I have Sony VAIO Tap 20 with Windows 8.1 installed. I want to install Ubuntu 14.04 or 15.04 on it, but I am failing right from the beginning. I cannot get Ubuntu to launch.

One particularity is that it is a French version of Windows 8.1, but I doubt that this should be an issue.

On a USB key with 7.7 GB of free space, I have created a Live USB of Ubuntu 14.04, using the instructions I find here.

  • If I run wubi.exe before rebooting the computer, then I get an error saying that /ubuntu/winboot/wubildr.mbr is missing or contains errors.
  • If I uninstall using Control Panel > Uninstall a program > Ubuntu, then I get no option to boot from the Live USB drive. The computer boots directly into Windows 8.1
  • If I try to run the wubi.exe on the 15.04 iso, then it tells me "Wubi does not currently support EFI"

I understand that Windows 8.1 runs in UEFI mode, and that I should install Ubuntu in UEFI mode too.

I have ventured into the BIOS and disabled secure boot. I have switched off fast startup. I have shrunk the Windows partition, and created a 3 partitions for /, /home, and /swap... but I since I cannot get the computer to boot into Ubuntu from a Live USB, there is no way for me to install it onto these partitions.

I have already read this article (among many others), but I cannot get past "Boot a live ... USB flash drive in EFI mode".

On this page, I see a suggestion that I should disable Intel Smart Response Technology, but I did not find any clear steps on how to do this, while I did find reports that Ubuntu runs happily on systems with SRT enabled.

Is there a vital step that I have missed?

EDIT: Following the recommendations of @Rod Smith, I have used Rufus to create a bootable USB drive, using the iso for Ubuntu 14.04, with a GPT partition for UEFI.

I had imagined that it would be enough to reboot the computer with the USB drive in place, and that I would be offered a choice of Ubuntu or Windows. However, the computer simply boots straight into Windows without giving me a choice, even when I tell the BIOS to give first priority to the external drive.

What do I need to do to tell the computer to look at the alternative operating system on the USB stick?

  • wubi is no longer supported (It was pretty bad to begin with actually) – Grammargeek Jul 5 '15 at 22:45
  • I understand that. I am looking for a way to launch Ubuntu on Windows 8.1 without wubi. – James Newton Jul 5 '15 at 22:53
  • Ooooh! I see! – Grammargeek Jul 5 '15 at 22:54
  • You cannot create partitions for Linux with most Windows tools, better to use gparted from live installer. You should in UEFI boot tab have two boot options for flash drive if correctly created. One clearly UEFI: and name of flash drive and the other just the name of flash drive which is BIOS/CSM boot. You may have to turn on a setting somewhere in UEFI to allow UEFI booting. – oldfred Jul 6 '15 at 0:59
  • Can you give me precise details about how to set up the flash drive correctly? Can you be more specific about the various "somewheres" of which you speak? Are you suggesting that the instructions for partitioning giving by Angelos Kyritsis in this recent article are misguided? – James Newton Jul 6 '15 at 10:58

I'm not familiar with the utility you're using, but my suspicion is that it's creating a disk that lacks an EFI boot loader; or perhaps it includes the EFI boot loader, but something else about the disk's format is preventing your firmware from finding it. Since I'm not familiar with the tool you're using, I can't comment on it, but there are many others you can try, such as UNetbootin, Startup Disk Creator, and Rufus. I recommend you try one or more of them. If the tool gives you options for these details, your best bet is to use GPT (rather than MBR, aka "msdos") partitions and a FAT filesystem. If a tool explicitly mentions EFI or UEFI boot support, enable it.

Also, in some cases you may need to disable Secure Boot in your firmware. This shouldn't be necessary, but sometimes it is.

  • Thanks Rod. I've updated my question following your recommendations, but I'm still having no joy. – James Newton Jul 6 '15 at 20:19

To boot a Sony VAIO from a USB stick you need to:

  1. Shut down Windows.

  2. Insert an Ubuntu LiveUSB

  3. Turn the laptop on using the "ASSIST" button (not the power button).

enter image description here

  1. Select boot from external drive.

Then follow Ubuntu installation manuals.

  • @JamesNewton Why not accept the answer then? Just click the check sign at the left. – Pilot6 Jul 6 '15 at 20:33
  • @RodSmith's answer gave me essential details that I could not have found for myself, and which will help others using many different brands of computer. Your answer gave me the last step, complete with photo, specific to my computer. I imagine that the accepted answer should be the one that will be most useful to others in a similar situation. Which answer would you accept, if you were asking this question? – James Newton Jul 6 '15 at 21:21
  • @JamesNewton That's your choice. – Pilot6 Jul 6 '15 at 21:26

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