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I have been reading about the issue of Samsung laptops bricking when attempted booting from live USB. I have Samsung Series 7 NP700Z5C (-S02UB to be specific) laptop. It came with Windows 8 preloaded. Some posts claim that they disabled secure boot and installed Ubuntu in EFI mode. On the otherhand comments on this bug report state the issue to be with UEFI implementation and not with Secure Boot.

I really want to dual Ubuntu with Windows 8. Can someone help with UEFI mode installation process ?

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I think this would be a good place to start: ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2104060 –  Mordoc Mar 19 '13 at 17:48
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1 Answer

Is it safe to install any OS on Samsung UEFI Laptops ?

Short answer No

As far back as August 2012 in Launchpad Bugs reports began that installing Ubuntu could brick certain Samsung Laptops. Initially this was seen as an Ubuntu problem or perhaps a wider Linux issue. However, It has since become clear that this is not a problem with Linux or Ubuntu but a problem with the firmware in some Samsung Laptops.

A report by Matthew Garett shows that this is not limited to Linux but is possible in Windows too. The original belief was that the samsung-laptop driver was doing something that caused the system to stop working. However while changes have been made to mitigate this; and some people have successfully installed Ubuntu; it does not fix the problem. It just avoids one way of triggering it.

UEFI is supposed to make it easier to record information on system crashes but appears that this information is causing the problem. Microsoft have requested that there is 64KB available for this and the problem has been seen with 10KB or less of this space used so it likely that if if Windows crashes this will brick your laptop too.

Samsung laptops in the 300E5C, NP700Z5C, NP700Z7C and 530U3C series are affected and there may be others too as it would seem reasonable that Samsung will want to keep the firmware across its range of Laptops as similar as possible. For the moment I would assume that this bug exists in all there Laptops Using using UEFI. Samsung are working on a firmware update but this has yet to be released.

For now the advice has to be do not install any OS on a Samsung UEFI Laptop. However there does appear to be a work around by disabling UEFI but that will require you to re-install Windows 8 (if you want Windows on your machine) You should then be able to install Ubuntu or any other OS.

Links:

http://www.bit-tech.net/news/bits/2013/02/11/linux-samsung-deaths-2/1

http://www.bit-tech.net/news/hardware/2013/01/31/linux-samsung-deaths/1

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/02/01/linux_samsung_laptop_fix_advice/

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If anyone knows other Samsung UEFI laptops known to have the problem please edit my answer to include them. –  Warren Hill Mar 19 '13 at 21:50
    
Thanks for the elaborate answer Warren. However I have seen few posts somewhere mentioning that they actually installed Ubuntu. Let me try to find those links again and then I will paste here or follow up on their posts. –  user141719 Mar 20 '13 at 16:23
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The fact that Ubuntu was installed does NOT mean that it won't cause problems down the road. The root cause of the bricking is writing too much data to the NVRAM, and that can happen for various reasons, including a kernel panic. Thus, all might be well until the system crashes, and then it will really crash, and become completely unbootable! –  Rod Smith Mar 21 '13 at 0:38
    
Rod, are you suggesting that having just Windows will not cause any similar issues down the line ? –  user141719 Mar 21 '13 at 1:02
    
@user141719 I think Samsung are expecting problems with Windows too but are hoping Windows 8 stays stable enough for long enough that they do not see significant failures before they have issued a firmware update to fix the problem. –  Warren Hill Mar 21 '13 at 8:54
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