Windows 8 Hardware Has Another Problem For Linux
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 29 May 2013 at 08:25 AM EDT. 102 Comments
With a brand new PC certified for Microsoft Windows 8 and shipping the OS, even if you don't plan to use the operating system, it can be difficult to bypass the Windows license agreement before wiping it to install your favorite Linux distribution.

In the past, it was just a matter of booting the system from your CD/DVD or USB drive loaded with your preferred Linux distribution and bob's your uncle. The problem now is that Windows 8 certified PCs need to comply with "Fast Boot", for taking care of hardware initialization and setup very quickly and this now commonly means not initializing USB devices at boot time. With the USB devices not being initialized until the operating system starts, and many PCs today shipping without CD/DVD drives, it can be difficult to boot a Linux installer. Obviously without USB being initialized, you can't boot from your USB stick.

Microsoft does offer a special reboot option to access the firmware menu at which point the hardware is fully initialized, including USB, but that option isn't offered during the Windows setup stage prior to accepting Microsoft's End User License Agreement. So even if you don't agree with Microsoft's EULA and just want to wipe the disk to install your USB-based distribution, with Windows 8 it can now be a difficult task.

Matthew Garrett, after dealing with Microsoft Windows 8 Secure Boot challenges for numerous months, is now dealing with this latest PC problem. He's written about this issue on his blog.
About The Author
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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