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1 Copper

Area-51m, help installing Linux as Dual Boot

I'm trying to install Linux Mint as a dual boot on my Area 51m. It is a RAID 0 configuration with 2 M.2 SSDs. I already shrunk my Windows partition by ~200GB. I also disabled Safe Boot. When I get to the partitioning stage of the installer for Linux Mint, it crashes. When I try using GParted it can't see any drives besides the USB stick. Is there something else I need to do in order for Linux to see the empty space on the RAID array?

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7 Gold

Re: Help Installing Linux as Dual Boot on Area 51m

I don't think Linux supports the Intel Rapid Storage driver that's required in order to use the system in RAID mode and therefore use a RAID 0 setup, which is probably why you're not seeing any disks.  You'd have to switch the system to AHCI mode, that would of course prevent you from using RAID and force you to reinstall Windows on a single drive.  That actually might not be as big of a performance drop as it sounds, though, because I'm not sure how much of a benefit RAID 0 even gives you in that system to begin with.  The reason is that modern NVMe SSDs can nearly saturate a PCIe x4 interface singlehandedly anyway, and even if that system has a PCIe x4 interface to each slot, typically those would both run into a PCIe switch that then only had a single x4 interface upstream to the chipset -- so you end up with having up to x4 bandwidth to each SSD, but only x4 bandwidth total across both SSDs.  In that setup, RAID 0 buys you little if any extra performance.  I suppose it's possible that your system has independent x4 interfaces for each slot all the way back to the chipset, but I consider that unlikely, although benchmarks should make it clear.

All that said, you should also be aware though that Linux might not work properly at all on that system even if you address the storage issue.  This thread was created based on an attempt to install Linux on an m15, and as you can see, a Dell rep responded in that thread with this: "I reached out to the Alienware Team. Dell Alienware do not support Linux on the 2019 m15/m17/Area-51m. Note, we never offered Linux support on the previous 26 Alienware Laptops."

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1 Copper

Re: Help Installing Linux as Dual Boot on Area 51m

Thanks for the response. I think you're right about Linux not supporting the Intel RST driver. I found a solution using a program called mdadm that I'm going to try when I have the chance.

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3 Argentum

Re: Help Installing Linux as Dual Boot on Area 51m

I am interested in doing something similar for a 15 R2 built 2016.   I have 512 SSD, and a one TB spinning drive.  16 GB Ram.

I know that Alienware says they will not support Dual Boot.   I frequently boot Live USB versions of different versions of Linux, which seems to always work. 

I have been looking at AOMEI Partition Assistant, which says it is for Windows only, but seems to have an interesting means to choose which partition to boot from with Windows, although I have not tried it with Alienware, who did some-- things with the Firmware.  I should have bought an XPS and I understand there is no problem with Dual (or More) boot.  

I guess I should be haunting the Ubuntu forums, although likely not specific to Alienware hardware/Firmware issues for dual boot.  For Clues.

I wanted to suggest the possibility of using AOMEI stuff for booting, partitions.   And to say please let me know what you find out.  I do not have a lot of ability to research all this.  

Also the standard setting in firmware I now have to boot from SSD and use the One TB drive is AHCI.

I have proceeding on the idea of getting it to allow me to dual boot Windows from either drive.   Then installing Linux over the other drive.  Or even being able to boot and run Windows from an external drive, which is also not part of what Alienware is supposed to do.  <Non public info removed>

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8 Xenon

Re: Help Installing Linux as Dual Boot on Area 51m

Install Ubuntu alongside windows.

http://releases.ubuntu.com/18.04/ubuntu-18.04.3-desktop-amd64.iso

You have to shrink the windows partition BEFORE trying to install via diskmgmt.msc

https://www.tecmint.com/install-ubuntu-alongside-with-windows-dual-boot/

 

 

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1 Copper

Re: Help Installing Linux as Dual Boot on Area 51m

Great NEWS!!!... Area 51m dual boot works perfectly with the Ubuntu 19.10 distro... This distro is pre-installed with the required Nvidia GPU and WiFi drivers. To try or install Ubuntu 19.10 from a USP flash drive, use the "safe graphics" mode option. It will recognize the RTX-20xx GPU with no problem. If you don't the initial startup display will not be readable.

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1 Copper

Re: Help Installing Linux as Dual Boot on Area 51m

I thought it would be helpful to provide more info on how I dual boot my Area 51m.

For safety, I installed Ubuntu 19.10 on the 1TB "D:" drive. This will insure you don't mess up the RAID "C:" drive where windows 10 is currently installed.
- And, I shrunk the "D:" by 1/3 (300 GB) to make room for my Linux / Ubuntu environment

*** First, you will need to enter BIOS to turn off Secure Boot ****
1. On power-up, Press "F12" immediately when "Alienware" is displayed on screen.
2. Go to menu item "Bios Setup" and press "Enter".
3. Change "Secure Boot" setting to (equal) "Disabled"
4. Press "F10" to save and exit

For Newbies, this video is a great guide to let you know the remaining steps you will need to perform... Make sure to select the "safe graphics" mode when accessing Ubuntu from your USB drive.
*** How to Dual Boot Windows 10 and Ubuntu***
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSVV_EoApdo

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1 Copper

Re: Help Installing Linux as Dual Boot on Area 51m

Interested in how you installed Linux with the SATA configuration set to RAID.

AFAIK, the Ubuntu installer won't recognize the SSD until the SATA configuration in the BIOS is set from RAID to AHCI. The idea is to set Win 10 to boot in safe mode- viz:

Right click cmd command prompt and Run as Administrator
To force a persistent safe mode boot type bcdedit /set {current} safeboot minimal
Restart the machine press F12 on the dell logo screen to pull up the boot options
Select BIOS Setup
Expand System Configuration and select SATA operation
Switch from RAID to AHCI and click Apply
Save and exit.

What is supposed to happen is that the AHCI drivers are installed; then to get out of safemode one types  bcdedit /deletevalue {current} safeboot and after another restart under Device Manager, there should now be a Standard NVM Express Controller device under Storage Controllers.

However, for me, windows does not recognize the hard drive (even in safe mode) and so launches SupportAssist that does a hardware check.

So, how did you avoid this? Many thanks for your guidance.

 

 

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1 Copper

Re: Help Installing Linux as Dual Boot on Area 51m

Does this void warranty?

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1 Copper

Re: Help Installing Linux as Dual Boot on Area 51m

Hi @Gee Man,

 

Did you try ubuntu 18 or you went straight to 19?

 

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