Precision 5520 with Ubuntu - Some Topics

I just received a new Precision 5520 with the pre-installed Ubuntu 16.04, which I ordered (touch screen, M.2 SSD, i7).

Unfortunately, I'm missing 3 things:
1) fully encrypted file system - without that, I'm not allowed to use the laptop
2) touch pad reacting on 3 finger gestures (such as 3 fingers up/down doing Super+W)
3) the standard Ubuntu shortcuts with Super (such as pressing Super a little longer shows all shortcuts)

Since I'm not a Linux expert, I thought there might be 2 options:
a) installing standard Ubuntu (16.04 or 16.10)
b) re-installing via Dell recovery image

For a), some threads on reddit and here indicate manual work and unknown missing parts compared to b) - so for now that's too complicated for me.

For b), I hoped to get at least the encrypted file system, but unfortunately I'm not even able to create a bootable USB stick (via another Ubuntu laptop using Startup Disk Creator) with that image. Works for Ubuntu ISOs, but for the Dell ISO (downloaded 2x to verify, since Dell doesn't provide checksums) when trying to boot the 5520, the message "isolinux.bin missing or corrupt." appears.

Any help?


6 Replies

RE: Precision 5520 with Ubuntu - Some Topics

I think <b> is the right approach to solve your encryption problem.  The reinstallation utility will let you pick your own partition layout but you won't get a recovery partition in the process.  I think that should be fine for you.

Dell's image does not support legacy mode.  When you're trying to boot the image, if it's referring to anything about isolinux, then you are booting in legacy mode.  Dell only uses GRUB2 in UEFI mode for booting.

When you've created the USB disk, a few things to check:

1) Is the disk FAT32?  UEFI can only boot FAT32 disks.

2) Do you have an efi/ directory in the root of your partiion on the USB disk?  The efi/ directory is where the GRUB2 bootloader is stored that is loaded when you boot off the disk in UEFI mode.

If you have an efi directory, when you select the F12 post menu are you seeing the USB disk show up under the UEFI section?  You should.  That bootloader will offer an option for "Dell Recovery".

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RE: Precision 5520 with Ubuntu - Some Topics

The USB stick with the Dell recovery image didn't show up in UEFI boot mode in the Precision 5520, but the Ubuntu sticks were shown.

The Ubuntu Disk tool said "Hidden HPFS/NTFS (Bootable)" partition for the stick with Dell recovery image, generated by Startup Disk Creator. In comparison, the Ubuntu sticks generated by the same tool had 2 partitions: Bootable and a small FAT partition.

-> I formated a stick to be FAT and copied the content of Dell's ISO image to that stick -> was finally shown during booting

During recovery I was able to select full encryption for the device. And the standard Ubuntu shortcuts with Super are working.


The desktop has a "Prepare for shipping to end user" icon, which requires a password (for the OEM user) I don't know.

What now?

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RE: Precision 5520 with Ubuntu - Some Topics

Well, I just installed the current beta of Ubuntu 17.04 and it works out of the box (did not test for symptoms reported somewhere else).

Edit: Multi touch does not work, but that seems to be a typical Ubuntu topic.

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RE: Precision 5520 with Ubuntu - Some Topics


Few days ago I received my Dell Precision 5520. It came with a pre-installed ubuntu 16.04. The weird thing is that when booting the first time, I can only login as a guest user by pressing enter key. I can't sudo or do anything useful.

The disk has 3 partitions:

/dev/sda1 (EFI partition type - FAT32 - 524MB)

/dev/sda2 (Basic Data type - FAT32 - 3.2GB)

/dev/sda3 (Linux Filesystem Ext4)

I guess the second partition holds the recovery image, isn't it?

I am tempted to reinstall ubuntu on the third partition, but feel like I would be missing some specific dell drivers that wouldn't be present from the general ubuntu 16.04 distro?

What should I do?

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RE: Precision 5520 with Ubuntu - Some Topics

For some reason when I added myself to the www-data group my sudoers access was removed. I used the following to fix it.


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RE: Precision 5520 with Ubuntu - Some Topics


Mario asked me to engage. Please send me a friend request if you still need help with the guest user concern.

Justin C

Dell Technical Support L3 | Project Sputnik

Dell Support is also on Twitter! https://twitter.com/DellCaresPRO


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