Microsoft Reportedly Requires "Signature PCs" To Be Locked To Only Running Windows
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 21 September 2016 at 07:09 AM EDT. 75 Comments
HARDWARE --
Lately I've heard a few reports of some newer PCs being less than friendly with Linux, namely a number of Lenovo devices who have issues with installing Linux. Based upon new information that's come to light from a Phoronix reader, it appears that PCs receiving Microsoft's "Signature Edition" tag are being locked-out from running non-Windows platforms.

Ryan Farmer wrote in explaining that his Yoga 900 ISK2 UltraBook hasn't been able to see Linux installed over a proprietary RAID mode that's locked by the UEFI/BIOS of this ultrabook: Linux can't see the SSD. When contacting Lenovo, he was told by a Lenovo representative, "This system has a Signature Edition of Windows 10 Home installed. It is locked per our agreement with Microsoft."

Microsoft Signature Edition PCs are those that come without any pre-installed bloatware (per Microsoft's own description), comes protected with Windows Defender by default, ensures solid keyboard quality, meets Microsoft touchpad sensitivity standards, and meets other Windows hardware certification requirements. And according to this Lenovo representative, an unadvertised requirement is that it be locked to running Windows 10.

There is a wide assortment of Microsoft Signature Edition PCs from different vendors, including laptops, tablets, and desktops. Those interested in seeing the Signature Edition hardware can do so via the MicrosoftStore.com.

Some more bits of information can be found via this Ubuntu Forums thread. There's also been much discussion on the Lenovo Forums about other customers running into problems of being unable to install Ubuntu and other operating systems.

Update: It looks like the initial information from Lenovo was incorrect that it's likely not an intentional Linux block.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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