Last week I bought a cheap HP ProBook x360 from a guy on Craigslist because I wanted a Linux laptop. I had planned to wipe out the entire drive and have it boot exclusively to Ubuntu Linux.
After making a bootable USB with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, the installer got stuck at installing GRUB2. After hours of Googling, I wasn't able to find anyone who had successfully installed Linux on an HP ProBook x360. In fact, instead I found that the HP ProBook x360 11 is incompatible with GRUB.
I was bummed and had bricked my computer, but I kept poking at it until I finally got Ubuntu installed. This post shares how I did it. I've only tested this for Ubuntu 19.04 with a single boot, so your mileage may vary if you're trying to use a different distribution or dual boot.
You'll need to start by downloading the Ubuntu 19.04 image from the Ubuntu site and creating a bootable USB on Windows, macOS, Ubuntu or some other Linux distribution.
While your HP ProBook is turned off, plug the bootable USB drive in, turn the computer on and immediately start hitting the
esc key as fast as you possibly can. If Windows loads, you need to shut your computer down and try again, slamming the escape key even faster.
You should now be in an options screen. Select "F9 Boot Options". This will take you to a screen where you can select from two different options titled "Windows Boot Manager". Select the second option, and if Windows loads, shut down the computer and try the first option.
If you only see one "Windows Boot Manager," you need to make sure your system can boot from USB. Go back to the main settings menu, select "F10 BIOS Setup" > "Advanced" > "Boot Options" > "USB Device Boot" and make sure it's enabled.
If you selected the correct Windows Boot Manager, the computer will hang on a black screen for an uncomfortably long time. Sit tight. After some time, a few options will appear on your screen. You want to select the first option, "Try Ubuntu without installing." If you don't do anything for a few seconds, it'll just load this option anyway, so don't panic if the screen goes blank while you're reading your options.
Once Ubuntu loads, there will be a link to install Ubuntu on your desktop. Launch the installer. Go through the options. On the "installation type" screen, select "Erase disk and install Ubuntu." Warning: this will delete everything on your hard drive. You might be able to dual boot by installing alongside Windows and following the rest of the instructions, but I haven't tried this so you may end up losing all of your data if you do this. Don't do anything like that without backups.
The installer will start, and it will fail when it tries to install GRUB2. This is totally fine and expected. At this point, it may force you to restart your computer. If it does, just boot Ubuntu without installing from the flash drive again. If not, just continue along.
Now we'll install Boot-Repair. Open terminal using
ctrl alt t (or using the applications menu) and execute the following commands, pressing enter after each line:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install -y boot-repair && boot-repair
When Boot-Repair pops up, hit the "recommended repair" option. Once that's finished, turn off your computer, pull the USB drive out and start it back up. The computer will load to GRUB boot loader. Either select "Ubuntu" or wait a few seconds and Ubuntu will load automatically. You should have a working Linux installation on your computer. Congratulations.
I hope this saves someone a lot of time. Let me know if this was helpful or if you have questions; I'm a Linux newbie but I'll do my best to answer!
Top comments (14)
An update that this guide also works with Ubuntu 20.04. The only caveat is that after the installation of the OS fails on the grub install, you must restart the OS to the USB's try Ubuntu and only then use the boot-repair.
I'm sure this comment is gonna save me and others some serious debugging. Thank you!
I tried this but I get an error that NVRam is locked on mine
What version of Ubuntu are you trying to install?
Confirmed for Ubuntu 22.10. You really saved me a lot of work with this one, thanks a lot. It was Gen1 for education.
I'm glad it helped!
I recently installed Pop_OS! onto this same computer. The steps in this post didn't quite work for me with Pop, but I wrote a post about how I managed to get Pop installed. Check if out if you're a Pop fan.
Hi Tyler, thanks for the helpful guide. I can confirm that the above works with Ubuntu 19.10 as well. It does NOT work on 18.04. Cheers!
Good to know: I've been thinking about nuking and paving my ProBook but wasn't sure if it would work with a newer Ubuntu. I've heard that Gnome shell got faster and I want to check that out. Thanks for the feedback!
When i select the recommended repair option,
I keep getting “/target detected.Please close the ubuntu installer, then try again”
I'm not sure how helpful I can be because I don't have access to my HP ProBook anymore, but maybe someone will land here in the future and can help you.
What version of Ubuntu were you trying to install?
It was Ubuntu 20.04.
But i had to revert back to windows
Hi Tyler, what generation of Probook x360 11 was it? Was it a commercial Education Edition? And did the Linux OS support the 2nd (worldfacing) webcam if there was any in the keyboard? Txs Martin
Not sure unfortunately: the computer isn't easily accessible to me at the moment 🙁