

  2. As of this writing, I see no method of dual booting Windows and Linux. Personally, I don't need Windows, but that may be a deal killer for some.

  3. To boot Linux, you must change BIOS settings. To edit the BIOS configuration, you have 3 choices:

    (a) Use Windows 10 recovery. Under "advanced". it will give you the option of restarting into the BIOS screen.

    (b) With the laptop powered off, press the small recessed button on the right side of the laptop. You will need a pen or paper clip to depress the button. This boots the machine directly into the BIOS.

    (c) With the laptop powered off, press the power button, then immediately hold down the Fn+F2 keys. The keys must be held down continuously together, not by tapping the F2 key.

    Under the "configuration" sub menu of the BIOS, change the disk drive setting from "Intel RST" to "AHCI". Make sure secure boot is disabled and USB booting is enabled. With the "AHCI" setting enabled, the laptop will not boot into Windows.

  4. I recommend getting a USB hub that provides extra USB ports and an ethernet connection. This laptop has only 1 USB port and no ethernet port. The WIFI card won't work in Linux without firmware, so installing Debian using a wired connection makes life easier. This is what I used:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...hps_bw_c_x_6_w

    but there are many other options.

  5. Create a bootable Debian USB thumb drive. I used the Debian Stretch netinst ISO image.

  6. With the laptop powered off, plug in the ethernet cable and bootable USB drive. Boot the laptop back into BIOS, go to the "boot" submenu and select the USB drive as the first priority boot disk. Save and exit to boot to the Debian installer.

  7. Follow the normal Debian installation procedure. I chose to take over the entire hard disk and erase Windows 10. Since Linux won't work with the disk in RST mode and Windows won't work with the disk is AHCI mode, I see no way to dual boot.

  8. Reboot into the newly installed Debian system. You still need to fix 2 things: WIFI and Video:

    (a) To avoid video glitches, you need to add the kernel boot parameter: i915.enable_rc6=0

    To do this:

    Code:
    su 
    nano /etc/default/grub
    Look for the line "GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT" and add the boot parameter, so it looks like this:

    Code:
    GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet i915.enable_rc6=0"
    Save the file and run update grub as root:

    Code:
    su
    update-grub
    Reboot and the video should be fine.

    (b) To fix the WIFI, you need firmware. After booting, run the command:

    Code:
    dmesg | grep ath10k
    You should see some error messages about trying to load the missing firmware. Look at the output of dmesg command above to see exactly which model firmware. To download and use the firmware:

    Code:
    su
    apt-get install curl
    curl -L -O https://github.com/kvalo/ath10k-firmware/archive/master.zip
    unzip master.zip
    mkdir -p /lib/firmware/ath10k/QCA6174/hw3.0/
    cp ./ath10k-firmware-master/ath10k/QCA6174/hw3.0/*.bin*  /lib/firmware/ath10k/QCA6174/hw3.0/
    cp ./ath10k-firmware-master/ath10k/QCA6174/hw3.0/4.4/*.bin*  /lib/firmware/ath10k/QCA6174/hw3.0/
    cd /lib/firmware/ath10k/QCA6174/hw3.0/
    cp firmware-4.bin* firmware-5.bin
    cp firmware-6.bin* firmware-6.bin
    update-initramfs -u
    reboot
    After reboot, the WIFI module should be loaded and working. The laptop can then be connected to a wireless network normally.

So far, so good. I haven't used the new laptop a lot yet, but everything now seems to be working fine. It has great processing speed and amazing battery life compared to my old laptop. I just wish Lenovo would give more thought to customers who want to use an operating system other than Windows 10.
 
Old 05-04-2017, 11:36 AM   #2
jens
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Hi ... and thank you for posting this.

Having done this before (though I'm aware that not every Yoga 910 is identical), I've never had any issues with your first 3 steps (the booting part).
Using FreeDOS on a live system just worked for the BIOS/EFI update.
Next I just allocated some free space for Debian, installed it with the default stuff and GRUB could still find and boot the two with either both OS's in secure boot or both without it (as it's supposed to work).

Last edited by jens; 05-04-2017 at 12:12 PM.
 
Old 05-04-2017, 11:57 AM   #3
bndr32
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Problems with touchpad?

Hey!

First, thank you for your guide!

Have you had any problems getting debian to recognize the yoga 910 touchpad??

By the way, I am dual-booting stock Win10 with Ubuntu Gnome in AHCI mode as well.

Thanks!

Last edited by bndr32; 05-04-2017 at 12:03 PM.
 
Old 05-04-2017, 12:09 PM   #4
jens
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bndr32 View Post
Have you had any problems getting debian to recognize the yoga 910 touchpad??

By the way, I am dual-booting stock Win10 with Ubuntu Gnome in AHCI mode as well.

Thanks!
Works fine for me ...
What kinds of problems are you having?
 
Old 05-04-2017, 12:26 PM   #5
bndr32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jens View Post
Works fine for me ...
What kinds of problems are you having?
Well, I have not installed it yet, but the live image does not recognize the touchpad for Debian 8.7 Therefore, I was wondering if I would have to do some magic to get it working once I complete the install. It seems that the issue is fixed in Debian 9, but I will try with the stable release first.

Thanks!
 
Old 05-04-2017, 03:39 PM   #6
m_yates
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bndr32 View Post
Hey!

First, thank you for your guide!

Have you had any problems getting debian to recognize the yoga 910 touchpad??

By the way, I am dual-booting stock Win10 with Ubuntu Gnome in AHCI mode as well.

Thanks!
The touchpad was not functional in the Debian installer, but it works fine after booting into the Debian install. The touchpad also worked when I tested the laptop using a Debian Stretch live image. The touch screen also works fine.

Sorry if I have misled anyone about dual booting. When my BIOS setting was in AHCI mode, it would not boot Windows 10. It would hang up and then spit out an error about "inaccessible boot device". If I switched the BIOS back to RST mode, Windows would boot fine. I did this several times, so I'm quite certain it wouldn't boot to Windows in AHCI mode. It was a Windows error message, but perhaps it came from the Windows boot manager? Maybe grub allows the dual boot? This was with a Yoga 910 laptop purchased from a retail Best Buy store just a few days ago, so the behavior I observed is with very new hardware.

I'm not shedding any tears about deleting Windows 10, though. I have no use for Windows. Microsoft is only a source of security holes, privacy invasion, bloat, and poor performance.
 
Old 05-13-2017, 05:22 PM   #7
mbwd
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First, thanks for this great post. There is a problem with wifi working on the 910 using Debian, and this works perfectly!

Second, I wanted to post a few links to other install guides for the 910. Here they are link_a and link_b. I have Windows and a variety of Linux distros multi-booted on the 910, all working flawlessly. I use rEFInd to make it easier to select an OS on boot.

Third, please note that most distros do not require this involved wifi fix. Rather, all you need to do is the following:

Quote:
gksu gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf
Add the following line:

Quote:
blacklist ideapad_laptop
Save and logout.

Finally, ElementaryOS works out of the box with the 910. No modifications of wifi or the trackpad necessary.
 
Old 05-14-2017, 07:23 PM   #8
m_yates
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbwd View Post
First, thanks for this great post. There is a problem with wifi working on the 910 using Debian, and this works perfectly!

Second, I wanted to post a few links to other install guides for the 910. Here they are link_a and link_b. I have Windows and a variety of Linux distros multi-booted on the 910, all working flawlessly. I use rEFInd to make it easier to select an OS on boot.

Third, please note that most distros do not require this involved wifi fix. Rather, all you need to do is the following:


Add the following line:


Save and logout.

Finally, ElementaryOS works out of the box with the 910. No modifications of wifi or the trackpad necessary.
Thanks for the extra information. It will be helpful to anyone else who searches for information on this laptop. I clicked on the link to boost your rep.
 
Old 05-25-2017, 04:37 PM   #9
AwesomeMachine
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Better than most guides.
 
Old 08-22-2017, 07:39 AM   #10
mideal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jens View Post
Hi ... and thank you for posting this.

Having done this before (though I'm aware that not every Yoga 910 is identical), I've never had any issues with your first 3 steps (the booting part).
Using FreeDOS on a live system just worked for the BIOS/EFI update.
Next I just allocated some free space for Debian, installed it with the default stuff and GRUB could still find and boot the two with either both OS's in secure boot or both without it (as it's supposed to work).
IT#s possible to use FreeDOS to run the Lenovo .exe to update the BIOS?
 
Old 12-05-2017, 01:02 PM   #11
Emmanuel_uk
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Hello,

I read you warning about bios update.

My laptop is new out of the box yoga 520 14 IKB.
I have not started the win 10 install at the first boot

I want NOT to install win 10, but want to backup the full SSD (with dd) before installing linux (no dual boot needed)
the SSD backup is in case I need to reverse to win 10

Quote:
Under the "configuration" sub menu of the BIOS, change the disk drive setting from "Intel RST" to "AHCI". Make sure secure boot is disabled and USB booting is enabled. With the "AHCI" setting enabled, the laptop will not boot into Windows.


In the bios when I choose AHCI I get the warning Setup message
<<All existing data stored on the drivers will be erase when resetting controller mode.
Do you want to proceed?>>
The broken english is that of the message

What does this mean ?
Will this ''destroy'' the pre-installed unconfigured windows
Can I go to AHCI, backup the HD with a live version,
go bakc to bios, go back to the option intel RST premium and have windos operational ?

Thanks
 
  


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