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Toshiba Satellite S855-S5378
This UEFI laptop with Windows 8 preinstalled emphasizes top CPU performance over graphics, and is offered at good prices when on sale at the big box stores. Ubuntu 12.10 64 bit and Ubuntu 12.04.2 64 bit will secure boot on this machine when it has the 6.60 firmware. Fedora also has a secure bootable version, but this was not tested.
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|Name||Toshiba Satellite S855|
|Processor||Intel I7-3630QM Third generation, hyperthreaded quad core|
|Screen||15.6“ 1366×768, 16:9 aspect ratio, Supports 720p content|
|RAM||8G DDR3 1600MHz memory|
|HDD||750G (5400rpm, Serial ATA)|
|Optical Drive||DVD Super-Multi (+/-R double layer)|
|Graphics||Built in Intel 4000 (Ivy Bridge), HDMI and RGB output|
|Network||10/100/1000 Ethernet, Wireless 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth V4.0|
|Processor||Yes||Seen as eight CPUs in System Monitor|
|Screen||Yes||Booted Ubuntu 12.10 64bit with no video adjustments|
|HDD||Yes||Accessed by USB booting, to leave Windows boot functional|
|Graphics Chip||Yes||Intel Ivy Bridge graphics V4000|
|HDMI Port||Yes||The standard display tool allows dual monitor use|
|Sound||Yes||Both speakers and headphones worked|
|Headphone Jack||Yes||Properly turned off speakers when used|
|Ethernet||Yes||Alx driver will be included in first update kernel 3.5.0-26 definitely has it|
|Wireless||Yes||RTL8723 support not yet on Realtek web site, dropbox download available|
|Bluetooth||Yes||Connected to BT mouse with no problems|
|USB||Yes||One USB2.0 with sleep and charge, Two USB3.0 (usable as 2.0)|
|Card Reader||Yes||SD Card is picked up as the next free sd disk instead of mmcblk device|
|Webcam||Yes||Offers to take a picture of user during setup|
|Touch Pad||Yes||Scroll on edges|
|Disable Secure Boot||Yes||Not necessary to disable for booting/installing Ubuntu 12.10 64 bit live media|
|Enable Legacy Boot||No||Only UEFI mode is present|
The laptop firmware version must be 6.60+ (the EC firmware is OK at 6.10). Update the firmware if lower than 6.60 since there was a key/database problem.
The boot order is the only change to make in the UEFI settings, putting USB and DVD before HDD. The default settings on the 12.10 or 12.0.2 live media booted the “Try Ubuntu” flawlessly. Unfortunately, the Ubuntu live media persistence was broken, so use a second USB for data transfers. From the Windows side, shrink the big 700G partition (disk manager, R click, select shrink) to make room for the Linux install (minimum 20G suggested, bigger as needed). Back up the EFI partition, so you can restore it easily (typically after each install).
Ubuntu 13.04 supports the 8723 wireless chip and the 81861 ethernet even on the live media. For older distributions, have the downloaded wireless driver source file available on a USB stick:
wget -O- http://dl.dropbox.com/u/57056576/DRIVERS/REALTEK/rtl_92ce_92se_92de_8723ae_linux_mac80211_0007.0809.2012.tar.gz
After installing the rtl8723e driver for wireless, the first update will pull in a working alx driver for ethernet. Installation of the alx driver is possible from the compat-wireless package, but doing so may conflict with wireless.
1. Boot – Get to the UEFI setup (exactly like the old BIOS screens) with:
Settings/Power/Shift Restart/Trouble Shoot/Advanced/UEFI and reboots into UEFI (or F12 at startup and select settings). Change the boot order to USB/DVD/HDD so your live media boots. No change was necessary to the Secure Boot setting to install Ubuntu.
Lots of things can go wrong, leaving the machine unbootable, so immediately make a copy of the original working EFI setup. Insert live media with machine off, and power on. Mount the efi partition, (sda2 below) and make a copy of everything to a USB data stick (mounted at sdc1 in below code).
sudo mkdir /mnt/sda2 sudo mount -tvfat /dev/sda2 /mnt/sda2 cd /mnt/sda2
ls should list only the EFI directory.
sudo cp -r EFI /mnt/sdc1/EFIorigbackup
2. Install Ubuntu – This currently (March 30, 2013) will break the Windows boot, so either manually fix the EFI files, or use a tool like boot-repair. Installing to a USB stick (NOT the USB live-media creation), without creating an EFI partition on the stick will result in using the hard disk's EFI partition, overwriting the Windows boot with an Ubuntu stick boot – not desirable. Backup the EFI/ubuntu files and the EFI/Boot directory again. A second install might fix the windows boot, but leave the EFI/ubuntu diretory corrupted (fix (deletes) it with repeated runs of:
With an EFI partition on the stick, the hard disk's EFI partition will still be the one mounted by the 13.04 installer. Install from the “Try” desktop, have a terminal running on the side, and just unmount the hard disk's EFI partition and mount the one on the stick at /boot/efi before the installer copies any files to it. The created grub.cfg file will not have the windows boot menu items, add them but … didn't work. Maybe my setup? Manually setting up the EFI files on a stick, and then pointing the grub.cfg entries to the hard disk worked. Without the stick, Windows boots, with the stick, Ubuntu boots (off the hard disk). Expect to manually fix the grub.cfg devices with an editor before booting.
3. Wireless – Works from Ubuntu 13.04+. For older distributions, cd to the mounted USB data stick with the
rtl_92ce_92se_92de_8723ae_linux_mac80211_0007.0809.2012.tar.gz file on it, unpack it, make the driver and install it.
tar -xzf rtl_92ce_92se_92de_8723ae_linux_mac80211_0007.0809.2012.tar.gz cd rtl_92ce_92se_92de_8723ae_linux_mac80211_0007.0809.2012 make sudo su make install
This keeps the driver on the USB stick so it can easily be reinstalled when booting the live media. (Necessary each boot since persistence is broken). Copy the directory to the hard disk for future installs, which will be necessary after each kernel update. You might need to explicitly add the rtl8723e driver:
sudo modprobe rtl8723e
4. Ethernet – Ethernet works with Ubuntu 13.04+. Older distributions, get the wireless working first, then the first update will bring in the alx driver. If you get the alx driver through the compat-wireless packages, it may interfere with wireless.
5. Intel graphics – Default settings worked with video. No other graphics card was present on this laptop.
6. Sound – Default settings worked fine, both speakers and headphones were functional.
Currently, the Ubuntu 12.10 grub2 bootloader on this machine will not boot Windows, so the approach is to keep the original EFI files for booting Windows, and have an Ubuntu EFI partition on a USB stick which can boot and run Ubuntu off the hard disk. Alternatively, a selection of OS can be made at boot time if you are quick enough on the F12, select HDD, then select ubuntu. This laptop comes with Windows 8 preinstalled, has only UEFI (no legacy BIOS), and implements secure boot.
If keeping the Windows 8 installation is required, only 64 bit Linux implementations which offer the secure boot installation option should be considered (Ubuntu and Fedora as of 3/2013).