Install Linux on an Asus Rog (Windows 8.1)

This post is a complete step-to-step guide to install Linux on a Windows 8.1 Asus Rog (G551), in dual boot of course. The goal is to create a perfectly integrated Linux system with all hardware detected and functionnal. By default the Windows system will be loaded, but maintaining a key while the computer starts will bring a boot screen allowing the user to choose his system.

Windows 8 and 8.1 come with a new optional boot feature called Secure boot, which is “a security standard developed by members of the PC industry to help make sure that your PC boots using only software that is trusted by the PC manufacturer.” Great, and it is activated by most of the manufacturers by default. We’ll need to get rid of that.

Cinnamon 2.4 / Numix & Moka icons
Cinnamon 2.4 / Numix & Moka icons

Enter the BIOS

The first step is to enter your motherboard BIOS setup to deactivate the Secure Boot. Be advised, BIOS setup is the heart of your system boot, be sure to know what to do. All BIOS are specific to a motherboard, don’t be surprised if you don’t find here exactly the same options you may see on your side. However the main lines remain the same.

How to access the BIOS: on an Asus Rog G551JK, press the F2 key while booting. If the boot is too fast, wait for the loging screen and choose reboot while pressing the key again.

Once in the BIOS go to :

  • The SECURITY tab to DISable the Secure Boot Control.
  • The BOOT tab to ENable CSM and DISable PXE OpROM policy.

This should deactivate the Secure Boot: go the Security tab again to check the result. If it’s OK, press F10 the save and exit, the system will reboot. You are now ready, prepare for installation.

 

Windows partitions

In Windows, open the Disk Management tool to make some space for your Linux system. Choose a partition with free space left and shrink it (enter the amount of space to free and validate). I’ll suggest to give your Linux partition 100 GB. Once this is done you’ll see an amount of unallocated space on the right of your partition.

No need to create the partition right now, you’ll do it in the Linux installer. Close the tool.

Create your LiveUSB

You can find a lot of tools to create LiveUSB key (Unetbootin, Rawrite32, LiveUsb Creator…), i’ll suggest Rufus, which can handle GPT partition for UEFI Boot computers.

Download your favorite distro ISO and burn it to a 2 GB USB drive (minimum) through Rufus, choosing the “GPT partition for UEFI computers” option. I have tested a complete installation with two distros : LinuxMint 17.1 (Ubuntu based) and Korora 21 (a Fedora spin with enhanced software selection). These two distros deliver a very different installation experience.

Boot on USB

Shutdown the computer, plug your USB drive and press the ESC key during the boot to display the boot choice : select “UEFI : name of your drive“. The Grub screen appears. Select your Linux system and…

  • LinuxMint Live ISO will generally boot immediately, with a correct detection of your screen resolution.
  • Korora or Fedora will try to use the NVidia Nouveau drivers and will crash at boot (at least on an Asus Rog with NVidia card and the Optimus technology.

In any case, if the boot fails or if the screen remains blank, you just need to deactivate the default kernel mode setting:

  • Reboot while pressing ESC key, choose your USB drive, load Grub and press ‘e‘ or Tab key (according to systems) on the selected line to edit it.
  • In the first line of text displayed, you’ll need to change the modeset affected to your chipset or video card from 1 to 0 (nvidia.modeset=0 or nouveau.modeset=0 etc.) or just add nomodeset at the end of the line.
  • Press Ctrl+X or Enter to boot with the new option. The login screen should appear. Resolution may be messy though, you’ll need to find the right graphic drivers once installation is completed.

Install Linux

I recommend the use of three partitions, to create on your unallocated space. Do not write or format any used partition!

sda5/6/7
sda7 is root, sda7 is /home, sda9 is swap | All the other partitions are Windows 8.1
  • Create a Root ext4 partition (/) of 25 to 40 max GB pour your system and programs. For a Mint install you must use this device for the boot loader. 
  • Create a Home ext4 partition (/home) for your documents and project (100 GB)
  • Create a swap partition of 8 GB.

In addition, a Korora/Fedora install will require :

  • Boot ext4 partition (/boot) of 500 MB
  • An EFI partition (/boot/efi) : you need to use the EFI partition used by Windows. The installer will add the Fedora boot loader. Most of the time this partition will be sda1.

You can trust the automatic partition creator of Fedora / Korora 21, it will use unallocated space at best. If you don’t appreciate the partition space allocation, wait for the installation to finished and use GParted to adapt.

Hardware drivers

Wifi, keyboard back-light, function keys… most components of the Asus Rog are functional. Graphic and sound may cause more issue however.

LinuxMint 17.1 & sound card: integrated Intel sound card will work at first but fails at some point, mostly if you plug the computer to an HDMI output. The only solution I found to get the sound back from the build-in analog source is to remove pulseaudio or pavucontrol and install gnome-alsamixer form the Software Manager. Reboot and you’re done.

Korora / Fedora 21 & graphic drivers: The Asus Rog G551 comes with the NVidia Optimus technology and you’ll need specific drivers to get the best of it. NVidia Nouveau (NVidia open source drivers) did not work during all my tests, I had to get rid of them. Proceed as follow:

  • Once Fedora/Korora is installed, boot your system but don’t log in.
  • Go to the CLI by pressing CTRL+ALT+F2 and enter login/password
  • Start with updating your system : sudo yum -y update
  • Reboot, re-connect in CLI and remove any kind of xorg-x11-drv-nvidia* entry: the technology you will use is incompatible with Nouveau drivers.
  • Now begin the Bumbledee installation (get the joke ?). Follow carefully the guide: install dependencies then Bumblebee with the NVIDIA proprietary drivers.
  • Reboot.

cinnamon-expo

Choose the boot order

That’s it, the last step will consist in going back to the BIOS to specify the boot order: “Boot > Boot Option Priorities”. Enter a line to edit it. If you installed several Linux distros and want to clean up the entries, select “Delete Boot Option” and make the obsolete one disappear.

cinnamon
Cinnamon 2.4 / Numix Blue with Faience
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2 thoughts on “Install Linux on an Asus Rog (Windows 8.1)

  1. Hi,

    I just got an ASUS G551JK, and installed Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon in it. I have disabled secureboot, enabled CSM and done all the shenanigan. But I can neither see Linux in the list of boot entries, nor do I get the grub screen at all. I even tried using EasyBCD to fix this, but had no luck.

    How did you get the grub to work?

    1. Hi,
      You can’t see an *Ubuntu entry after install, when pressing ESC at startup to display the boot options ? Only the Windows entry ? Weird. During the Mint install, did you chose the linux root partition (/) as grub bootloader ?

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