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Lenovo IdeaPad isn't a good idea

Discussion in 'Random Nonsense' started by booman, Dec 28, 2017.

  1. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    Please avoid Lenovo IdeaPad and any other laptop/tablet that has eMMC INAND hard drives. Specially the Lenovo IdeaPad 100. It is only $150-$200 and looks beautiful on the outside, but on the inside its nasty!

    I thought I would post this to warn anyone who is looking for a cheap laptop. These are definitely CHEAP!
    But what you don't realize is that it comes with 32GB of hard drive space that is extremely stubborn.

    Windows will fill up around 12-20 GB of space on this drive, leaving you with less than 12 GB for files and applications.

    It also has a 32 bit UEFI which is not very flexible with other Operating Systems.

    My co worker had some strange issues booting up Windows 10 because the hard drive was full. So I thought "I'll just do a clean installation and refresh it to free up some space"

    MISTAKE!

    I've spend many hours formatting, partitioning, booting and trial-n-error to refresh this thing. Man I've been doing fresh installs for over 10 years now and never had a problem until now. The strange thing is... that 32-bit UEFI allows you to boot Linux from a USB just fine. You can partition the INAND drive and install Linux, but there was not way it was ever going to boot. Not with Mint that is...

    Maybe Ubuntu or Arch Linux would work, but I really wanted Mint on there and it refused to boot even after 4 installations and tweaking around.

    Do a search and you'll find many many posts about people with the same problem. In the end, I was able to re-install Windows 10 64-bit and it works.

    Here is how I did it:

    1. Create a bootable USB with Windows 10 64-bit on it
    2. Go to: https://svn.code.sf.net/p/edk2/code/trunk/edk2/ShellBinPkg/UefiShell/X64/
    3. Format another flash drive as FAT32
    4. Copy shell.efi to it
    5. Rename to SHELLX64.EFI
    6. Boot with EFI as priority
    7. Disable Secure Boot
    8. System will automatically boot from SHELLX64.EFI and start Windows Setup from the 1st USB drive.
    9. Install Windows
  2. cloasters

    cloasters Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for another GREAT tutorial, booman!

    More than a few store brand computers refuse to really run the mighty Linux. My last Lenovo desktop insisted on saying "duuh" when I tried to use Linux. Homemade or custom made by a local outfit are far better at the mighty "L". If only I knew how to disable the Intel tiny yet easily offensive back door into the heart of the CPU.

    I have a friend with essentially the same custom made box, it's giving him hell under Win10 when he tries to go online.
    Really a severe problem that's only fixable for a very short time. Who knows, we may have another convert to Linux soon.
    I've not suggested it because he's always been an MS user. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
  3. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    I can't believe computer makers would handicap us with a limited UEFI and SSD. It didn't even have a replacable hard drive. There is an M.2 port for a second hard drive, but it still isn't the bootable drive like the SSD.
    I just never been so frustrated with installing Linux and I didn't even have success with that.
  4. cloasters

    cloasters Well-Known Member

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    It's a conspiracy with MS and Intel doing their best to ignore/destroy Linux. At least that's my theory. Not that I wish in any way to badmouth the owners of the PC universe!
  5. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    Its possible, but why would they even care? Linux is no threat to Windows for the most part.
    Windows and Mac rule the industry.
    I know Chromebook is fairly successful... but still a small percentage.
  6. cloasters

    cloasters Well-Known Member

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    Oh, they care because any chink in their armor keeps them up at night. The Biggies, as in Amazon, Facebook, Intel, MS, Mac and more of them pretty much rule the world. "Pretty much" isn't enough for them. They want it all, and will probably get it. Me so happy!
  7. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    Thats true... I wonder why the nonprofit Linux puts a "chink" in their armor?
    Cause Linux has some innovation before Microsoft could even think of it?
  8. cloasters

    cloasters Well-Known Member

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    "MS can think of." That's a good one, booman, a genuine knee slapper. I remember being unpleasantly surprised when a friend of mine told me upon excellent information that back doors were included with the then new Win95.

    Naw, big as in huge business has only one real goal. Murder free speech, poverty-ize and or kill off those pesky little guys. I seriously doubt I'm wrong about this, unfortunately. Of course I have a definite bias in favor of the man in the street. Perhaps I'll be among the early folks who get "campized." I doubt that, I'm a very, very small fry. Third in line maybe. Shoot, don't listen to me, I'm a socialistic Bernie supporter! The most popular politician in America, btw.
  9. Kaitain

    Kaitain Active Member

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    Watch out for branding - Lenovo uses the IdeaPad name to cover a multitude of different styles ranging from chromebook style pieces of trash with eMMC storage, through to midrange normal notebooks with all the usual hardware and proper HDs. The midrange stuff is alright, once you've given them a Windows-ectomy and put something useful on them.

    Notes from my 6 year old Lenovo IdeaPad:
    • it pretends to have an EFI. It doesn't. It won't recognise GPT-partitioned discs even though it tells parted that it will
    • the AMD APU provides two separate radeon GPUs. The outputs are physically wired to the low-power GPU, so it is not possible to select the high power GPU only:
      • if using a binary distro, start the machine with either radeon.runpm=0 or amdgpu.runpm=0 on the kernel command line or rebuild it with vga_switcheroo support disabled. No idea why, but instead of exiting gracefully when no hardware mux is found, leaving vga_switcheroo enabled causes this antique Lenovo to freeze instead.
      • When wanting to run games/anything graphically intensive, calling DRI_PRIME=1 <program name> uses the better GPU.
      • However, struggling a little with steam - but that's because I'm not using an Ubuntu-based system and haven't built all the right x32 libraries yet.

    On the whole I'm rather impressed with the open source drivers, compared with my last foray into using them... a while ago.
  10. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    So do you think other manufacturer's are taking a similar route to make computers less expensive?

    This was the first computer that would not boot to Linux...
    Its rare when a computer doesn't boot to live USB either...

    Linux is compatible with 32-bit UEFI, but I couldn't make the necessary changes because Linux live USB couldn't modify the onboard SSD EFI partition.

    I'm going to avoid purchasing these cheap $100 laptops even though they look really nice. Anything with onboard SSD drives is suspicous and I won't recommend them.

    Its interesting because I've read many many times that people have been using Linux on Chromebooks. Even with ARM CPU's and onboard SSD.
  11. Kaitain

    Kaitain Active Member

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    First off, eMMC is not SSD in the same way that an SD card is not an SSD. There are also some other features that chromebooks and entry level machines like this have in common, not least that they'll do really awkward things like enforce secure boot, with no keys other than MS keys available. Lenovo also seem to like making their EFIs look like BIOS, and burying the relevant settings.

    From what I understand, although I don't own that sort of IdeaPad, to get one of these working:
    - System must be using UEFI boot mode
    - Firmware TPM enabled BEFORE installation
    - Secure boot turned off, and remain off forevermore
    - Legacy option ROM disabled

    After that, and given enough blood sacrifices, it'll recognise your OS.

    As to whether other manufacturers will do the same - I think there always has been and always will be a market for bare-minimum laptops, either by people that know they're only going to do a "bit of light office work" or by parents that believe that by buying a hobbled machine, their kids won't find some way to play games on it...

    This old ideapad has a 1TB spinning rust disc though, while my main laptop has a 256GB Crucial SSD. The latter was the best upgrade I ever made...
  12. Gizmo

    Gizmo Chief Site Administrator Staff Member

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    Amen to that brother! Go tell it on the mountain! :D

    Seriously, I upgraded my son's 8-year-old lappy to an SSD and it was like he had a whole new machine.
  13. Daniel~

    Daniel~ Chief BBS Administrator Staff Member

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    George, they have absolutely nothing to do with the world I live in. Why on Earth would you want them in yours?
    Get yourself a better world!
    Get yourself a custom world and they won't even know where you live! ":O}

    When looking for new worlds to live in I find it very useful to venture out on clear nights and survey my realm amongst stars.

    I use to just go for the brightest star ...but I got stuck on Venus or mars, not sure which, for weeks waiting for another clear night!

    Not I play it a bit closer to my chest. I live in my own heart and give host to all the stars...just tell me which one you want or do as I do and take them all!!
  14. Daniel~

    Daniel~ Chief BBS Administrator Staff Member

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    I for one will never tell the young what the world of computing was like before SSD.
    I fear they wouldn't believe me or think me senile.
  15. Daniel~

    Daniel~ Chief BBS Administrator Staff Member

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    Sorry you got burnt Boo. It's a mean old world out there. Try to stay home more.":O}
  16. cloasters

    cloasters Well-Known Member

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    Oh I wish I could "wish upon a star" but for some ugly and unfair (get used to it cloasters!) reason both of my feet are mired in clay.
    All y'all SHOULDN'T be so lucky.

    I truly envy your "serenity" for lack of a better word, Dan. Thank you so VERY much for founding first AOA, and recently-ish GOL.
  17. Daniel~

    Daniel~ Chief BBS Administrator Staff Member

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    This post was moved to "The path I walk Topic."
  18. cloasters

    cloasters Well-Known Member

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    It is with an "Omm" that I approach the Now. Thank you very, very much for this wonderful post.
  19. Daniel~

    Daniel~ Chief BBS Administrator Staff Member

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    Why thank you George. I cleaned things up a bit, hopefully gained a bit of clarity.
  20. Gizmo

    Gizmo Chief Site Administrator Staff Member

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    Umm...............guys? With all due respect, can we stop pooping in threads? It's easy enough to create a whole new thread....:)

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