Installing Ubuntu on Asus S400CA Touch Ultrabook ( With UEFI)

I knew UEFI and dual booting would be a pain and will require a lot of workaround, but it turned out to be easier than I thought thanks to UEFI support in Ubuntu 12.10.1.

Here is how I installed Ubuntu on Asus S400CA touch Ultrabudget ultrabook. Ubuntu has truly turned this entry level machine into a powerhouse. It boots and operates at much faster speed compared to Windows 8.

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Shrink using windows your Existing Data Partition to make space for Ubuntu

Windows 8 makes several partitions on the hard drive for recovery options. The easiest way to get some free space for ubuntu is to shrink a partition using windows disk manager. I trimmed my Data partition using Windows disk manager and left the free space unallocated for Ubuntu to see.

Make a live USB of Ubuntu 12.10.1 to boot from

You will need at least 12.10.1 version of Ubuntu. I tried 12.04 which would let me run a live session out of USB and install too, but GRUB won’t load.

1. Download Ubuntu 12.10.1 or later version.
2. Download Unetbootin to make a bootable flash using the Ubuntu ISO.
3. Use Unetbootin to make a bootable flash of Ubuntu.

Change your BIOS settings to enable USB booting. To Get to boot Screen, you may have to hard boot windows.

I tried serveral times to shut down windows by selecting power option > shut down but everytime it only would hibernate. I had to hard reset it to get to the boot menu.

1. Shut down windows. Restart. Press and hold F2 key while the machine is booting ( Hold it , if you just press it once or twice it won’t work) . Select Boot option and you are at the BIOS menu. If you don’t see BIOS menu and windows starts to boot, you will have to hard reset your computer. Press and hold the power button while windows is running. Keep holding it till you see all the lights lit up and then go off. This is bad for the hard drives, but I couldn’t find any other way of shutting down windows. Every time I shut it down using settings > power > shutdown, it would just hibernate.

2. Go to Boot Tab and Enable Launch CSM. This gives you an option of booting from USB and other devices.

3. Go to Security tab and Disable Secure Boot Control. This lets you boot even those OS that are not digitallly signed.

4. Restart the Machine. Hold Escape key while the machine is booting. If you see a boot menu, you have done it correctly.

Boot from USB and see if Ubuntu boots up. Install Ubuntu.

Insert your USB drive. Hold escape key while the machine is starting. On boot menu, select USB drive to boot from. Install Ubuntu. It will give you the option of installing Ubuntu alongside Windows. The installation should go smooth now and after installing your machine will present you with an option to boot Windows or Ubuntu.

Touch support is built in, so you can start using your laptop touch screen in Ubuntu immediately. However gesture support is still limited. Wireless drivers are built in but the lan driver will have to be downloaded.

4 Days now and loving this ultra budget ultra book.

24 Comments

  1. Hello Akash,

    I have one question:

    Do you have a problem to open folders/files with touch screen?

    I boot my usb and choose Try Ubuntu, to see if all works correct before install.
    And all is good, only when I try to open some folder/file with touchscreen, I can’t. I try many times to tap on screen, but without result. Do you have the same problem.

    May be this is problem in Try version, and after I really install on my laptop, this problem will be solved.

    What do you mean?

    Thanks,
    Plamen

    1. Hello Plamen, you are right the double click doesn’t work with touch screen. I have been trying to emulate double click with easystroke too but couldn’t. I am sure it can be done with easystroke gesture support, only that it will need some time to figure. I will post a solution here if I find.

    2. One more thing , wireless signal strength is very bad. I thought initially that I had a problem with the router, but even when I am sitting right next to router the signal strength is bad. I hope there will be better wireless drivers in next Ubunut release.

  2. Hi Akash.
    Do you find some solution or fix for wifi signal?

    I hate win8 😀 and I want to install some Linux, but I need good Internet connection for my work.

  3. Does this help:
    Create /etc/modprobe.d/ath9k.conf
    Add module parameter: options ath9k nohwcrypt=1
    reboot

    Seems to have worked for Atheros AR9485 WiFi card on Ubunut 12.04 for Acer Aspire which I belive is same card as Asus S400CA

    1. I tried echo “options ath9k nohwcrypt=1” > /etc/modprobe.d/ath9k.conf but this doesn’t seem to work. Finally I bought a USB wireless adapter that’s working fine. It’s a little inconvenient to have it sticking out of the notebook, but at least I have good wifi signal.

      Now the next problem is double clicking with touch…

  4. Hi Raj this didnot work for Asus vivobook s400ca which use atheros AR9485 wireless network adapter.

    Is there anyother suggestion?

  5. Hi Akash,

    I install developer version on ubuntu 13.04 and there is no problem with double clicking with touch (party).
    The only one problem for now is with wifi adapter. I buy one usb, but I have problem too 🙁 I hope to release date of 13.04 we can enjoy wifi fix.

    Plamen

    1. Let’s hope that with 13.04 we will have better WIFI. With USB , I am getting fair reception ( not full strength though)

  6. Ha Akash,
    Did you have any trouble with other hardware in the laptop? Bluetooth, external video (HDMI/VGA), SD reader?

    How’s the resolution of the display? 1366×768 is a bit low resolution these days and I was wondering how it looked on a 14″ screen. The S400ca is on my short list of possible laptops that have touch screens for Ubuntu…

    1. Hello Tony.

      Bluetooth works ( I see the icon in tray) but never connected any device via it. External video and SDCARD also I didn’t try but I am sure they are supported.

      Resolution is really low compared to other laptops. The view is not very bright too, but I can’t complaint at the price it came.

      2 Things you are not going to like about CA400 is – Low resolution and keyboard. The keys on the keyboard are not very responsive. On mine, the W has to be hit harder than just a touch. Otherwise, it’s a decent machine.

      1. Mine came today, overall, not too bad. The trackpad has a little bit of a loose feeling, but the keyboard has worked well so far. Wifi has been pretty bad as expected, but the one thing I didn’t expect is that it appears that the ethernet chipset is not compatible with Ubuntu.

        I also noticed on mine I can’t seem to get grub to boot my windows 8 partition properly. If I reboot and hit esc where it will find the boot loader for windows 8, then I can get into it (kind of inconvenient, but workable)

        I have to find a USB wifi dongle so I can update my laptop, which model/brand did you end up buying?

        1. Yes, Windows 8 Doesn’t boot from Grub. Moreover windows 8 has to be shut down completely to boot Ubuntu. Everytime you shutdown windows it actually just hibernates.

          I think my network worked without any additinal drivers. I bought a Dlink wireless dongle, but still the strength is not 100%.

      2. Hmm, for some reason I don’t see the bluetooth tray icon and the settings claims there is no bluetooth hardware on mine…. I’ll have to go into the BIOS to make sure it’s not disabled…. Of course, might be that I just need to finish getting the updates for it to function 🙂

  7. for your problems to shutdown windows, I just found out that you can make it do complete shutdown by disabling “fast startup” in “power options” -> “choose what the power buttons do”

    select “shutdown” in “when i press the power button”, and then click “change settings that are currently unavailable”..

    at the near bottom of the page, you should be able to deactivate “turn on fast startup” options..

    1. Thanks, I am sure this would be great for someone on a dual boot. Else I have to go a very long way everytime to shut down the PC. BTW, I ditched windows 8 and got win7 on this pc. Works great.

  8. Hi Akash,

    Do you have problems on space bar? it is not every responsive.
    Is it a problem with ubuntu or hardware?

  9. Hi Akash,

    It’s a while since anyone posted here, but I wondered if the touchscreen has improved at all under 14.04.

    I’m considering getting the S400CA i7 this summer. It seems the best 14 inch touchscreen laptop for price and ubuntu compatibility. Has anyone else tried a fresh install of 14.04 on this laptop without changing the wifi adapter?

    Paul

    1. Hello paul, sorry but I don’t have this one anymore so can’t comment if the touch has improved. I hope someone who has it does post his experience.

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