Saturday, December 7, 2013

Windows 8 and Ubuntu 13.10 with encrypted root on a UEFI HP Envy 15-j085nr

I recently went through the pain of creating a Windows/Linux dual boot, here are some rough notes for the benefits of others. Since the HP envy is UEFI, some of the existing wisdom on the Internets doesn't apply.

Start by installing windows normally. Since, like most laptops, it ships with an OEM install on a separate partition, this basically just means turning it on and following the prompts.

Create an ubuntu boot USB boot drive (super easy, just download the relevant ISO and use startup-disk-creator)

Reboot to USB in UEFI mode (I followed Settings|General|Advanced Startup, but apparently Shift-Restart also works). This should get you the black UEFI GRUB menu. You can tell you have booted with UEFI if the /sys/firmware/efi directory is present.

Secure Boot is now supported but it will probably cause you problems and require disabling (use F10 to get to the UEFI menu). My install worked fine with it enabled, but when I attempted to boot windows from the ubuntu boot manager the verification failed and it went into some sort of automatic self repair mode. I interrupted this without any negative consequences.

When Ubuntu starts the screen might just go black: use the hardware keys to turn the brightness up. Since UEFI uses GPT rather than MBR partitioning (archlinux has a great writeup of the details), you'll need to use gdisk rather than fdisk to inspect the disk. The syntax is basically the same.

Choose "Try without installing". I found this was handy because if the installer crashes you still have your desktop session. From this point I mostly followed these instructions to create the encrypted container manually. The installer almost works for this setup, but not quite. You can create the boot partition and the encrypted volume in the installer gui but there appears to be no way to tell it to do LVM inside the container to separate swap and root. After following the partitioning instructions my disk ended up looking like this:
$ sudo gdisk -l /dev/sda
GPT fdisk (gdisk) version 0.8.7

Partition table scan:
  MBR: protective
  BSD: not present
  APM: not present
  GPT: present

Found valid GPT with protective MBR; using GPT.
Disk /dev/sda: 1953525168 sectors, 931.5 GiB
Logical sector size: 512 bytes
Disk identifier (GUID): 0236CBF5-85E3-4F99-B92F-F33CADBAAAAA
Partition table holds up to 128 entries
First usable sector is 34, last usable sector is 1953525134
Partitions will be aligned on 2048-sector boundaries
Total free space is 13677 sectors (6.7 MiB)

Number  Start (sector)    End (sector)  Size       Code  Name
   1            2048          821247   400.0 MiB   2700  Basic data partition
   2          821248         1353727   260.0 MiB   EF00  EFI system partition
   3         1353728         1615871   128.0 MiB   0C01  Microsoft reserved part
   4         1615872       670988287   319.2 GiB   0700  Basic data partition
   5      1899788288      1953513471   25.6 GiB    0700  Basic data partition
   6       670988288       674893823   1.9 GiB     8300  /boot
   7       674893824      1899788287   584.1 GiB   8300  cryptroot
When I rebooted I had a working Ubuntu install with an encrypted root, but no way of accessing windows. I tried a few things at this point, probably all of which you should avoid (you should probably just skip to the next paragraph). I booted the Windows recovery partition (F11), followed the prompts to get a shell and ran bootrec. I also installed EasyBCD, which allegedly supports UEFI as of version 2.2, but the boot manager it installed couldn't boot Ubuntu even though it recognised it. I then installed rEFInd. I had to reorder the boot manager priority with efibootmgr to put it first, but when I did I found it could boot Ubuntu fine, but not Windows :(

I eventually settled on using the Ubuntu boot manager with the compromise of hitting F9 and using the UEFI boot menu to get to Windows (since I'm not intending to use it very often). This are the efibootmgr commands I used to make ubuntu the default (I also ended up deleting rEFInd using efibootmgr).
$ sudo efibootmgr -o 0002,3002,0001,0000,2001,2002,2003
$ sudo efibootmgr
BootCurrent: 0002
Timeout: 0 seconds
BootOrder: 0002,3002,0001,0000,2001,2002,2003
Boot0000* rEFInd Boot Manager
Boot0001* Windows Boot Manager
Boot0002* ubuntu
Boot0003* Internal Hard Disk or Solid State Disk
Boot0005* Internal Hard Disk or Solid State Disk
Boot0009* Internal Hard Disk or Solid State Disk
Boot2001* USB Drive (UEFI)
Boot2002* Internal CD/DVD ROM Drive (UEFI)
Boot3000* Internal Hard Disk or Solid State Disk
Boot3001* Internal Hard Disk or Solid State Disk
Boot3002* Internal Hard Disk or Solid State Disk
Boot3003* Internal Hard Disk or Solid State Disk
Then as I was installing a newer kernel to try and debug a wireless networking issue I saw this after installation of 3.12:
Found Windows Boot Manager on /dev/sda2@/EFI/Microsoft/Boot/bootmgfw.efi
Adding boot menu entry for EFI firmware configuration
and all of a sudden I had a windows option in the GRUB bootloader menu! Hooray! Not sure if the new kernel was required, or perhaps just a grub-update.

For those wondering how well the HP Envy 15-j085nr plays with Ubuntu 13.10 the answer is pretty well. Graphics (1366x768), sound, function keys are all good. There appears to be some sort of packet loss problem with the RTL8188EE wireless driver that I'm still investigating. Here's some details to help pre-purchase investigating:
00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v3/4th Gen Core Processor DRAM Controller (rev 06)
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation 4th Gen Core Processor Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 06)
00:03.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v3/4th Gen Core Processor HD Audio Controller (rev 06)
00:14.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family USB xHCI (rev 05)
00:16.0 Communication controller: Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family MEI Controller #1 (rev 04)
00:1a.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family USB EHCI #2 (rev 05)
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset High Definition Audio Controller (rev 05)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port #3 (rev d5)
00:1c.2 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port #1 (rev d5)
00:1c.3 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port #4 (rev d5)
00:1c.6 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port #7 (rev d5)
00:1d.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family USB EHCI #1 (rev 05)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation HM87 Express LPC Controller (rev 05)
00:1f.2 SATA controller: Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family 6-port SATA Controller 1 [AHCI mode] (rev 05)
00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family SMBus Controller (rev 05)
01:00.0 Network controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8188EE Wireless Network Adapter (rev 01)
03:00.0 Unassigned class [ff00]: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. Device 5227 (rev 01)
09:00.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168/8411 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Controller (rev 0c)
Update 2013-12-26: I filed a bug for the packet loss problem. Thanks to some forums I realised that the Realtek download page for the RTL8188CE driver actually includes the RTL8188EE and a bunch of others, something that is certainly not obvious from the page itself. After installing the kernel source, the next problem was that the Realtek driver source doesn't actually compile, and is apparently only supported up to 3.9 kernels. Errors on 3.11.0-14 look like this:
make -C /lib/modules/3.11.0-14-generic/build M=/home/g/rtl_92ce_92se_92de_8723ae_88ee_linux_mac80211_0012.0207.2013 modules
make[1]: Entering directory `/usr/src/linux-headers-3.11.0-14-generic'
  CC [M]  /home/g/rtl_92ce_92se_92de_8723ae_88ee_linux_mac80211_0012.0207.2013/base.o
In file included from /home/g/rtl_92ce_92se_92de_8723ae_88ee_linux_mac80211_0012.0207.2013/base.c:39:0:
/home/g/rtl_92ce_92se_92de_8723ae_88ee_linux_mac80211_0012.0207.2013/pci.h:247:15: error: expected ‘=’, ‘,’, ‘;’, ‘asm’ or ‘__attribute__’ before ‘rtl_pci_probe’
 int __devinit rtl_pci_probe(struct pci_dev *pdev,
               ^
/home/g/rtl_92ce_92se_92de_8723ae_88ee_linux_mac80211_0012.0207.2013/base.c: In function ‘rtl_action_proc’:
/home/g/rtl_92ce_92se_92de_8723ae_88ee_linux_mac80211_0012.0207.2013/base.c:885:32: error: ‘struct ieee80211_conf’ has no member named ‘channel’
       rx_status.freq = hw->conf.channel->center_freq;
                                ^
/home/g/rtl_92ce_92se_92de_8723ae_88ee_linux_mac80211_0012.0207.2013/base.c:886:32: error: ‘struct ieee80211_conf’ has no member named ‘channel’
       rx_status.band = hw->conf.channel->band;
                                ^
/home/g/rtl_92ce_92se_92de_8723ae_88ee_linux_mac80211_0012.0207.2013/base.c: In function ‘rtl_send_smps_action’:
/home/g/rtl_92ce_92se_92de_8723ae_88ee_linux_mac80211_0012.0207.2013/base.c:1451:24: error: ‘struct ieee80211_conf’ has no member named ‘channel’
   info->band = hw->conf.channel->band;

Freedom Ben's modified version worked for me however, and seems to have mostly solved the wireless problems I was seeing, and although there's still more packet loss than I would like the laptop is usable now.

Update 2013-12-30: Spoke too soon. Wireless performance was still terrible (30% - 80% packet loss) despite installing the latest proprietary driver and firmware. I eventually gave up on this card and driver and bought a Intel Corporation Centrino Advanced-N 6235 for $24, which works perfectly: 0% loss. Same access point, same location in the room, etc. The conclusion I draw is that the RTL8188EE linux driver and/or firmware/hardware itself is just terrible. I was concerned that the BIOS wouldn't allow the new card since apparently it has a whitelist of wireless card replacements, and this one wasn't on the list in the maintenance manual, but no problems.

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