Mint 20.1 Clean Install on UEFI BIOS with Secure Boot

Video

Remarks

Linux Mint is one of the most popular Linux distributions and the Cinnamon Desktop has a traditional user-interface working well for Desktops and systems which operate with keyboard and mouse. It has some shortcomings when it comes to using a 2 in 1 convertible laptop device. I have found solutions to some of these problems but it isn't at current the best Desktop Environment for a 2 in 1 convertible laptop device.

Create a Bootable USB (Windows)

You will need to download the Mint 20.1 ISO and need to use Rufus to make the Bootable USB:

Press [Ctrl] + [ f ] on the Downloads page and search for your country or a country nearby. Then select one of the local servers.

To the top of the page, select verify your ISO:

Select the Version:

Select the text file containing the ISO Checksums:

You will get the ISO checksums:

Once you have downloaded the ISO and Rufus. Launch Rufus:

Accept the User Account Control Prompt:

Select your USB Flash Drive:

Select, select:

Load your Mint 20.1 ISO:

Select the ISO Checksums button:

The SHA256 should match that shown in the text file. If not you have a corrupt download and should try again.

Change the Partition Scheme to GPT and the File System to FAT32:

Select Start:

Select Write in ISO Mode and select OK:

Select OK to format the USB Flash Drive:

When Finished it will say Ready:

Create a Bootable USB (Mint)

You will need to download the Mint 20.1 ISO:

Press [Ctrl] + [ f ] on the Downloads page and search for your country or a country nearby. Then select one of the local servers.

To the top of the page, select verify your ISO:

Select the Version:

Select the text file containing the ISO Checksums:

You will get the ISO checksums:

Once you have downloaded the ISO. Right click it and select Check SHA256.

The checksum will display, you can highlight it, right click it and select copy:

You can then open your browser and press [Ctrl] and [ f ] and paste in the checksum. It should find a match on the webpage if the Checksum is correct.

To make a Bootable USB, right click the ISO and select Make Bootable USB Stick:

To the left hand side, your ISO should be selected:

To the right hand side, select your USB flash drive:

Select Write:

Input your password and select Authenticate:

Your Bootable USB is created, select OK and then Close:

Unified Extensive Firmware Interface (UEFI) Settings

All Computers Manufactured in 2012 or later have a Unified Extensive Firmware Interface (UEFI). Make sure your UEFI BIOS is updated to the latest version before attempting to install Mint as a number of UEFI BIOS Updates resolve some common Boot Issues:

Attach your Bootable USB and make sure your Dell PC is powered down. Then power it up and press [F2] to get into the UEFI setup.

Look for Advanced Boot Options and make sure Enable Legacy Option ROMs is Disabled.

Look for Secure Boot and Ensure that it is Enabled:

Next go to Boot Sequence. It should be set to UEFI. Your Mint USB (in my case the SanDisk USB) should display. If you have old versions of Linux they will also display. Uncheck your Bootable USB and highlight any old Linux or Windows installations you want to remove and select Delete Boot Option.

Expand System Configuration and go to SATA Operation. The storage controller must be set to AHCI:

The Mint installer doesn't support RAID (Intel Rapid Response Technology) If it is enabled the Mint installer will halt and tell you to disable Intel RST.

We can use Dell Data Wipe for a more through wipe of all internal drives than the Format within the Mint install. To do this select the Maintenance Tag and then go to Data Wipe, select Wipe on Next Boot.

Note the Dell Data Wipe does not touch USB Flash Drives or USB External Drives.

Note that only models manufactured in 2016 or later have Dell Data Wipe.

Select OK:

Select No (to proceed):

Then select Apply and confirm the changes and then Exit:

Select Continue:

Select Erase:

If you have only internal SSDs the Data Wipe will proceed quickly (less than a minute normally) however if you have an internal HDD or HSSD it may take several hours.

Select OK:

Booting from your Mint USB

Power up your Dell and press [F12]:

Select your Bootable USB under UEFI Boot:

Select Mint:

It will load the setup:

Installing Mint

Select Install Mint:

Select your keyboard layout and select Next:

Select your wireless network and select Connect:

Input your wireless password and select Connect:

Select Continue:

Check Install third-party software for graphics and Wi-Fi hardware and additional media formats:

The Mint Boot 20 is signed to pass Secure Boot but some of the codecs used and third party graphics drivers are not. You will get limited functionality without these.

The Mint install can enable these and we can still use Secure Boot. To do this the Mint setup which will create a boot entry that include the media codecs and any applicable third party drivers for your hardware and prompt you to create a Machine Owner Key (MOK).

During the first Boot of the Mint install the UEFI BIOS will inform you that there is a new Boot Entry but will only allow it to Boot if you authorise the Boot with the Machine Owner Key. This is a single instance verification, after it is initialised the UEFI BIOS will remember the Boot entry and automatically Boot.

In the next screen you can optionally select Advanced Features which allow encryption options:

Select Install Now:

Select Continue:

Select your time-zone:

Input your name, username and password. Note your username has to be all lower case. Select Continue:

The install will proceed:

Select Restart Now:

When this screen shows. Remove the installation media and then press [↵]. In my case I had to press [↵] twice on my Desktop and on my laptop I had to use the left click twice on the touchpad instead.

Machine Owner Key (MOK)

When Mint tries to Boot with the third party codecs it will be blocked by the UEFI BIOS. Select Enroll MOK:

Select Continue:

Select Yes to Enroll the key(s):

Input the password (note on my systems there is no indication on the screen for character input) and then press [↵]:

Then select Reboot:

First Time Boot

Mint should then boot:

You can close the Welcome Window:

Software Update

In the notification area, select the Update Mananger Icon:

select OK:

Select Install Updates:

Select Ok:

Input your password and select Authenticate:

Go to start and select the power icon:

Select Restart:

Themes

Select the settings icon from the Start Menu:

Select themes:

Change the Windows Borders, Icons, Controls, Mouse Pointer and Desktop to your desired settings:

Optimizing for Touchscreens

Auto-Rotating Screen and Touchscreen Input

By default automatic screen rotation is disabled. To enable it go to the settings tab and uncheck Disable Automatic Screen-Rotation:

On my XPS 13 9365 the screen now autorotates but the Touch Input did not automatically rotate alongside it. The touch point for the start button should move from the following location as the screen is rotated:

In my case it remained in the same location.

This makes it extremely frustrating to use the system in tablet mode or tent mode as you cannot scroll through a webpage or a pdf properly. Behind the scenes, the auto-rotation sensor is built into the Linux kernel and the screen rotates but the touch input doesn't. This can be fixed by using the KDE auto-rotate script which will add a service that will reconfigure both the screen rotation and touch input in response to the rotation sensor. It is designed for the KDE Desktop Environment but also works with the Cinnamon Desktop Environment using in Linux Mint:

Download the zip file from GitHub:

Right click the zip file and select extract here:

Go to the extracted folder:

Double click to open the file:

Select Run in Terminal:

The Terminal will for a few seconds and then you will have automatic screen rotation:

FireFox Touch Input Settings

The FireFox browser is terrible with Touchscreen, as the touch input highlights text instead of scrolling.

The main issue is that FireFox uses a terrible input method by default. FireFox has other input methods that actually work with Touchscreen. To switch to the working input method, open up a terminal and type in:

echo export MOZ_USE_XINPUT2=1 | sudo tee /etc/profile.d/use-xinput2.sh

Then restart.

Enabling the Touchscreen Keyboard

The TouchScreen Keyboard in the Cinnamon Desktop environment is unfortunately way behind that showcased in the GNOME3 Desktop Environment particularly with Fedora 34.

Open Settings, select Accessibility:

Then select the Keyboard tab:

There are two settings in Interaction Mode, show the keyboard only when the user activates it and show the keyboard anytime something expects an input. The second setting is a bit temperamental so I would recommend using the first (default) setting.

You can change the keyboard position by default it is at the top and occupies a third of the screen. The rest of the OS works better with this setting as the panel is at the bottom. If you change the location to the bottom, you will cover the start menu and panel.

You can also enable the keyboard indicators for Cap Locks and Num Lock:

The touchscreen keyboard button does not display on the panel. To enable this, right click the panel and select Applets:

In the list select On Screen Keyboard and select Add:

You can now turn on and off the touchscreen keyboard:

It is also possible to add the Accessibility Menu to the Panel:

Which will give the following options including the onscreen keyboard:

Other Touchscreen Issues

The inbuilt Cinnamon scrollbars for example in the Start Menu, don't respond well to Touch Input. They can be widen but unfortunately they still don't respond so well.

Installing the Chromium Browser

The Chromium browser gives a superior touchscreen response than FireFox.

To install software go to the software store:

Then search for Chromium:

Select Install. You should now have the Chromium Web Browser:

UEFI BIOS Settings for Thunderbolt Dell Dock Compatibility

Linux seems to have issues with Dell Thunderbolt Docks during Boot.

On my XPS 13 9365 with a TB16 or WD19TB the system hung during Boot when the Laptop Lid was open unless paradoxically Always Allow Dell Docks was Disabled and the Thunderbolt Security was set to No Security.

To change these setting, power up your Dell Laptop and press [F2] to enter the UEFI BIOS Setup:

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Select Dell Type-C Dock Configuration and change to the following:

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Select USB/Thunderbolt Configuration and change to the following:

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When the Laptop Lid was closed, Mint seemed to Boot but only return a Black Screen. i.e. no display was output. Likely a newer Firmware Update is required for these Thunderbolt Docks.

Booting the laptop without the Dock and then plugging the Dock it seems to work.

Linux Vendor Firmware Service

For newer systems you may be able to use the Linux Vendor Firmware Service to keep your UEFI BIOS and Firmware up to date. For more details see:

Multiple Monitors with Multiple Panels

If you have multiple monitors plugged in. Go to Settings and Display:

Select your second monitor and turn Active On:

Move to monitor to the desired location, for instance my monitor is to the left of my laptop display:

Right click the existing Panel and select Panel Settings:

Select Add New Panel:

Select the desired location, in my case I will select the bottom left location:

Right click the Panel and select Enable Panel Edit Mode and then select Applets:

Then Add your Desired Applets, they will all appear on the right hand side:

The Menu and Show Desktop are added to the left hand side, we can drag and drop them over to the right hand side:

Once satisfied, right click the Panel and Disable Panel Edit Mode:

You should now have a New Panel on each Display:

Note multiple monitors with different resolutions do not work well in Linux. e.g. the XPS 13 9365 display which is a high resolution screen does not work with a lower resolution desktop screen. This is a problem with the Linux Kernel and at present is a problem on all Linux distributions.

Creating a Windows 10 UEFI Bootable USB in Mint

From time to time there have been questions asking how to reinstall Windows and there have been numerous issues due to the fact that the install.wim within the Windows 10 direct download link ISO often exceeds 4.0 GB and therefore cannot fit on a FAT32 Bootable USB (some utilities will truncate the file making corrupt installation media and others will change the file system to NTFS so the file can fit getting rejected by Secure Boot).

I have created an up to date guide with instructions on either creating a UEFI Bootable USB that passes Secure Boot or a Legacy BIOS Bootable USB.