HP Pavilion dm1-4310: SSD installation, and fun with EFI Boot

HP Pavilion dm1-4310: SSD installation, and fun with EFI Boot

Summary: Not having had enough abuse from my new HP Pavilion dm1-4310ez, I decided to swap the original disk for an SSD. Then the real fun started with EFI booting.


First, a few loose ends.  I purchased this new laptop because it was what I wanted, and I had been watching for it for quite a while. I didn't want just any random laptop, or just whatever some OEM was willing to sell me without an operating system loaded. I wanted this particular one. I knew that Microsoft would get their cut of the money, because it was preloaded with Windows 8, and I knew that I would probably not actually use Windows, but that didn't matter to me. I was pleased that HP asked me to complete a 'Customer Satisfaction Survey', and in that survey I said that I thought they should offer to sell any system with no operating system installed. I understand that the logistics of distribution and support for offering multiple operating systems for all systems would be significant, but simply offering any computer with no operating system shouldn't be too difficult. I also understand that my suggestion will amount to somewhat less than urinating in the ocean, but it's the thought that counts...

So, now I have had this lovely new HP sub-notebook for a few days, and I have loaded and reloaded various Linux distributions on it a lot of times. One thing that impressed me about it was how fast it is, for this kind of system. It boots, runs, suspeds, wakes up and shuts down amazingly quickly. The hardware seems very solid too (did I mention that it doesn't have the accursed Synaptic ClickPad?), and although the Wi-Fi adapter is currently ahead of most Linux distributions, that won't last long. So I was starting to become pretty sure that this would turn out to be my new preferred notebook system. That gave me the idea of extracting the Samsung SSD from my Acer Aspire One 522 (AO 522), and putting it in this HP Pavilion to see how that goes.

Total time to change the HP Pavilion dm1-4310 disk: less than 10 minutes. I think I have died and gone to heaven.

Step number one in that process is extracting the SSD drive from the AO 522, which involves opening the case and remembering where I had put the original Acer hard drive, so I could put it back in again. That all took about an hour, but there were no major problems. Next job: opening the case of the Pavilion dm1-4310. A quick web search shows how trivial that is — especially compared to opening the AO 522. Slide the battery release tab and remove the battery. Slide the battery release tab again, and slide the bottom cover down. You're done, it's open. Seriously — less than a minute!  If only they were all this easy. One screw to remove the disk drive, disconnect the SATA/power cable, remove the frame from the disk and put it on the SSD drive, connect the cable and slide/screw it back into place. Put the bottom cover back on and slide it up to lock into place. Replace the battery. Total time to change the disk: less than 10 minutes. I think I have died and gone to heaven.

With that done, I started investigating UEFI booting a bit more carefully. On the first pass through this, I was only interested in getting Linux installed and working, but in doing that I had come up with more questions than answers. So this time I wanted to try a few more things before settling on the final configuration. The first question concerned the Legacy Boot BIOS configuration. I found that with this enabled, I could install and boot any of the four Linux distributions I have tested so far — Fedora 18 Beta, openSuSE 12.3 Milestone 1 (Build 232), Linux Mint 14.1 and Ubuntu 12.10. All of them boot from their Live USB stick, install to the SSD and then boot with no trouble. Good.

Next I went to the other extreme, disabled Legacy Boot and enabled Secure Boot. In this configuration, the Live USB media for Linux Mint and openSuSE wouldn't even try to boot as they don't have EFI bootloaders included. Fedora 18 Beta would try, but failed — the necessary security certification is not yet included on the 18 Beta distribution. But Ubuntu 12.10 booted with absolutely no problem. Hooray!

With UEFI Secure Boot enabled, the Live USB media for Linux Mint and openSUSE wouldn't even try to boot.

Finally, I tried the 'compromise' configuration — Legacy Boot disabled Secure Boot both disabled. In this configuration Fedora 18 Beta would boot and install, as would Ubuntu 12.10, and of course Mint and openSuSE would not. So, now I have three basic choices for the bootloader configuration: enable Legacy Boot and just treat it like any other laptop — as far as I can tell I can install anything I want; disable Legacy Boot and Secure Boot and install either Fedora or Ubuntu as the primary boot system; or enable Secure Boot and install Ubuntu as the primary system. I decided on the latter option, mostly because Fedora 18 is still Beta.

There was one final trick left to get all four distributions installed. After installing Ubuntu with UEFI Secure Boot, I had to switch the BIOS configuration back to Legacy Boot in order to boot the Live USB media and install the other distributions, and then switch it back to Secure Boot when the installation was done. I was then ready to boot Ubuntu again. After booting Ubuntu I ran update-grub to get it to look around on the disk, find the other installations and add them to the Grub configuration file. Nothing terribly difficult in that, just a bit tedious.

Of course, one of the primary reasons to change to an SSD drive is to improve speed, so I will wrap up with the same simple measurements of boot times that I gave in my original blog post:

Fedora: 0:28 boot / 0:10 login

openSuSE: 1:00 (boot direct to desktop, autologin)

Linux Mint: 0:12 boot / 0:10 login (Wow!)

Ubuntu: 0:15 boot / 0:10 login

These show a consistent improvement of about 25 percent in boot times, which is pretty nice.


Topics: Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems, Ubuntu

J.A. Watson

About J.A. Watson

I started working with what we called "analog computers" in aircraft maintenance with the United States Air Force in 1970. After finishing military service and returning to university, I was introduced to microprocessors and machine language programming on Intel 4040 processors. After that I also worked on, operated and programmed Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-8, PDP-11 (/45 and /70) and VAX minicomputers. I was involved with the first wave of Unix-based microcomputers, in the early '80s. I have been working in software development, operation, installation and support since then.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Please make sure SJVN reads this article

    Maybe then he will stop spreading FUD regarding Secure Boot, which is *only* a good thing.
    x I'm tc
    • Not so fast

      It came with a Windows license. Some users may want a dual boot configuration with Windows and Linux on two different partitions. That was not investigated at all.

      In addition, this is only ONE BIOS on ONE model from ONE OEM.

      Finally there is this matter of "embrace, extend and extinguish", which MS fan boys pretend is just a figment of someone's paranoid imagination.

      A new handle from an old poster?
    • All the "what if" scenarios have crumbled

      SJVN and his lapdog (dtlong, daiku, etc.) have been FUDding us for months with terrifying "what if scenarios".

      These scenarios have all crumbled. Installing Linux on Windows 8 certified hardware is easy. Very easy. If you have the technical capability to install Linux on non Windows 8 certified hardware, you have the technical capability to install Linux on Windows 8 certified hardware.

      But there is a simple way of proving me wrong. SJVN, dtlong, or one of the other lackeys simply has to admit that they don't have the technical capability to do what J.A. Watson did above. Come on guys, just admit it, you don't understand what he did and would be completely unable to do this yourself. If you won't admit to it, you've just destroyed your own FUD.
      • A fool, simply a fool.

        I have been doing dual/triple boots and have been swapping out hard drives/main boards ets., partition back ups and restores including boot sectors, re-detection of new/different HW since the days of OS/2.

        When my teenage son showed an interest in Linux, I showed him how to install it on separate partitions so he could dual boot Windows and Linux.

        How about you? Anything else stupid you wish to say?
        • You lose either way

          If you said it was difficult, you would look like an idiot.

          You said it was easy, proving that all this "can't install Linux on Windows 8 hardware" FUD that you and your buddy SJVN have been spreading is pure FUD. Thanks dtlong, you just proved yourself wrong.

          You heard it here folks, now from 2 people (JA Watson and dtlong): Installing Linus on Windows 8 hardware is EASY. MS has NOT been trying to block Linux installs. How do I know? Because dtlong just said so.
          • You take the idiot prize

            I said "dual boot Windows and Linux". I did not say anything about Windows 8. You are losing it, but that has been apparent for some time.

            And you did not lay out YOUR "technical capability", after challenging me on mine, which I disclosed. It look like the emperor has no clothes at all.

            You are truly pathetic, even as a MS shill.
          • Well then answer the question

            " I did not say anything about Windows 8. "

            My mistake, I thought my original question was clear enough. Regardless, answer the question:
            Do you believe you have the technical capability to pull off the amazing technical feat that JA Watson accomplished - the installation of Linux on a Windows 8 Certified PC?

            "And you did not lay out YOUR "technical capability"

            My technical capability is good enough to know how to turn off secure boot on a Windows 8 Certified PC and then install Linux on that PC. Now I'll wait for you to answer the question above to see if my technical capability surpasses yours.
          • toddbottom3 If your as good as you say you are at turning off

            Secure Boot on a Windows 8 Certified PC.

            Why haven't you shared this knowledge here on Zdnet rather than always trying to put down SJVN because you don't agree with what he says.

            I find most of your posts to be condasending to other peoples points of view. If you were as smart as you seem to think you are, youd be in a upper management position some where and not posting al day long here on Zdnet.

            If your so smart and so knowledgable on IT matters all you have to do is get a PayPal account and solve everyones problems with secure boot. Then maybe you'd be to busy to post here al day long.

            Start posting usefull information here instead of putting people down and than maybe people will RESPECT your knowledge more.
            Over and Out
          • Hi!

            Hello there!!!
            Loverock Davidson-
      • So how easy is it?

        So how easy is it for average Joe or Jane to understand what Jamie with over 30+ years experience in computer systems just wrote, easy/hard.

        Do explain your answer.
        • Turning off secure boot is the easiest part of it all

          The most difficult thing though is getting a copy of the installation media ready for install and figuring out the partitions. Remember, YOU were the one who is limiting the audience to Joe or Jane. Downloading the image, getting it onto DVD or USB in the correct format, then hoping that your PC is set to boot from DVD / USB before the hard drive is not simple for Joe and Jane. If they can figure those out (or has someone technical figure it out for them, as dtlong did with his son) then figuring out how to turn off secure boot is the easiest part of the process. Considering that desktop Linux is about to be surpassed by Windows 8 in marketshare, very few Joes and Janes will ever need to worry about this. In fact, every single story I've ever read where Joe or Jane gets Linux on their desktop is because some technical Linux evangelist like SJVN or dtlong has done it for them. If dtlong or SJVN have trouble turning off Secure Boot, they clearly aren't smart enough to be messing around with installing Linux.

          My issue has always been with SJVN framing the SecureBoot discussion as something MS has done for the sole purpose of making it difficult to install Linux on the hardware. I don't disagree that it adds 1 extra (simple) step, only that MS's intentions were to prevent Joe and Jane from installing Linux instead of the more likely explanation that SecureBoot was done for the exact same reason Chromebooks have secure boot: to increase security. Windows profits aren't being threatened by Joe and Jane installing Linux on the desktop. Windows profits are being threatened in many markets but desktop Linux is NOT one of them. Implementing SecureBoot will have 0 effect on Linux's pathetic desktop marketshare. Do you disagree?
          • Wrong AGAIN

            Downloading an ISO image and burning it to a CD is the easiest part, not the most difficult. Just about any burning SW will do that for you with minimal user input.

            The more challenging parts for the uninitiated can be repartitioning the drive, getting the best boot loader working for multi-booting and finally getting drivers for HW that at times are not recognized by Linux or not readily available.

            Finally, I am not "some technical Linux evangelist". As I have posted many times here, I have never had Linux installed on any of my systems, I still use Windows exclusively. I do however have considerable experience setting up hard drives in many different configurations, unlike you apparently.
          • Thanks for agreeing with me

            "The more challenging parts for the uninitiated can be repartitioning the drive"

            Every time you write a post, you end up proving my point.

            Turning off secure boot is easy. Said by no one, ever: "I would install Linux on my desktop except I can't figure out how to turn off SecureBoot."

            We could disagree about which step in the dozens of steps required to get Linux on a Windows PC is the most difficult but even you aren't arguing that turning off SecureBoot is the one.

            I notice you keep avoiding the question thought:
            Do you believe you have the technical capability to pull off the amazing technical feat that JA Watson accomplished - the installation of Linux on a Windows 8 Certified PC?

            Every time you don't answer that question, everyone on ZDNet asks themselves why? Is it that dtlong is technically incapable of doing so or is he avoiding the question because he knows that by answering it truthfully, he only proves himself wrong and proves Todd right?

            Don't answer my question, I dare you.
          • Todds Summary

            “2 people (JA Watson and dtlong)” -toddbottom3

            “In fact, every single story I've ever read where Joe or Jane gets Linux on their desktop is because some technical Linux evangelist like SJVN or dtlong has done it for them.” -toddbottom3

            From your above examples one needs 20+/30+ years (D.T. Long/JA Watson) experience to install Linux on a system with UEFI Secure boot or average Joe/Jane needs to have a evangelist to assist.

            Chromebook with Secure Boot where did you come up with that?
          • Your powers of deduction are weak

            "2 people (JA Watson and dtlong)"

            Nowhere did I suggest these were the only 2 stories I've heard. Not sure why you decided to make that one up.

            "to install Linux on a system with UEFI Secure boot"

            No, it has nothing to do with UEFI Secure Boot. You've ALWAYS needed a level of expertise above what Joe and Jane have in order to install ANY OS on a PC, yes, including Windows. In fact, I've been saying the exact opposite of what you suggested. UEFI Secure Boot is NOT complicated to disable, as we've had proven here for us by JA Watson. I'm still not sure if dtlong has the technical expertise to do it though, he is being extremely evasive. I wonder why?

            "Chromebook with Secure Boot where did you come up with that?"

            Because few would argue that Chromebooks come with SecureBoot enabled in order to improve security. This is to counter the argument that MS must have added secureboot for the sole purpose of blocking Linux. It is ridiculous because the security angle of secure boot, as proven by the existence of chromebook, is the more obvious explanation.

            I suspect we can all agree that MS is being attacked by Linux in the mobile world (and is losing). MS is being attacked by Linux in the server world and isn't winning every skirmish. These are markets where, if MS were feeling defensive, they would implement barriers to Linux adoption. Windows desktops are not being replaced in any significant numbers by Joes and Janes installing Linux. This simply isn't happening and so to suggest that MS is investing all this energy in SecureBoot in order to block Joe and Jane from installing Linux on a Windows desktop is ridiculous. The only place where desktop Linux is seeing any success is in the enterprise. Want to go on record as suggesting that the most junior of enterprise Linux IT professional would be stumped by SecureBoot? Go ahead, make my day.
          • Funny

            Where did I write "two stores" in my comment?

            Chromebook using Secure Boot, citations needed.
          • Don't try to reason with TB3

            He still thinks Gartner data is accurate, as opposed to the MS marketing tool it really is.
          • Actually, I have to disagree.

            The number of people I know who simply burn the ISO file as a file to an optical disc and not burn the image content is laughable. Then they wonder why the disc won't boot / install whatever software was supposed to be on there. You must be aware of people making that mistake. Even reasonably intelligent people; they just misunderstand the concept of an ISO.
      • Daiku [Processing, Sound]

        Thank you Toddsomething bottom version 3.0


        No votes Thats Sad... You did get 2 Flags You can be happy..
    • actually, this demonstrates exactly the opposite to be true

      The so called 'secure' bootloader does not exist. He demonstrated how to overwrite such a 'secure', original bootloader with his own and then have his way with the computer.

      If the intent is to prevent unauthorized boot, can you not just 'lock' the legacy bootloader ?

      If a potential thief just wants your data and he has your laptop, all he needs to do is walk away with the hard drive.

      So, really, there is nothing secure about all of this nonsense. It is just the corrupt fed agencies wanting to justify spending a lot of taxpayer dollars on worhtless garbage under some pretext or another, in this case security.