Reports Emerge About Samsung Notebooks Bricking Through UEFI Linux Boots

by Ostatic Staff - Jan. 30, 2013

Ever since Microsoft's Windows 8 OS arrived, many Linux users have been asking which distribution they can download and install that will just work out of the box on their new certified Windows 8 machines. That's been a difficult question to answer, thanks to the whole UEFI Secure Boot BIOS implementation found in Windows 8 machines, which prompted last year's post "Will Windows 8 Lock Linux Out of PCs?"

The Linux Foundation and others have been slow about delivering solutions to the problem, but some Linux distributions have appeared that provide a reliable workaround. Now, though, there are reports that Samsung machines--which are popular among Windows 8 users--can be completely bricked if you attempt to boot just a single time via UEFI into Linux.

I myself inherited a Samsung Windows 8 machine that I'm running Linux on, but doing so through virtual machines. I've been following the issues with UEFI Secure Boot and Windows 8 closely.

As The H Open reports, there are cases where users attempting to put Linux on their Samsung Windows 8 machines are completely bricking them:

"Booting Linux using UEFI just once on various Samsung laptops is enough to permanently stop them working. Several reports have been posted on the Ubuntu bug tracker, but the problem is likely to also be present in other Linux distributions, as it appears to be caused by a kernel driver for Samsung laptops...Ubuntu developers were informed of the problem by one user last year, after he had tried to UEFI boot Ubuntu 12.04 or 12.04.1 on a Samsung 530U3C live from a USB flash drive...Since then, many more users have reported having bricked their laptops by trying to boot Linux."

It seems very likely that this problem affects Linux distros other than Ubuntu. For now, if you have a Samsung notebook, running Linux in a virtual machine through Virtual Box, VMware Player or another virtualization engine is probably your best bet.

There are more workarounds coming for UEFI Secure Boot and Linux, and there are reports that the Ubuntu team has spoken with Samsung about the issues. Still, concerns from last year about Linux users being locked out of Windows 8 machines have turned into reality.