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As some of you may know, I recently (and unsuccessfully!) tried to dual-boot Ubuntu with Microsoft Windows 8.1 on a Sony VAIO Tap 20... However it was a nightmare with problem after problem and being that only the kids use that particular computer, I went back to a Windows 8.1-only setup.

Now with my personal computer however, I dual-boot Ubuntu and Windows 8.1 fine (spending most of my time in the former)... However it is a much older laptop that is on its last legs and eventually I will need to replace it, almost certainly with a UEFI-based computer (seeing as that is what is replacing the BIOS in all computers over the next few years).


Now that the back-story is out of the way, I have a really, really easy question (well, at least I think it is)...


If I single-boot a future computer with Ubuntu, do all of the UEFI issues simply "go away"? Or will this vary from manufacturer to manufacturer (as is the case with dual-booting)?

I've learnt quite a bit about UEFI over the last few weeks and as I understand it, a lot of the booting problems come down to Windows 8.1 modifying the boot sequence when dual-booting... Effectively undoing some or all of the changes a Ubuntu may have made.

But if Windows 8.1 has been removed (along with all of its partitions, including the "recovery" partitions), there should be no difference to single-booting a BIOS-based computer with Ubuntu, right?

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It varies from one computer to another. Some have badly broken EFIs that will only boot the Windows boot loader, for instance. (To be more precise, they'll only boot a file called EFI/Microsoft/Boot/bootmgfw.efi, or sometimes only one with the name that Microsoft gives their boot loader ["Windows Boot Manager" or something like that, IIRC].) Such a problem can often be worked around by renaming GRUB, rEFInd, or whatever you use, but that's an ugly solution! Others have EFIs that work the way they're supposed to work, in which case an Ubuntu-only installation -- or even a Windows/Ubuntu dual-boot -- should go fairly smoothly. The biggest caveat in such cases is that you understand enough about it to not make any dire mistakes. To that end, I strongly recommend that you read the following three pages:

Any one of those will help immensely, and reading the other two will help fill in the gaps.

Based on the sorts of comments and problems I've seen on-line, I'd say that, in addition to buggy EFIs, the biggest problem is that users bring BIOS assumptions to the EFI world. That's why I always squirm a bit when I see somebody refer to a new computer's "BIOS." It doesn't have a BIOS; it's got an EFI, and the fact that the person is referring to it as a BIOS means they're loading up their mental model with BIOS assumptions that do not apply to EFIs.

As to your specific issue, following links, I see you had problems with a Sony VIAO machine. Those problems were likely caused, at least in part, by Sony-specific bugs. Therefore, I recommend you buy another brand of computer. FWIW, I recently bought a Lenovo IdeaPad U530, and its firmware isn't doing anything flaky. It dual-boots between Linux and Windows just fine, although I think I've booted Windows all of once in two months since getting Ubuntu installed. OTOH, I'm the maintainer of rEFInd (which of course I use on this system), so my knowledge of how to set this up is well above average; somebody else might have a much harder time with this exact same computer. ASUS has also been ahead of the game on EFI adoption, although I can't comment on any specific ASUS computer.

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Thanks dude, much appreciated. – Gregory Opera Feb 22 '14 at 13:56

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