Installing Linux on my new Aspire 5 A515-55

I have been trying to install Linux on my new Aspire 5 A515-55 laptop.  I have so far tried 4 different main stream Linux distros (OpenSuse,Fedora, KDE Neon and Manjaro), but each time the installer fails to find the SSD drive.  As far as I can see there are no BIOS settings relating to the hard drive that I could change.  Can anyone help?

FAQ & Answers

  • egydiocoelhoegydiocoelho ACE Posts: 87,541 Trailblazer
    Hello! First create a new partition, using windows disk management:

    Then disable wireless and then uninstall the intel rapid storage programs and the optane memory program under "uninstall or change a program". Then, disable fast startup in the power options. Then restart windows with wireless disabled.
    Then, press windows + r and type msconfig. Go to system startup and enable safeboot. Restart windows again. Then, access the bios, go to the main tab, press ctrl + s and change the sata mode to ahci.
    Oi! Eu não sou sou a cortana! Mas estou aqui para ajudar! Hi! I'm not the cortana! But I'm here to help!
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  • aphanicaphanic Member Posts: 959 Seasoned Specialist
    I have been trying to install Linux [...] but each time the installer fails to find the SSD drive.  As far as I can see there are no BIOS settings relating to the hard drive that I could change.

    Sounds like your drive is in RST mode. There are 2 possible options, either switch to AHCI if you can (some laptops can't), pressing Ctrl+S in the Main tab at the BIOS shows you an option to do so. You'd need to reinstall Windows if it is installed though, that's a major change I'm afraid.

    Or, access the drive using mdadm, under Linux it's as if the drive were in a software RAID. This whitepaper may help: https://www.intel.com/content/dam/www/public/us/en/documents/white-papers/rst-linux-paper.pdf
  • laserboy417laserboy417 Member Posts: 11

    Tinkerer

    Hi egydiocoelho and aphanic.  Thanks for your quick response.  I had rather assumed from other Linux forum posts that I would need to switch to AHCI, but couldn't see how.  I've checked and I can make the change in the BIOS using CTRL+s.  However, I am little confused by your different approaches to it.  aphanic suggests simply switching to AHCI in the BIOS, but that this will screw up Windows, which I will then have to reinstall.  Whereas egydiocoelho suggests going through a series of steps prior to switching to AHCI and makes no mention of having to reinstall Windows afterwards.  Could one or other (or both) of you please clarify?  I would prefer not to have to reinstall Windows if it can be avoided.  Are there downsides to switching to AHCI?

    egydiocoelho, when you say "uninstall the intel rapid storage programs and the optane memory program" do you mean the Intel Optane Memory & Storage Management app?  Also when you say "Then, disable fast startup in the power options", do you mean disable safeboot in the BIOS?  If not, which power options do you mean and where do I find them?  What does msconfig do?

    aphanic, I've had a look at mdadm and it looks pretty complex on first examination.  So I think I'd prefer to explore the AHCI options first.

    Thanks again both of you for your help so far.





  • aphanicaphanic Member Posts: 959 Seasoned Specialist
    edited July 2020
    Software RAIDs can be complicated, but it's the way RST seems to be accessible. However, I found that as long as one has the time and patience to go through things they work out fine.

    The thing about Windows needing to be reinstalled isn't completely accurate. You can get away without reinstalling it, it involves some steps or paying the license of a program like Macrium's Reflect (the free version lacks the re-deploy feature), which prepares Windows to be booted in dissimilar hardware.

    Think of it as knowing your way to a place going through a street, but suddenly the street is no more (don't know why, say they built houses in the street). Even though there are other ways to get to that place, you (Windows) don't really know because you never expected houses to be built in a street so you don't look for other streets. As analogies go it wasn't very good, but I hope it serves its purpose haha.

    In this blog post you can find more info on how to go from AHCI to RAID, the steps you have to perform not to reinstall Windows, going in reverse requires the same: https://blog.workinghardinit.work/2018/11/28/moving-from-ahci-to-raid/

    As far as performance goes, I couldn't see anything meaningful when I did some tests back in the day; but I agree AHCI is certainly easier from a Linux standpoint, it just works.
  • egydiocoelhoegydiocoelho ACE Posts: 87,541 Trailblazer
    I don't like to make this type of change in regedit, as mentioned in the link published by colleague @aphanic. First, if your model has an optane memory installed, should you disable it: https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/articles/000024626/memory-and-storage.html?wapkw=disable%20memory%20optane
    If an optane memory is not installed, just follow these tips.
    I prefer to perform this procedure:
    a) disable wireless so that windows does not automatically download drivers and then uninstall Intel Optane Memory & Storage Management programs here, in uninstalling or changing a program:
    How to Get to the Old Uninstall Programs Panel on Windows 10
    b) Then, restart windows and then, and disable fast startup:
    Enable This Setting to Make Windows 10 Boot Up Faster
    c) Then press windows + r and type msconfig. Go to system startup and activate safeboot:
    How to access Safe Mode Windows 10 on startup
    d) Restart windows and then access the bios. Go to the main tab, press ctrl + s and change the sata mode to ahci.

    Note: it is not necessary to reinstall windows. Bsod will not occur, because windows will be booted using safe boot.
    Oi! Eu não sou sou a cortana! Mas estou aqui para ajudar! Hi! I'm not the cortana! But I'm here to help!
    Se você gostou da minha resposta, marque como solução clicando em sim! If you liked my answer, mark it as a solution by clicking on yes!
    Aceite somente a resposta que ajudou a solucionar o seu problema! Please accept only the response that helped to solve your problem!
    Detection tool click here to find the serial number or partnumber of your model!                                                          

               
      egydiocoelho Trailblazer
     
    ProductKey clique aqui para descobrir o serial do windows! click here to discover the windows serial!
    Para usuários da comunidade inglesa, espanhola, francesa e alemã, usarei o google tradutor! :)
    For users of the English, Spanish, French and German community, I will be using google translator! :) 
  • aphanicaphanic Member Posts: 959 Seasoned Specialist
    Another way to get to safe mode directly would be to...
    1. Open a Command Prompt or PowerShell window as admin (Win+X, it's in that list).
    2. Set the boot loader to go to safe boot:
      bcdedit /set {current} safeboot minimal
    3. Restart and get into the BIOS, switch the SATA opeartion mode, save changes and Windows goes into Safe Mode.
    4. Open the prompt again and remove the BCD value:
      bcdedit /deletevalue {current} safeboot
    5. Reboot and that's it.
    That blog post I linked to was probably useful back in the day, but there seems to be a better alternative (^^,)
  • laserboy417laserboy417 Member Posts: 11

    Tinkerer

    OK that all worked.
    When I rebooted into safe mode after changing to AHCI, it booted to a command prompt, which threw me.  So I decided to use aphanic's bcdedit to remove safe boot.  Not being great with Windows (I am a long time UNIX/Linux person - over 30 years!  My first UNIX system was a 286 PC running Microsoft Xenix - can't think where Bill Gates got his ideas from!  So I've always avoided Windows as much as possible, except as a fallback and am therefore not familiar with the all the tricks) I decided to type 'exit' at the command prompt, which gave me a blank screen.  So I just switched off and restarted, but then it booted to a blank screen (not even blue!).  I went into the BIOS and disabled both fast boot and secure boot and restarted and this time Windows booted.  So I then went back into the BIOS and, one step at a time re-enabled first fast boot, then secure boot and each time Windows started OK, so I don't know what was going on there.  I then booted a live image of Fedora Linux and low and behold I could now see the SSD drive in the disk partitioner.
    So thank you both for your wisdom and insight, it has been an interesting and educational journey.
  • aphanicaphanic Member Posts: 959 Seasoned Specialist
    edited July 2020
    So thank you both for your wisdom and insight, it has been an interesting and educational journey.

    I think I can speak in @egydiocoelho behalf as well when I say our pleasure :). I'm glad you can now use both without problem.

    You're lucky you chose Fedora, Ubuntu/Mint's Ubiquity installer will outright refuse to install if RST is enabled, not even if the destination of the installation is a secondary hard drive or through USB. The darn thing even touches the EFI partition in the main drive when installed into a different drive...

    I've been an Arch/Windows guy for the past 14 years I think, time flies it seems!
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