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Surface Pro Boot from USB

36 posts in this topic

Posted

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.

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Posted

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?

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Posted

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.

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Posted

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.

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Posted

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

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Posted

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.

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Posted

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

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Posted

@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.

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Posted

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?

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Posted

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.

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Posted

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?

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Posted

@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

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Posted

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... :)

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Posted

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.

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Posted

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 :)

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Posted

@Brando: How would I do that when during the installation of ubuntu, it installs grub and "blesses" the efi to load its bootloader?

Good news is I rebuilt the efi on the windows partition, this included the BCD Store and running "fixboot". After this, reboot the surface to windows 8 instantly!

Now, I have to figure out if I can use EasyBCD, or not.

I will keep this thread updated, at the end I hope to have a nice tutorial written up.

Thanks guys for all you help, anyone else who wants to chime in please do.

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Posted

I'm not sure about Ubuntu (haven't messed with it outside of wubi or virtual machine for awhile) but most linux distros tend to have the option not to touch the MBR

(that's a thought as well, you could try wubi, it works essentially the same as installing directly but with less hassle on your end, and an easy option to uninstall from windows if you choose)

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Posted

Wow. I cant believe I havent known about this sooner. I actually think this is the answer unless I can get rEFIt/nd to work, this also is cleaner and simpler.

Thank you very much Brando, im going to give this a try now, ill report back with what I find

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Posted

Wow. I cant believe I havent known about this sooner. I actually think this is the answer unless I can get rEFIt/nd to work, this also is cleaner and simpler.

Thank you very much Brando, im going to give this a try now, ill report back with what I find

yeah, I've been using EasyBCD for a few years now, i much prefer the windows bootloader over grub and EasyBCD makes working with it a breeze :)

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Posted

Status: Wubi works on internal ssd. If I install to an SD card (which will be the goal later, so internal is windows, and you can swap installations as you wish), then it fails.

The windows boot manager is to stupid to crawl the files, so it assumes "/ubuntu/winboot/mbr or efi file" is on the default drive and I cant figure out a way to edit the conf file and add "(sd card drive letter or whatever)/ubuntu/winboot/mbr or efi file". Ive googled and have found nothing.

Next I am working on installing rEFIt or rEFInd and i know that will work because my macbook with rEFIt installed will boot off the external sd no problem, be it wubi config or just normal copy and paste iso content config.

I will say, one of the most fun projects i have had lately. This is making me want one even more now

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Posted

aren't rEFIt and rEFInd specifically for Apple's EFI?

i'm not sure if they're compatible with UEFI on other machines

i think your problem with wubi on external is due to how the entry is made into the mbr, i'm not fully sure as i've never tried it myself

have you tried the full normal install on the external card then using EasyBCD to make the boot entry?

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Posted

aren't rEFIt and rEFInd specifically for Apple's EFI?

i'm not sure if they're compatible with UEFI on other machines

i think your problem with wubi on external is due to how the entry is made into the mbr, i'm not fully sure as i've never tried it myself

have you tried the full normal install on the external card then using EasyBCD to make the boot entry?

Right when the thread refreshes and I walk, i was sitting here typing that EasyBCD keeps making the entry for "C:" and not "F:"(external sd).

So, i've been try to figure out a way to manually change drive path from C: to F: but I cant find a way, but im not giving up.

rEFIt was made for Apple's EFI but works with UEFI (tested but not meant to be supported).

rEFInd was made for ALL EFI's in mind. Be it Apple or UEFI, actually the author focused heavily on UEFI since he forked rEFIt and it has been working great for Apple's EFI so far.

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Posted

rEFIt was made for Apple's EFI but works with UEFI (tested but not meant to be supported).

rEFInd was made for ALL EFI's in mind. Be it Apple or UEFI, actually the author focused heavily on UEFI since he forked rEFIt and it has been working great for Apple's EFI so far.

good to know

offtopic: i was never able to get rEFIt to work with my macbook pro :( my best guess was that it's too new and rEFIt hasn't updated in forever. I've got a macbook pro 8,2 btw

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Posted

Offtopic: i have a retina and rEFIt is support. You need to make sure your not using FileVault 2 or truecrypt, it doesnt have suppose for the. rEFInd does!

So, EasyBCD is ****ing me off because it creates the entry wrong, i change the drive letter and that fixes the drive letter, BUT, the path is "\NST\AutoNeoGrub0.mbr" and i need it to be "\ubuntu\winboot\wubildr.mbr"

I tried "bcdedit /set {uuid} device partition=F:\ubuntu\winboot\wubildr.mbr" but it says "An error has occurred setting the element data. The request is not supported."

If I could change the path to the correct spot, im pretty sure it would work.

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Posted

Offtopic: i have a retina and rEFIt is support. You need to make sure your not using FileVault 2 or truecrypt, it doesnt have suppose for the. rEFInd does!

odd, i don't use any encryption and i've tried both the automatic install and the manual method and either way i just get that bug where it causes osx bootup to be exceedingly long

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