Possible problem with dual-boot/secure-boot

Hi everybody,

I´ve encountered a curious problem lately. The situation is as follows:

A little while ago a friend of mine purchased a more or less inexpensive Laptop (HP 15-db0400ng ). It really struggled to cope with WIN10 (already installed on it). So we decided to put BodhiLinux (64bit) on the machine. That worked well and the laptop performs better that it ever did. So far so good.

Now for the sake of covering all eventualities we decided to retain WIN10 and install BodhiLinux in dual-boot-mode. The internal HDD is 1TB in size after all.

As my friend lives a bit far from me we don´t see each other as often as could be wished for. Nevertheless every time I´m at her house I take look at her laptop in order to update it (amongst other things). I´ve never had any difficulties in booting up that thing.

I have to add that in order to get the WLAN-card working I had to disable secure boot. That´s no problem as my friend doesn´t really want to use WIN10 any more.
So all she has to do is press the ON/OFF-button and BodhinLinux starts alright (it´s the first one as far as boot-order is concerned).

But last time I came to my friend´s house and looked after her laptop the strangest thing happened.
Before initiating the boot-process an internal message popped up. Sadly it went away too soon so I cannot remember exactly what it referred to but it didn´t look good.
Nevertheless Bodhi started, but: no WLAN was found.

The WLAN driver didn´t load into the kernel and that was due to one particular problem: secure-boot was suddenly enabled!

I could fix that and as soon as it was disabled again (including entering a given password in order to maintain the setting) Bodhi loaded the respective driver and WLAN was available again. Everything O.K. now.

What strikes me as odd is the fact that this already happened twice. Plus: my friend literally swears that she hadn´t touched her laptop in between.

So may question is: Is it possible at all that secure-boot gets re-enabled all by itself after a while :question: I really cannot imagine that but would like to listen to your opinion.

Thanks a lot in advance .

Greetings.
Rosika :slightly_smiling_face:

First of all, a personal comment: I experienced the exact same with my Laptop! :smile:

To the issue in question

I think I remember Windows 10 sometimes turning on shit by itself. For example, sometimes it changes the HDD boot order in my UEFI (really annoying). As far as I remember, it can also turn on Secure Boot. Not sure about that, though.
Especially, since I have secure boot turned off since ever and it never bothered me with both Linux or Windows. I don’t think it needs to be on for Windows 10 to work. Else I wouldn’t be able to boot into my Windows 10.
Maybe you can look up if others have experienced that Windows 10 is turning ON secure boot, when launched.

Worst case scenarios

  1. Laptop turns it on by itself.
  2. Mainboard battery is faulty/empty and it resets UEFI/BIOS settings after a while or on each change.
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You may have to go into bios and set a supervisor password and reboot and go into bios and then disable secure boot. Once secure boot is disabled you can then change the supervisor password and leave it blank to disable the the supervisor password.
Without the supervisor password, anything under the security tab in bios, like secure boot, will only be effective until the next boot. One can also enable legacy boot for W10 but the drive will have to have a msdos partition table instead of gpt.

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@Akito:
Thanks a lot for your reply.

Yes, I think you´re right as I experienced that phenomenon as well. I once started WIN (after the dual-boot-installation) and there it was: the HDD boot-order was changed to the effect that WIN was put as number one. I had to change that again manually. It´s more than annoying.

Ah, that sounds interesting. But how exactly? Does WIN have to be started in order to do that? After all my friend definitely says she hadn´t done anything like that…
If WIN could do such a thing without having been run that would be be outright scandalous. :angry:

I think we can rule out that one as the laptop is quite new. My friend purchased it only a few months ago.
Although now you mention that it occurs to me that Bodhi´s clock initially displayed the incorect time…

Greetings.
Rosika :smile:

@4dandl4:
Hi Daniel and thanks for your reply as well.

Yes, that´s true. When disabling secure-boot in the bios or rather uefi that´s accepted. But when turning on the laptop after that I´m asked to confirm the new setting by entering a dedicated password which is presented in the displayed text segment.
That must be the supervisor password you referred to.

I always entered that PW in order to make the change peristent. So theoretically that should be O.K.

Curious though:
When booting up Bodhi even after two weeks or so everything was O.K.
Yet the last time the scenario as described was presented to me.
What I want to say is that this weird behaviour isn´t always the case…
Very strange…

Thanks a lot.
Many greetings.
Rosika :smile:

Is Bodhi time and Windows time in sync? Where I live, Windows uses local time and Linux uses UTC time. Have you tried another distro?

@4dandl4:
Hi Daniel,

Well, it´s not easy to tell.
Due to the fact that I only have access to my friend´s laptop when I´m at her house I can just tell you what my memory allows me to. :blush:
I recollect that the time Bodhi displayed was off not just by an hour or two but the minutes weren´t correct either. As far as I can remember the clock was fast…

And as WIN was never started, at least not by me, I have no reference to that. Sorry.

Plus: I haven´t tried another distro.
Bodhi turns out to be an ideal distro (low specs) for a very weak machine like the HP 15-db0400ng.

I actually wanted to know your opinion about whether it´s possible at all that secure-boot re-enables itself.
But following this discussion (and it´s my opinion as well) I think that shouldn´t be possible due to the fact that the supervisor password was set after disabling secure-boot and thus making this setting persistent.

Greetings.
Roska :slightly_smiling_face:

OK, Rosika, does your friend actually use or even wants W10 on this laptop? The specs on that HP 15 are not that bad, as I read them, it should handle W10 or any Linux they may want, but not necessarily in a dual boot configuration, especially with W10 Home, which I believe the machine has. If it were my machine, I know what I would do. Will be looking to hear from you. Daniel.

@4dandl4:
Hi Daniel. Thanks for your reply.

Background:

Well, my friend doesn´t have any experience at all with computers but last year she joined a local PC learning group for senior citizens in our town. That´s when she purchased the laptop.
She turned to me for help as the computer course didn´t really meet her needs.

So she started with WIN10 (or rather I did on her behalf).
So I know from personal experience that the laptop didn´t perform well. You had to wait well over a minute (rather 2 minutes) before firefox even started.
The same was true for almost any other application.
Plus: the forced updates mostly rendered the machine almost unusuable during the update process (which often lasted for more than 2 hrs).
These are only a few points. There were more… :cry:

To sum up: The machine was far from being acceptable for my friend.

Having had quite some experience with Bodhi VM I suggested to use this one. The difference in performance between the two OSes couldn´t be bigger. Tha laptop performs smoothly without any hiccups and is usuable to a hitherto unknown degree. Just perfect. :blush:
It´s only secure-boot that´s become something of an issue.

I think I can safely say “no”. In the beginnig I wanted to keep WIN - just to be on the safe side. I didn´t know whether she wanted to revert to it some day. But in the meantime I think WIN has become obsolete for her. So Linux (Bodhi in particular) is the way to go.

Please tell. I´d very much like to hear your opinion.

Thanks for your help.
Greetings.
Rosika :slightly_smiling_face:

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Good Morning Rosika
I also have had issues with W10 when trying to upgrade an older PC, especially laptops and notebooks. I have had to deal with several laptops, and the W10 forced updates are a killer for these machines.
The only viable solution that I see for you and your friend is to wipe W10 and use Linux to run the PC. If you could get the machine back into a W10 only boot, then you might want to do a W10 system image to an external drive, for safe keeping.
You would also want to make sure the machine’s bios will support leagcy boot, instead of UEFI.
Use gparted from a live Linux DVD to wipe and reformat the drive, install msdos partition table before reformatting.
The choice of Linux is very subjective, and this machine should run any Linux you throw at it, I for one, am partial to either 64bit Mint Cinnamon or Mate, simply because they are both easy to install and use.
A 1tb drive, if that is what is in that machine, is a lot of drive for a Linux install. You can either use the entire drive or make up to four partitions on the drive. Hope this will help. Daniel.

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You can just make the machine run Linux only and additionally leave a Windows To Go USB stick, in case Windows is really needed, some day.

You could, but from what I gather, the owner of this laptop has no desire to save anything that resembles Windows. Bodhi would not be my choice of Linux to run either. The real issue and challenge will be in getting the laptop to run without Windows.

Why would that be an issue?

@4dandl4:
@Akito:

First of all: thanks a lot to both of you for your input. It´s much appreciated. :+1:

O.K., that may be possible. Yet in the meantime I think it´s not as important anymore as my friend seems to be confident with Linux by now.

Yes, I was thinking along those lines, too. Sound good.

Well, I wouldn´t have thought of that I have to admit. Especially installing msdos partition table before reformatting. Thanks for that hint.
Being a little unsure about that I found a nice how-to on https://askubuntu.com/questions/509006/how-can-i-check-and-change-the-partition-table-type .

Thanks. I might look into that.

Well, taking the specs into account (http://www.bodhilinux.com/w/system-requirements/ ) I must say it´s very light on resources and it works really well.
Of course this choice is subjective, too. The Moksha desktop doesn´t please everyone I have to admit… :blush:

Many greetings.
Rosika :slightly_smiling_face:

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Bodhi is way down on the Distrowatch list, do not confuse “light weight”, go with a more active distro. I would venture to guess that MX Linux, with XFCe, or Lubuntu would perform just as well.
One word, I have changed a couple of laptops, for friends, and with consent, with the owner the HDD was pulled and a small SSD was installed for Linux. They now have the HDD, to reinstall if so desired, and a very fast SSD to run Linux. Good Luck. Daniel.

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Oh my, if I only had known.

I´ve been using Lubuntu (presently 18.04.4 LTS, 64bit) myself for years and I am more than pleased with it. It´s running smoothly on my machine (Lenovo-H520e).
Yet in view of the fact that my friend´s HP-laptop really did so badly with WIN10 I thought of BodhiLinux with its low specs.
So: good to know that Lubuntu might work as well. I´l take that into consideration.

Thanks again and greetings.
Rosika :slightly_smiling_face:

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Thanks for the vote of confidence!!! Your friends laptop may be suffering more from other issues, than from W10. Is their any chance to get your friend to log into W10 and open run and type “winver” in the box and hit enter? Just curious to see what W10 version is being used.W10 Version

Looking at the specs of the Laptop, I am not surprised it can’t run Windows 10. 4GB is just not enough. (Same situation with my laptop.) I would really recommend a Windows To Go USB Stick for emergencies and then only running Linux on the laptop, in almost all cases. (Exactly the way I do it.)

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I have W10 Pro 64bit running on an SSD with 4G ram and it runs just fine. The bottlneck is the HDD, replace it with an SSD and the results are phenomenal, even with just 4g of ram.

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With W10 Home you can’t turn off bloat and tracking features (officially), which makes the machine slower.

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