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Microsoft blocks Linux installation on some Windows 10 laptops

Microsoft blocks Linux installation on some Windows 10 laptops

Microsoft blocks Linux installation on some Windows 10 laptops

Windows 10 crashes Linux on some computers, as some manufacturers have found and confirmed.

Microsoft’s relationship with free software and Linux in particular has never been too good; For decades, the nucleus created by Linus Torvalds has been a stone in the shoe, especially in the professional sector and not so much on the desktop.

However, that age of enmity seemed to be over, and with the release of Windows 10 a new era was promised. Microsoft loves Linux, they said from the company, and projects such as the inclusion of Ubuntu in Windows 10 seemed to confirm the change of mind.

The mystery of why Windows 10 blocks Linux

However, what has been discovered today not only goes completely against that message, but also seems a return to the era in which the Redmond people did everything possible, no matter how moral, to prevent us from using Linux.

It all started when several users bought a Lenovo brand ultrabook, such as the Yoga 900 ISK2 and other models, with the intention of installing a Linux distro instead of the pre-installed Windows 10, or in conjunction with it thanks to dual boot.

However, they soon realized something strange: the installer of any distro, like Ubuntu, is not able to detect hard drives of the computer, so it cannot be installed. Of course, they checked the BIOS for any option that was hiding hardware, but it wasn’t.

After doing some research, they discovered that Lenovo had arranged the included SSD in a somewhat strange RAID mode, by which Linux is not able to detect it; Interestingly, Windows also cannot see the default partitions, and needs special Lenovo drivers to function properly.

Not only that, but if you try to force AHCI mode by modifying the EFI, it automatically reverts to that RAID mode. For months, Lenovo laptop users have been left wondering what was going on, if it was a computer bug or if There was some darker reason behind.

An agreement between Microsoft and manufacturers that blocks our computers

Finally, thanks to an official response from Lenovo, we know the harsh truth: Linux is locked on Lenovo ultrabooks as part of a deal with Microsoft. Although the representative has not specified what type of agreement it is, we know that everything is due to the version of Windows 10 included.

Lenovo and other manufacturers’ ultrabooks Windows 10 Signature Edition is pre-installed, a special version of the system that Microsoft originally introduced as performance-focused.

windows-10-signature-edition

The basic idea is that this Windows 10 does not bring any bloatware Nor any of the pre-installed programs that usually come with any laptop or personal computer. At the time, comparisons were even made with Google’s Nexus phones, which bring Android without any layer of customization or added apps.

But that is not the only thing; apparently manufacturers have to sign an agreement with microsoft to make sure that user cannot install alternative system on Windows 10 Signature Edition computers. The reason is unknown, but something tells me that it is because Signature Edition licenses probably cost manufacturers less.

By not including bloatware, Microsoft is also losing revenue, and so wants to ensure that we don’t change systems at the first change.

Whatever the reason, the logical conclusion is that Windows 10 blocks Linux, at night and treacherous. I can’t think of any excuse with which the giant could convince us that this agreement with the manufacturers is a good thing for the user, because it seems like a story out of a parody news website; But no, it is very real, and now that the first manufacturer has officially admitted that it is, it remains to be seen what the reaction of those involved will be.

At the moment, if you plan to install Linux on your computer, the best thing you can do is run away from ultrabooks and find out if a computer has Windows 10 Signature Edition before buying it.

Updated: Microsoft and Lenovo respond

Both Microsoft and Lenovo have stepped into the controversy, and Neither has denied that Linux cannot be installed on ultrabooks with Windows 10 Signature Edition.

Lenovo has been the vaguest with the details, simply pointing out that its computers have been specially designed and tested with Windows 10, and that your Yoga needs complex and specific drivers to function properly they are not supported by Linux.

Lenovo claims that does not specifically block Linux, although the solution it provides is to buy a different device from the list of Lenovo computers compatible with Linux.

For its part, Microsoft has been more direct, simply saying that Lenovo has adopted RAID on SSD on some products, and that requires additional steps to achieve compatibility. Finally, it ensures that the news of problems related to Windows 10 Signature Edition are incorrect, without giving more details.

Neither company has commented on Lenovo’s initial explanation of its agreement with Microsoft to lock the device.