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Surface Pro Boot from USB


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#1 Sikh

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 01:54

A buddy and I are trying to get a ubuntu live usb drive to boot. Boots on our desktops and our laptops, but the surface will see it and try to boot off of it during reboot (telling by light activity on drive).

We turned off secure boot and security options. It shows the Drive under "Boot from CD,USB,etc", ill pick it, the surface reboots, we see activity on the flash drive, a slight pause where it looks like its trying, then boots into 8.

Also, he has light bleed. 2 points at the bottom, and 1 at top. Anyone else notice this? Easiest way to tell is when the surface reboots and the WHOLE background is solid black.

Other then that, its working great, and so far he loves it.


#2 n_K

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 01:58

I've no idea about the surface pro architecture but are you using the right ISO type, i.e. EFI bootloader ISO if it's an EFI system?

#3 OP Sikh

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 01:59

I've no idea about the surface pro architecture but are you using the right ISO type, i.e. EFI bootloader ISO if it's an EFI system?


Yes made sure of that. Tested by booting it on our UEFI desktops with asus/gigabyte boards and my macbook. Everytime it booted fine. I also see the efi files in the usb root dir. So i know its built correctly.

#4 Mannlich

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 02:03

Make sure drive is formatted FAT32. Had same problem with mine - after changing to FAT32, worked perfectly. For me to resolve issues, I could not use any utilities to build the USB drive. Mount ISO image, format USB thumb drive FAT32, copy over contents of ISO image.

#5 OP Sikh

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 03:03

Make sure drive is formatted FAT32. Had same problem with mine - after changing to FAT32, worked perfectly. For me to resolve issues, I could not use any utilities to build the USB drive. Mount ISO image, format USB thumb drive FAT32, copy over contents of ISO image.



Hey thanks for the reply. What flavor did you end up installing.

As far as copying the contents how did you copy them. Like copy & paste, dd, etc.

Thanks again for helping

#6 +Brandon Live

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 03:08

One thing you can try is holding the Volume Up button (or maybe it's volume down, I forget) while turning it on, until it starts reading from the key.

#7 chrisj1968

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 03:18

I hope you get it to work. this would be awesome... surface system with ubuntu or linux

#8 OP Sikh

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 03:48

@Brandon: tried. Nothing. I thought Microsoft was over not detecting NTFS but I guess not. I had a feeling using fat would work but I wanted reassurance.

@Chris: The AMA really got me interested in getting rid of my RT for a Pro. I can justify the price if I can actually get Linux on there cause at work we use all 3 systems.

But if we can get this to work ill happily spend money that's going to pay off in the end.

#9 phunkymunky

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 05:47

won't the fact that it requires a secure bootloader stop you from using anything other than windows on it... and even then, only the installed version that it comes with?

#10 Sionic Ion

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 06:15

won't the fact that it requires a secure bootloader stop you from using anything other than windows on it... and even then, only the installed version that it comes with?


Wrong. Surface Pro ships with secure boot enabled. But it can be turned off in the BIOS settings, according to Microsoft. How to access those BIOS settings has yet to be seen since people just got their hands on the Surface Pro so Google cannot help with finding anything on accessing the BIOS settings. I bet the manual or Microsoft has some information on this.

I believe a way to access BIOS settings is by going to PC Settings, then General, then Advanced Startup. Somewhere in those menus allows you to access firmware settings. From there you can turn off Secure Boot. But I have not got my Surface Pro to test that out yet. It should work.

#11 Raa

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 06:15

won't the fact that it requires a secure bootloader...

He said he disabled secure boot.

And i've had trouble in the past where some computers don't read boot loaders correctly, I've had to use alternative boot systems on USB keys to make them go. YUMI is a good alernative if you'd like to try that?

#12 OP Sikh

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 06:41

@Sionic Ion: What you said* is correct. Ill make a tutorial hopefully tomorrow. Tonight as soon as I get home I'm not going to bed till I figure this out. So ill document everything for my sake and ill post it here.


@Raa: ill try that if B.Wolkens suggestion doesn't work then I was going to try grub 2 with efi support but I forgot all about Yumi actually sounds like a better idea

#13 phunkymunky

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 07:51

He said he disabled secure boot.

And i've had trouble in the past where some computers don't read boot loaders correctly, I've had to use alternative boot systems on USB keys to make them go. YUMI is a good alernative if you'd like to try that?


Hehe, fair cop, I missed that line... :)

#14 OP Sikh

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 09:43

So status is, ubuntu is installed, now wont boot. Surface gets stuck at grub, but it goes into grub rescue and I cant do anything in rescue.

Cant boot of live installation and install boot-repair cause surface's wifi doesnt get noticed. Ill try live booting the usb key on my desktop hopefully I have better luck at detecting a network and being able to install boot-repair and run it to see if that fixes it.

#15 +Brando212

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 16:38

So status is, ubuntu is installed, now wont boot. Surface gets stuck at grub, but it goes into grub rescue and I cant do anything in rescue.

Cant boot of live installation and install boot-repair cause surface's wifi doesnt get noticed. Ill try live booting the usb key on my desktop hopefully I have better luck at detecting a network and being able to install boot-repair and run it to see if that fixes it.

if you have an windows install disk/iso/usb, I'd repair the windows boot loader then use EasyBCD to add linux to the windows boot loader

that way if you have problems you will know it won't completely break your boot loader :)