Aaron Mulder via plug on 9 Jan 2024 12:04:56 -0800

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[PLUG] Linux Install & school

So my son has a school-district issued computer — a very low-end Windows machine not a Chromebook.  It’s pretty locked down.  We were able to boot from an Ubuntu LiveUSB, which was nice.  We tried then installing Ubuntu to a second USB drive attached to the machine, so there could be a fixed install with room for permanent storage and all.  That part didn’t go well… it changed the system boot to Grub and then we couldn’t get into Windows any more (even if we selected Windows from the Grub menu, Windows wanted a BitLocker recovery key because it noticed the changes, and we don’t have that for the school machine).

I think the problem there is that the Ubuntu install changed the UEFI setup to put Grub higher in boot priority than Windows.  Though I’m not sure, I don’t think it removed or corrupted the Windows boot loader, I think it just set Grub to be a higher priority.  We couldn’t set it back because the UEFI menu is password-protected.  Why could the Ubuntu installer change the boot priority but we need a password to change it back?  No idea but dang that’s unfortunate.  We didn’t even want this change — we’d be happy to boot into Windows normally and use the advanced menus there to make it reboot to the USB drive when we want to get into Linux.

Anyway, now we’re in the process of trying to get that all working on a spare machine, and hopefully coming up with a Linux USB with some permanent storage that you could attach to a different Wintel machine and ask Windows to reboot to the USB and get a proper Linux environment.  We’ll see how well it handles hardware differences I guess — not yet sure if screen resolution and etc. are likely to be a problem.

I’m not recommending that anybody else mess up their district issued school computers… but it would be nice to get this all worked out.  :)

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