Asus VivoBook E403S running linux

Asus VivoBook E403S

**UPDATE*
The new kernel has issues with the touchpad and so the new kernel isn’t a perfect fix. Also DKMS does not like kernel 4.5; the solution would be to find the driver for the touchpad and adapt it for the original kernel release with ubuntu. This guide is void… for now.

After some faffing around with an Ubuntu 14.04 installation on a memory stick, I have managed to get it working quite well with the VivoBook. Here’s a rough guide about how I got this working.

The good thing about installing Ubuntu on a stick is you can install it separately from your notebooks’ harddrive and not worry about installing it on the already crowded SSD. This also allows you to not worry about a bad installation messing up your MBR and GPT’s.
Secondly, you can expand on the internal RAM by creating “swapfiles” as a virtual memory in Ubuntu.

*Disclaimer – If you follow this guide, I can take no responsibility for your devices/software/data/equipment from breakages/loss/malfunction. You do so at your own risk.


The Usb

Some background on the USB;

It is a standalone Ubuntu installation on a 32gb USB 3.0 stick. I managed this by removing all drives from another computer and installing the OS from a Ubuntu Live stick.

I had to remove the installation drive from the fstab file in order to get a smooth boot and allow the system forget mounting a non-existent drive.

etc/fstab

This drive now works on almost any computer that I boot it with, making it quite a versatile OS.


Preparing the VivoBook

This step was a bit tricky as we needed to get into the BIOS. Restart the device and hit the esc key. If windows boots up, you have gone too far. Once into the bios, you need to:

Disable FastBoot
Secure Boot Menu -> Disable Secure Boot - Do not delete the keys
Enable CSM

Now you are able to plug in your Ubuntu OS stick, and boot into it by pressing esc, and choosing the drive in the boot menu. Pressing enter will allow you to boot the stick.

If you have got this far, you will probably notice how grub loads well and but Ubuntu will not. It will either freeze or throw up a white screen; you need a new kernel.


Preparing Ubuntu

To get Ubuntu running on your VivoBook, you will need to upgrade to a newer kernel as the older kernels don’t support some of the new hardware on your VivoBook.

To do this, boot up your Ubuntu stick on a computer that you know, works. You will need to have internet access in order to download the files you need.

Currently Ubuntu ships with Kernel 3.18 which gives a white screen on boot. I then tried 4.2.5 stable which booted once ever 4 tries, and when it did boot through, the mouse pointer didn’t work. I then tried 4.5 wily and it seemed to do the trick. This is how you install the 4.5 kernel to your system.

Copy and paste the text below into the terminal. This will download the headers and kernel to the system.
Note: This is for a 64bit system. follow http://kernel.ubuntu.com and change the address for your required architecture.

sudo wget http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v4.5-wily/linux-headers-4.5.0-040500_4.5.0-040500.201603140130_all.deb

sudo wget http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v4.5-wily/linux-headers-4.5.0-040500-generic_4.5.0-040500.201603140130_amd64.deb

sudo wget http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v4.5-wily/linux-image-4.5.0-040500-generic_4.5.0-040500.201603140130_amd64.deb

Next we need to build the newly downloaded kernel.

sudo dpkg -i *deb

Now finally we need to rebuild our grub menu. Issue this terminal command to do so.

sudo update-grub

If you notice a load of unwanted grub menu items, you can install ‘grub-customizer’ from the Ubuntu app store and carefully remove them.

Issue a reboot and load the new kernel and make sure it boots up fine.


 

Now you should be able to boot into Ubuntu on your VivoBook.

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