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Dual booting Linux Manjaro and Windows the Easy Way

Sounds too good to be true, but yes it’s true. You can dual boot Linux Manjaro and Windows the Easy Way by using an Insigina Dual Hard Drive Docking Station. In my previous article, I blogged about installing a Linux distro into an Alienware Aurora R8. After some trial and error and a few distros I managed to get Linux Manjaro installed.

It occur to me that I could dual boot using the Bios F-12 Option. Having one drive installed inside (Linux Manjaro) the R8 and one externally (Windows 10) I was able to boot either of the operating systems at my leisure. When the systems boots up you either do nothing or you select the the boot option. To select the boot option all you do is press the Function key 12 (F12) immediately when you see the Alienware logo, this will Bring up the boot option. I my case since I made the Linux Manjaro the main OS, then if I want Linux Manjaro to boot up I just leave it be. To boot up Windows 10, after pressing the F12 boot option, all I do is select the Windows Boot Manager to boot into the Windows 10 OS.

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Alienware Aurora R8 Linux Manjaro Install

One of the reason I’ve purchased my pre-build system was to run in Linux in a high-end system. Having done some on-line research about installing Linux distros in the newer Alienware Aurora R8., I’ve found out that not a lot of users have installed Linux or have failed trying to install Linux in an Alienware Aurora R8. Thus, I made it both a goal and a mission to do this install. I wanted to write and share my exploits with you. Prior to installing Linux Manjaro I had tried two other distributions. This first Linux installation (Debian 10 Buster) failed. The Second, Linux installation (Elementary OS) was aborted, I had the wrong CPU architecture load in the bootable USB.

I tried to install Debian 10 Buster into an Alienware Aurora R8 but this ended in failure. The failure [73.426159] hdaudio hdaudio COD2: Unable to bind the codec … most likely a device driver that was not loaded during install. This is fixable, in my next install I will prepare a second USB with the ISO images 2 & 3 readily available for the OS. Maybe this will help fix audio codec problem. Perhaps one of you out there know a better way. However, in virtual mode both Debian and Elementary OS install without any problems using virtualbox. I also want to add that you can do this installation directly to an external SSD or HD – and then boot up into the external device as a secondary OS.

First things first, a caution: The success or failure of this installation is largely determined by your technical knowledge. I Dr. Eric O. Flores shall bear no liability with regard to the success or failure of your installation. This is not for the faint heart, if you don’t know what you are doing don’t try it. Be aware that the instructions described below cannot guaranteed a successful installations. I shall bear no liability with regard to any damages incurred by you due to incorrectly installing the operating system. The installation is at your own risk. Once again, Install the operating system at your own risk. If you do not have the necessary installation experience and Linux know-how. I do not recommend you install Linux, have someone with the technical knowledge do it for you. In some cases opening the R8’s case will invalidate your warranty.

Linux Manjaro Alienware Aurora R8

Steps

  1. Download the required ISO files from Manjaro.org (i386/64 or AMD64)
  2. In a Windows system, download and install Balena Etcher into your windows system or laptop.
  3. Burn the Manjaro iso file i386/64 or AMD64 iso file to a USB using Balena etcher or similar type of software.
  4. If you are going to install an only Linux system, remove original HD or SSD from R8 (I used a blank 750GB Hard DIsk) – Insert your freshly purchased HD or SSD. I recommend one SSD of 500Gb for system files, and one 1TB or greater Hard Disk or greater for Home directories. If you don’t know how to partition your drives, then use the entire drive as the OS and Home. You can also do a dual boot installation, it is doable. I did my test install using a 750GB hard disk I had laying around.
  5. Prior to the installation you must prepare the BIOS.
    • Login into your BIOS R8’s screen.
    • Write down all of the current BIOS settings. (do this just in case you wish to return to your previous setup.)
    • Then proceed to make changes as described in step 6 below.
  6. Prepare the R8’s BIOS by disabling certain features that may conflict with the Linux Manjaro installation.
    • Ensure you are in legacy boot mode and not UEFI. (Legacy).
    • Disable secure boot
    • Enable USB support
    • Disable SATA operation, ensure you are in AHCI mode (change from RAID to ACHI).
    • Disable TPM firmware
  7. I don’t recommend you use WIFI during OS installation, connect the R8’s network card via cable directly to hub or router. Enable WIFI later after the installation is completed.
  8. Turn on system press F12
  9. Manually select USB device that has the Manjaro image. The OS will boot from the device selected.
  10. First, test the R8 with the live option, if you are satisfied with that you see then select the install option within the graphical user environment.
  11. The rest is easy just follow the prompts. Once the installation is complete you will be prompted to reboot.
  12. Reboot and login into your freshly installed Linux Manario desktop. Enjoy!
My Aurora R8 Setup with Linux Manjaro
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Manjaro Live Aurora R8

This morning, I woke up with a goal and a mission in mind. I started by installing Debian 10 into the the Alienware Aurora R8, then I tried Elementary OS. I had to stop the installation of the Elementary OS, because I’ve forgot that the bootable USB I had prepared was a AMD bootable USB and not an i386. The Debian 10 Buster install, from beginning till end worked and the install was complete. However, Debian 10 Buster failed the reboot. That’s another article in writing., I will explain the failure and how to fix it.

Manjaro Live / Aurora R8


Having two failures, I’ve decided to try Manjaro Linux Live. This distribution worked right out of the box., however, there are some BIOS changes that are required prior to start the live boot. Those are underlying BIOS settings which I will not mention until I get a full Linux boot installation working in my Aurora R8. Once I achieve this work, I will list all of my bios settings.

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New Toy, new way to run Linux

Two days ago, (01/10/2020) I received my new replacement Alienware Aurora R8 Desktop. If you have been following this blog, you know, that I like to build custom computers and retro-fit used one. However, I’ve have never purchased a brand new pre-build system for myself. This past 2019 Christmas I’ve decided to go all out and purchase one of the best brand name systems in the market. After some delivery hiccups, a dead on arrival Aurora R8 within 24 hours of plugin it, and then an additional few weeks to wait besides the two weeks I had waited for Dell to delivery this system. I’m in business with my new Alienware Aurora R8.

Elementary OS in Windows 10

This is not a review of the Alienware Aurora R8 Desktop, there are lots of those all over the Internet – especially in Youtube. This pieces is about elemenaryOS (refer to the above screen shot of elemearyOS in my windows 10 pc) running in a virtualbox within Windows 10. Personally, I don’t consider myself a Windows guru or power user. I’m more of a Linux enthusiast because that’s what I’ve been using for nearly twenty years plus. However, this is a new system and I do not want to mess around with it except within the Woodwinds 10 operation constrains that I have to live with.

In order to run Elementary OS in a virtual box within Windows 10. first ensure your Windows 10 is up-to-date. Second, download the Oracle VM virtual box software and install it in your Windows 10 environment. Third, download or better yet donate something to the Elementary OS project developers. Then download the elementaryOS iso. You can install elementary OS using Oracle VM virtual box directly from the iso image, or you can burn it to a USB or a CD/DVD whichever the case will be for you. Fourth step, proceed to install elemtaryOS in the windows virtual environment and you are all set to use Linux elementaryOS in a virtual box in your Windows 10 PC.

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24 Hours of use Already Bricked

Alienware Aurora R8 – What a big disappointment. The system was in use for less than 24 hours and it broke. The first update broke the system. Can you believe that? It’s a new system, it’s suppose to work and last for a few years before it breaks.

I had to contact Dell, and sadly request a return label. Remove the R8 from my computer desk and return to my custom build Debian 10 Buster Desktop (D10BD). A renewed system, with about 15 days of continuous use. Never had any flaws, it has never broken after an update. Both the hardware upgrades and software updates have actually made my D10BD better and faster. The point here is, reliability. After I renew or restore a used PC, I test the systems from a minimum of 48 up to a maximum of 72 continuous hours of use. During that time I am able to understand if the system is reliable or a simple lemon. During the initial burn in process I configure and update the systems. I ensure that what ever I build is good and reliable. Reliable systems will end-up in my on-line shop and lemons get parted in parts or discarded.

You all, already know the story of the R8, arrived 6 days late from the promised delivery date. Prior to that fiasco, I received and e-mail from Dell that the PC was going to be late like 14 January 2020. Finally, arrived, then brakes in less than 24 hours. That was a pre-build brand name system. I think, I should forget about buying pre-build brand name and concentrate on what I do best. Build my own.

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Oh My G_D! I don’t know Windows!

It’s been only a few hours since the Alienware Aurora R8 arrived. In this little time I have nothing but good things to say about it. Notably, I purchased a basic system, thus I will have upgrade the hardware to my liking with top-of-the line hardware.

However, there’s one thing I really dislike. I’m trying to make sense of it as I write this. I’ve just realized that I’ve forgotten everything I knew about Windows. The last time I officially used windows for personal use was during Windows 98. Since then, I officially moved to Linux, an OS I’ve been using since nearly it’s beginning. Yes, I use windows at work, but only from a professional user’s perspective, log-in, use MS office apps, create a report, modify a report, log-out, etc. However, the “Oh My G_D! I don’t know Windows!” It’s just sarcasm. I know the OS, I just opt to ignore using it.

Windows 10, in my opinion is worse than windows 98. I had little interactions with Windows 7, but what I’ve know from that Windows version is that it was good. Why I’ve like Linux? I liked Linux because I’m able to dive deep into the inner core of the operating system. I’m able to change things to my liking, from the OS up to the Desktop. Thus, when I configure a renewed or used system for a friend or customer I make sure that they end-up with a system they can use with confidence.

I’m not referring to the point-and-click aspects of customizing. I’m referring to the deep technical things I personally like to do with the OS. I can make it be what ever I like. I can make it work in which ever way I want.
It’s a matter of time (today) that I’ll be installing Debian 10 Buster, then, migrating all of my OS and Desktop modified files into it. In fact, I tell you this, the Linux OS is good, even with an old nearly obsolete hardware it performs flawlessly. Thus, with something new like this it will certainly out-perform the current OS by miles.

All the professional software I need is open source readily available for me to install. All of the entertainment software (most of the games I play) have been migrated to Linux. I no longer need a Windows PC laying around to play games. However, with some notable exceptions there are some quirts that developers need to resolve but those are works in progress . I’ll see what takes place tonight once I’ve install Linux into this system.

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Alienware Aurora R8

Alienware Aurora R8

Today, finally, the Alienware Aurora R8 arrived. Unfortunately, arrived 6 day late from the original promised delivery date. That’s better than 45 days later. This is the second time around I purchase pre-build system. However, I always upgrade all pre-builts to my liking. I got it up and in running in a matter of minutes. However, it’s running Windows 10. That’s going out some time this week. There are a few upgrade in mind besides replacing or dual booting Linux with Windows 10. Or, maybe in the end I’ll running one Debian in a virtual box.

I’m not going to review this system, there are many on-line sources targeting and reviewing the Aurora R8. There are also a few sources describing several upgrades such as memory, SSD’s and Fans. The later (the fans) to be were quiet as it can be. However, a quick look inside I discovered that the graphical unit (GPU) – looks like or seems to be some type of Generic GPU. I’ll have to review this during the weekend and perhaps replaced with a worthy upgrade.

I can build a system of equal or better specifications, but, for some reason this system appealed to me. I did some extensive research. I found out that just about every person that has purchased the Aurora had nothing but good things to say. However, I will judge that later when I get Debian fully configured and running in this system.

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Keeping the promise brings more business down the road

Having a combined experience of 37 years in and out of the PC business. Mostly as as a system integrator., I know for a fact that building my own computer from scratch is the only way to go. In a recent post “Cyber Monday Disappointments with Dell and Steam,” I’ve complained about two on-line transactions I did for two different products. One has been really an eye-sore to me.

First, the original purchase date was set for twenty days down the road. Ok., with that in mind I’ve decided to completely forget about this and let the days go by. A few days prior to the promised delivery date – the vendor (in this case Dell) sent an e-mail with another 20 days delayed delivery. Another blow. A few days ago they sent another e-mail with a promised delivery day of 23 December., that day came and went. The news and disappointments now come’s from their delivery company FedEx. This delivery company has the system but opted to deliver it a few days past the promised delivery day. Another blow…

Yup, building your own system is the best choice, however, there’s a problem here. There are only a few vendor choices in Colorado from which you can purchase parts to build your own system. With that in mind, it’s best to plan a build with enough time in hand. My recommendations is not to purchase things during the holidays. Perhaps, the goods traffic is high causing in-route delays. Then you have to count for major holidays as goods may not flow fast enough to arrive on time during those days.

However, when a company promises something to a customers they better deliver. Specially if that company is a big brand name – reputation is on the line here. When I build systems for family or friends, I give then a delivery date that I can always deliver on. I plan the build with enough time to spare, but I always deliver before the promised day. I realize, I’m just one guy building one or two systems every once in a while. However, once I give a delivery date, is best to keep the promise and not disappoint your customers. Keeping the promise brings more business down the road.

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The Flexibility of the Linux Desktop

Flexibility is the key to success – An operating systems that allows you to easily make changes as you see fit, that in my book is a winner.  The Linux operating system and its assortment of distributions do offer that specific flexibility.  Even the distributions which are kind of restrictive, under the hood you have the ability to change what ever you see fit to your liking.

I realize that to some it may sound a bit technical but in reality that is not the case. There are various command that one can use through the terminal to change the desktop.  There are also various tools that allow to do the same thing through the graphical interface.   

With all that said, instead of reinventing the wheel let me just steer you towards the on-line articles that I have found to be useful source of information on changing the desktop.  Like I always say, there are many on-line sources that have the right information for one to follow and learn from.

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Used, refurbish, and renewed. What does it mean?

Last week, I spend my time doing both refurbishing and renewing four systems. However, before I continue let’s briefly discuss what the meaning of used, refurbish, and renewed means. A used computer is nothing more than a commodity that has been previously owned by either an individual or an organization. Once a computer is sold or given away it’s considered used.

A refurbished computer on the other hand may be also considered used, it depends where it came from. The aspect of refurbishment solely centers around the re-distribution of products. Usually refurbishment deals with electronics and electrical devices. Mostly those electronics and electrical devices have been previously returned to the vendor, or to a manufacturer. The reasons could be from unsatisfied customers or the devices were, like not sold in the market. Many times newer products render the returned device obsolete. In some cases refurbished devices are repaired by a qualified technician or the original manufacturer and resold.

Renewed computers can be considered both used and refurbished, again, it all depends where the system came from and in what conditions it was. Renewed from my perspective means to renovate or restore but not to repair. Why? You are taking a used computer and you are restoring it to either its original condition or you are renovating to something else and in the process making it look like new.

Repair on the other hands means that you have taken a broken system, troubleshoot, then replace the broken parts. Therefore, the computer system will return to operation as it was before. When you go beyond the repair and renovate or restore then you can say it was refurbished or renewed.

Before you discard your unwanted computer consider recycling. If you recycle then recycle the proper way. However, try to keep it from going into a landfill. You can recycle by selling it, passing it down to someone in your family, or donating it to a worthy non-profit. My main objective is to keep the computer(s) from ending in a landfill, giving it a newer life cycle. With all that said, keep in mind that restoring implies taking something back to the way it formerly was. Renewing, implies to go beyond it’s original condition and transforming it into a newer and better system. With those terms in mind, I hope that this article will help you make better informed purchasing decision in a near future.