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Cannot boot on new MSI GE40 Haswell UEFI laptop [Solved]
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gemarcano
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:43 am    Post subject: Cannot boot on new MSI GE40 Haswell UEFI laptop [Solved] Reply with quote

I just recently bought a new computer laptop, the MSI GE Series GE40 2OC-009, and I have been trying to install Gentoo (~amd64) in it for the last couple of days. Since I wasn't sure if the Gentoo iso's could be used to create UEFI bootable USB disks, I resorted to trying the ISOs of other distributions, such as Fedora and Arch, in order to attempt to boot Linux to install Gentoo on this laptop. These images booted through their bootloaders, but would freeze immediately upon attempting to boot the kernel (as a note, they booted on my UEFI desktop). Not knowing what else to do, I decided to install Gentoo onto the flashdrive I was using (using the a current stage3), compile a new kernel for the laptop (3.10.7), and then setting the USB to boot using rEFInd. I was able to get this USB to boot on my desktop (I used my desktop's kernel config as a base for configuration since it's only a year old), but then I was unable to do anything on the laptop besides rEFInd loading and then crashing upon loading the kernel.

Now, the crashing takes place early in the kernel's loading, even before the console is set up (I believe, at least the screen does not change, it just freezes with either rEFInd's white background or a black background from the other bootloaders). All of this crashing takes place only if I try to boot in UEFI mode; the laptop booted in Legacy mode using an old (circa 2010) DRBL Live USB I keep around. I would much rather not install Gentoo under Legacy mode, especially when I'll be dual booting with Windows 8 which came installed in UEFI mode. I have found in the internet that the problem may lie with the Atheros NIC chip or the NVidia card on these new Haswell laptops, and some people have reported success on similar laptops disabling these from the UEFI/BIOS menu. I'm unsure why but my UEFI/BIOS menu does not present the option to disable the NIC or the discrete video card, so that's out of the question.

I just recently pulled the lspci information from the laptop, so I'll be recompiling the Gentoo USB kernel to match that new information I have. Still, it bothers me that no Linux distribution can get past the bootloader in UEFI mode on my laptop. I tried giving the kernel the nomodeset and i915.modeset=0 options, and neither did anything. I've tried compiling pretty much all atheros wireless and wired drivers from the kernel into it, hoping that this would fix this issue but to no avail. I'm trying to get some sort of logging from the kernel, but since the screen is not doing anything, if the kernel is stopping or panicking I have not been able to see any output. Any idea on how to get at that information?

Here's the lspci output:
Code:
00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Haswell DRAM Controller (rev 06)
00:01.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Haswell PCI Express x16 Controller (rev 06) (prog-if 00 [Normal decode])
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Haswell Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 06) (prog-if 00 [VGA controller])
00:03.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation Haswell HD Audio Controller (rev 06)
00:14.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation Lynx Point USB xHCI Host Controller (rev 04) (prog-if 30 [XHCI])
00:16.0 Communication controller: Intel Corporation Lynx Point MEI Controller #1 (rev 04)
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation Lynx Point HD Audio Controller (rev 04)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Lynx Point PCI Express Root Port 1 (rev d4) (prog-if 00 [Normal decode])
00:1c.2 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Lynx Point PCI Express Root Port 3 (rev d4) (prog-if 00 [Normal decode])
00:1c.3 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Lynx Point PCI Express Root Port 4 (rev d4) (prog-if 00 [Normal decode])
00:1d.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation Lynx Point USB Enhanced Host Controller #1 (rev 04) (prog-if 20 [EHCI])
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation Lynx Point LPC Controller (rev 04)
00:1f.2 SATA controller: Intel Corporation Lynx Point 6-Port SATA AHCI Controller (rev 04) (prog-if 01 [AHCI 1.0])
00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corporation Lynx Point SMBus Controller (rev 04)
01:00.0 3D controller: NVIDIA Corporation Device 11e3 (rev a1)
03:00.0 Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications Inc. AR8161 Gigabit Ethernet (rev 10)
04:00.0 Network controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. Device 8723

Right now I'm going to go recompile the kernel and test changing rEFInd from graphical mode to text mode, to see if I can see anything. Thank you all in advance for any insight and aid.


Last edited by gemarcano on Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:50 am; edited 1 time in total
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srs5694
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Video driver problems seem to either prevent booting or hide the video display on some recent computers, particularly when booting in EFI mode. If you can find a solution for your specific system, that's great; but if not, I recommend you go ahead and do a BIOS-mode installation. You can probably switch modes pretty easily by using rEFInd: Edit the refind.conf file, uncomment the "scanfor" line, and ensure that "hdbios" is among the options. With any luck, the result will be a new boot option with a plain grayscale icon, which will launch whatever BIOS-mode boot loader you've installed on the hard disk. If this is GRUB, and if it's set to a quick timeout, this will add just a second or two to the boot time. A native EFI-mode boot will be quicker, but this approach may at least enable you to dual-boot without re-installing Windows in BIOS mode. You'll also be able to continue to experiment with EFI-mode boot options, and if you eventually find a solution, you can disable the BIOS-mode boot option by removing "hdbios" from the "scanfor" line.

Note that rEFInd's BIOS-mode boot option doesn't work on all computers. Some of them lack the necessary CSM features and some of them don't create the NVRAM entry that rEFInd relies upon to launch the BIOS-mode boot loader. Thus, I can't promise that this will work. It's worth a try, though.
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DONAHUE
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is secure boot disabled?
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gemarcano
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@DONAHUE, yes, Secure Boot is disabled. Seeing how cripppled the UEFI/BIOS my laptop has is, I was pleasantly surprized MSI did leave an option to turn it off.

Well, that didn't go anywhere. The only driver I missed originally was the wireless driver for the Realtek Device 8723. When I change rEFInd to text mode, the last bit of output it gives is it launching the kernel with the arguments specified in a configuration file. For completeness, the kernel parameters I'm using:
Code:
root=/dev/sda2 rootfstype=ext4 ro console=tty1 nouveau.modeset=0 nouveau.noaccel=1

The only thing left that I can think of would be trying to get output from the kernel through something other than the console... anyone have any ideas how I would go about doing this?
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gemarcano
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@srs5694, glad to see you around again. My laptop does support UEFI CSM, so the rEFInd scanfor hdbios option should work, I think. I'll have to read up a bit on it, since I don't know, for example, where it would install the bootloader for the BIOS or Legacy installation. This alternative sounds decent especially if it would allow for me to switch my system over to UEFI later once those issues with the drivers are resolved. Thanks for the input.
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srs5694
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Microsoft requires that vendors provide an option to disable Secure Boot in order to achieve a Windows 8 sticker for their x86-64 hardware, so there's little risk of getting an x86-64 machine that's locked into Secure Boot. (The story is different for ARM, but ARM-based Windows 8 machines are basically a handful of tablets, cell phones, and embedded devices -- at least right now.)

As to BIOS-mode booting, rEFInd launches (via the firmware's CSM) whatever code is in the MBR, much like a regular BIOS would. Thus, to use the BIOS-mode boot options in rEFInd, you must install a BIOS-mode boot loader. This could be GRUB 2, SYSLINUX, or whatever. The details of juggling EFI-mode vs. BIOS-mode depend on your computer, though, so you may need to experiment with your computer's boot modes to get everything working.
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gemarcano
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, to give an update on this old topic. I finally had the time to try to boot a newer kernel under UEFI (3.11.6). And... it booted! Now I can see what's going on, and I'm getting some other errors, but they are modules related and I can fix that! Granted, I have no idea if the fix was the new kernel or the million firmware/BIOS updates I had to do on the laptop for Windows 8.1. Either way, it seem GNU/Linux can now run on the GE40! If something else fails horrifically, I'll post about it, but for the time being, I think this is solved. I'll update the subject in a second.

EDIT: For clarification (I was pretty tired last night), this means the Linux can now boot on the GE40 under UEFI mode, not just through UEFI CSM or legacy.


Last edited by gemarcano on Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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aim nano
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 4:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

as someone mentioned earlier, rEFInd is amazing.
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Julianna Lion
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi there,
I try to install Ubuntu on a similar system: MSI GE40-i760M2811. Actually I don't understand your solution, how exactly did you get your system to boot?

So far I got it to boot via Legacy-Mode, but leaving it like this is not an option, 'cause I can't access Win8. I updated the bios and Win to 8.1, this did not work. Also I booted with a life-USB with the 3.11 Kernel and installed the 3.12 Kernel. Then I used boot-repair, bringing access to Grub, Windows and Ubuntu in EFI-Mode, but Ubuntu won't load further than "Loading Linux 3.12.0-999 generic ... Loading initial ramdisk ... _"

So how exactly do I use the rEFInd? Do I install Ubuntu again in Legacy, then rEFInd, then update the Kernel?
Thanks for any help!
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Julianna Lion
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, problem solved. Thanks rEFInd! Seemed kinda complicated in the first place but worked out for me fine.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Julianna Lion wrote:
Ok, problem solved. Thanks rEFInd! Seemed kinda complicated in the first place but worked out for me fine.


Hi Julianna,

Could you (or somebody else :) post how you solved this? I'm about to install linux on this laptop as well (either Ubuntu or an Arch Linux flavor I think), but I'm not really experienced with using Linux on desktop. Any help with rEFInd would be welcome :)


/Milo
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gemarcano
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@mil0

I'm not sure if other distros would work with this laptops since I haven't checked. The problem I encountered seemed to be due to the kernel not properly supporting some hardware aspects of the laptop. Using a new enough kernel (for me it was 3.11.6) should allow the system to boot. In terms of rEFInd, the guides on ARCH or Ubuntu should be good enough, and the guide here should also be good (just make sure you read and understand what is going on). I don't have a lot of time right now to explain how I converted my laptop to dual-boot Windows and Gentoo Linux, but I'll give a quick overview:
  1. Using Windows, I shrunk the Windows partition to about half its size to give room to Linux (The Windows Disk Manager should let you do this-- you can pick out how big/small you want it to be).
  2. Using an UEFI CD (Fedora is what I think I used, although I know also ARCH can now boot into UEFI mode), I installed Gentoo following the Gentoo amd64 handbook, ignoring any steps pertaining to GRUB.
  3. Once the system was installed, I installed rEFInd on the EFI boot partition.
  4. While booted into the UEFI CD system, I used efibootmgr to install rEFInd to the boot menu of the computer. efibootmgr will only work in UEFI mode, which is why the UEFI CD is needed.
  5. After configuring the boot loader (in my case, I installed rEFInd and made it the default), I rebooted the computer and then rEFInd allowed for me to boot into Linux.
If you're going to install other distros, check their forums for help for anything specific (such as available package versions and issues with said packages). I can't speak for everyone here, but I really can't help with other distros since I haven't used them since 2006. If you would like to install Gentoo, I think we'd be happy to help you out here-- just start a new thread under the Installing Gentoo forum. Good luck!
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mil0
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@gemarcano

Thanks for your guide! I'm aware of the peculiarity of asking installation assistance for other linux flavors over here, but since this is partly HW specific and I didn't find such detail for other distro's yet I thought it wouldn't be too inappropriate.

As I said, I'm not experienced with linux on the desktop. As such it seems smarter to start with Ubuntu/Arch instead of e.g. Gentoo. I've read http://linuxfonts.narod.ru/best-linux-distro-this-year.html, leading me back to my first, safe bet of Ubuntu. This will be my work laptop, so I'm looking for a stable, somewhat user friendly distro. I'm quite experienced with using CentOS as server, so I've considered Fedora, but that seems less supported by third parties. Any further advice is welcome, though I realize we're getting off topic here.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mil0 wrote:
Could you (or somebody else :) post how you solved this? I'm about to install linux on this laptop as well (either Ubuntu or an Arch Linux flavor I think), but I'm not really experienced with using Linux on desktop. Any help with rEFInd would be welcome :)


I don't have model-specific advice; however, my guide to installing Linux on EFI-based systems is here:

http://www.rodsbooks.com/linux-uefi/

Note that I'm rEFInd's maintainer, and I've got several other pages on EFI issues on my Web site, too.

mil0 wrote:
I'm not experienced with linux on the desktop. As such it seems smarter to start with Ubuntu/Arch instead of e.g. Gentoo. I've read http://linuxfonts.narod.ru/best-linux-distro-this-year.html, leading me back to my first, safe bet of Ubuntu. This will be my work laptop, so I'm looking for a stable, somewhat user friendly distro. I'm quite experienced with using CentOS as server, so I've considered Fedora, but that seems less supported by third parties. Any further advice is welcome, though I realize we're getting off topic here.


If you're familiar with CentOS as a server, Fedora should be easy to pick up. I'm not sure what you mean by Fedora being "less supported by third parties." Fedora is certainly among the most popular Linux distributions. I'd be shocked if either Gentoo or Arch is more popular than Fedora.

Arch and Ubuntu are really quite unlike each other. Arch is more comparable to Gentoo, in the sense that both are intended for people who are willing to "get their hands dirty" with manual configuration. Ubuntu (and to a lesser extent Fedora) are intended for people who want something that "just works" -- they come with GUI installers and try to automate things as much as possible. Thus, if you want something that's user-friendly, Ubuntu and Fedora both deserve consideration. Ubuntu is more user-friendly overall, but your familiarity with CentOS gives Fedora and edge. (Things like package management and the system initialization routines are different in Ubuntu vs. Fedora.) Fedora is also better at EFI and Secure Boot compatibility.

OTOH, if you administer Linux servers, you should be able to pick up almost any Linux distribution, including Arch or Gentoo. In fact, one of the advantages of these less user-friendly distributions is that you'll learn more in setting up and administering them. These skills may come in handy when the "it-just-works" features of Ubuntu or Fedora fail, as they sometimes do. Perhaps you wouldn't want to do such learning on a day-to-day-use work laptop, but it might be worth setting up such a distribution on another computer or in a virtual machine.
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