Installing Mint 14 and Windows 7 on Samsung Ultrabook Series 5 535U3C

After reading several articles about a firmware bug on Samsung Ultrabook Laptops, that would destroy the device when attempting to boot a Linux kernel, I was quite skeptical whether to get one or not. The price was tempting (499€) and the design and specs quite nice. But there exist these reports about a bug in the current firmware would brick certain Samsung laptops immediately if booted via UEFI. The device ships with a preinstalled Windows 8, which uses UEFI. For this reason installing Linux Mint (or any other distribution) bears a risk. As I work with Linux but for some tasks simply need a Windows installation (and this class of notebook is too weak for virtualization) I wanted both systems with dual boot. As I didn’t know for sure if my 535U3C was using the critical firmware, I pursued the following steps and ended up with a perfectly working device featuring Windows 7 and Mint Linux:

  1. You need two USB pen drives for convenience.
  2. Prepare a Linux Mint bootable USB stick with the Mint ISO
  3. Prepare a second USB stick with a Windows 7 ISO
  4. Boot the preinstalled Windows 8 and install latest BIOS update
  5. Reboot, press F2 and switch boot mode to CSM legacy mode
  6. Insert the Linux Live USB stick and boot from it.
  7. Install gdisk with sudo apt-get install gdisk
  8. Use it to remove the GPT as described here
  9. Reboot, attach the Windows 7 USB drive and boot from it
  10. The Windows 7 setup has a bug when booting from a USB stick (:-)). It will complain that no drivers are present to read the data from the drive (yes, the installation routine has already started… from this very drive…). Now unplug the USB stick and plug it into a different USB port. Then press Cancel and retry. Now it should work.
  11. Install Windows 7, then reboot
  12. Now install Mint Linux from the second drive just as usual
  13. Enjoy!


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