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kazakore
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31 27 2 4
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Elitebook 840 G2 can't boot Legacy Linux HDD

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Elitebook 850 G2

Not sure this is the best sub-forum for this post but as it relates to an Elitebook I've gone here over the OS or Hardware sub-forums....

 

I have just recntly purchased a secondhand Elitebook 840 G2 which came with Win8 installed on a 256GB SSD. The main reasons for going with this precise model is that it is compatible with some components from my old laptop I wished to upgrade to and from all reports I could find it should work flawlessly with Linux/Ubuntu (this can't be said for the G3 but it also wouldn't have taken my RAM.) Namely I have 16GB of DDR3L RAM and a 1TB SSD.

 

RAM fitted and fully tested as working correctly. I try installing the SSD and it wont boot! I know it's best to do a re-install but this is a fairly basic Linux install and as the relevant modules are loaded into the kernel on boot it should Just Work(tm) at least on the main. The laptop is not seeing it as having an bootable section at all, no matter which options I try in BIOS.

 

The SSD has two version of Linux installed on it and a GRUB2 bootloader. It was installed in Legacy mode in a Thinkpad X230 (so not too disimilar archetecture-wise to the Elitebook 840) and has been used in a Dell latitude D630 (so Core2Duo era) laptop which doesn't even support UEFI. Why wont this boot in the Elitebook 840 set to Legacy mode, as it should do and has in both the above mentioned laptops as well as others briefly for test pruposes?

 

I think I read about the G3 needing something set in the Custom Boot part of the BIOS, but I also read of others being able to book into their installed by using the F9 boot options and manually selecting the EFI when in one of the UEFI modes. This does not work for me as there are not EFIs listed to manually select! Another report said the G3 worked after a BIOS update, I have updated the machine to the latest BIOS but the fault persists.

 

So why wont my laptop run with the new HDD? Am I going to have to return it?

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kazakore
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31 27 2 4
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Success!!

 

I had had tried to enter the path as about and when pressing \ it didn't enter any character so I assumed it must be an illegal one for the path so I entered it using /s instead. I just thought to check that BIOS was seeing my keyboard layout correctly as UK but it wasn't, so found the corresponding key for the US layout. Once \EFI\ubuntu\grubx64.efi was entered using the correct slashes it works.

 

Thank you for all your time and patience. 🙂

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Huffer
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So you put in a 1 TB SSD that had previously been in another machine and had Linux installed on it and it will not boot up?

 

I am generally not able to swap hard drives with Linux on them over to a new machine and boot them up. Linux will enumerate the hardware of the drive a bit differently and if the hard drive is not identified precisely the same as in the prior install, Linux will refuse to boot. You can sometimes fix it by using a standalone GRUB boot disk and then modify the fstab and GRUB parameters once you get it booted but I would not punt on this laptop until you are unable to do a clean Linux install on it. What distro number are you using?

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kazakore
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"I am generally not able to swap hard drives with Linux on them over to a new machine and boot them up."

 

Really? I've rarely had issues doing so myself, except things not working completely such as tweeks having had to be made to get functions works (eg vol uo/down or display brightness) but that's the be expected. As I said this particular SSD has been used it two vastly different laptops extensively and I have booted up a handful of other machine on it briefly for testinig purposes (basic fault diagnostics when I haven't been able to get booting from USB to work for some reason.)

 

Even if the Linux install itself wouldn't load I would expect the machine, when set to Legacy mode, to check the MBR header and get the correct Bootloader and load up Grub.....

 

"What distro number are you using?"

 

Ubuntu Studio 16.04

4.4.0-93-lowlatency #116-Ubuntu SMP PREEMPT Fri Aug 11 22:13:00 UTC 2017 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

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kazakore
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I probably would have given it a fresh install some point soon anyway, but had hoped to not have to instantly and to do so in the partition I barely use first.But I can not really do a full HDD wipe and recreate the partition table as GPT rather than MBR due to me not having anywhere large enough to back up eveything on my Data partition. So far this has worried me that it simply isn't going to work with the MBR table so can you please confirm at leas that it should do without issue.

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So you are not even getting to a GRUB screen? The laptop should be able to see and boot to the 1 TB SSD with MBR partitioning  in Legacy mode. What brand of SSD is it? You may be seeing a compatibility issue with the SSD which unfortunately is hard to predict and diagnose. Its having no issue with the SSD it came with, right?

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kazakore
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"So you are not even getting to a GRUB screen?"

Nope.

 

 "The laptop should be able to see and boot to the 1 TB SSD with MBR partitioning  in Legacy mode."

From my previous experience that's what I thought.

 

"What brand of SSD is it? You may be seeing a compatibility issue with the SSD which unfortunately is hard to predict and diagnose."

Crucial CT1000MX200. At the time of purchase it seemed a more respectable (and more expensive) model so I'm hoping it's not this.

 

"Its having no issue with the SSD it came with, right?"

No it boots into Win8 fine off that.

 

 

The self diagnostics (both Quick and Full) have been run and passed for the 1TB disk though and it's seen fine by the BIOS.

 

 

 

Just found that it seems the issues I thought had only appeared with Linux and the Elitebooks at G3 have been around since at least G1 as well.....

 

http://fomori.org/blog/?p=892

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kazakore
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Crucial CT1000MX200SSD1

 

Seems the m.2 version of my SSD works so I hope the 2.5" SATA version would also work...

 

https://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Notebook-Software-and-How-To-Questions/elitebook-840-g2-m-2-ssd-size-a...

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kazakore
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Writing this now on the EB840G2. I have booted into my Ubuntu install by putting the SSD in an external caddy and booting from USB. It still wont work when installed internally though! That proves at least that GRUB and the Ubuntu install should work (well I say work, network drops out every 10-20 seconds so already it's obvious not everything is correct.) It also doesn't prove the drive is compatible as it uses the controller of the caddy, not of the disk itself.

Starting to think my next step may be trying to follow one of the MBR to GPT conversion tutorials.... Unless anybody has any other ideas??

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Crucial MX SSDs are known to have issues...that is an MX200 and I think we see problems with the MX100 and 200 not so much the 300 series. That SSD must have cost a fortune back when it was new. 

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kazakore
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"That SSD must have cost a fortune back when it was new."

 

I was surprised to find out that most current 1TB SSDs seem to cost about the same as this cost me something over two years ago (just before the Asia flooding that greatly affected HDD prices for a while.) IE in the region of £300. But yeah, I'd consider that a lot for storage!

 

 

"Crucial MX SSDs are known to have issues...that is an MX200 and I think we see problems with the MX100 and 200 not so much the 300 series."

Really? At the time they seemed to be the more respected when researching forums at the time. It was all still pretty new and untested then though. I also see the MX300 is listed on Crucial's website as being a confirmed working replacement SSD for this model so had hoped the MX200 wouldn't be too much different.

 

So any suggestions or you just think this SSD wont work at all? Seems strange th BIOS and self diagnostics see it fine. It it only as a boot drive it is likely to have issues, so might getting a small m2 drive for the OS and using the fully 1TB for data storage be a possible solution? I admit I'd much rather not go this method! Possibly even to the extent of returning the laptop instead as all online purchases are protected by a 14 day returns policy here in the UK......

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