Installing Ubuntu (or Ubuntu Variant) on Acer Aspire A114-31-C4HH

**Warning: Non-SBG related post**

For the past couple of months I have been working on a new educational software program that will implement what I have been doing in my classroom with standards based grading.  In the beginning, I was coding the program on my Chromebook using Crouton to boot into Linux.  While that solution mostly worked, it was a limited Linux experience, and I found that I needed a full fledged Linux distro in order to successfully create this program.

So, I started looking around for an affordable laptop that I could put Linux on to be my developer machine.  I found the Acer Aspire A114-31-C4HH on Amazon.  For the $209 price tag, it is a very functional machine, and it is all Intel based, so I running Linux on it should have been a fairly straightforward process.

It wasn’t.

I didn’t even boot the computer into Windows when I got it.  I downloaded pop!_os on to a USB drive and booted into the live system on my new laptop.  The Ubuntu-based distribution worked beautifully, even running just in RAM, and I found that I had access to all of the hardware: wifi, webcam, sound, etc.  I was very excited.

I clicked install, went through the process, and the installer froze when it tried to install Grub.  I forced shutdown, and when I restarted the machine, it wouldn’t boot into anything, including BIOS.  I thought I had just ruined the computer and now had a $200 paperweight.

Long story short, I fought with the machine for nearly two days before getting it working.  There is little documentation about how to make it work.  I finally stumbled on this blog post that has detailed instructions that I want to share below.  Kudos to Ahmed ElSayed for saving my bacon.  What follows are his words.  I have cleaned up the grammar and spelling, but he gets all the credit.

To start installing, boot into a live USB then do

> sudo -s
> ubiquity -b

Then follow the installation process till the end, choosing “Continue Testing” at the very end. During the installation, I chose “Use entire disk”. The laptop only has 32GB so there is no point doing anything else.

After that go back to the terminal and do

> mount /dev/mmcblk0p2 /mnt
> mount /dev/mmcblk0p1 /mnt/boot/efi
> for i in /dev /dev/pts /proc /sys; do sudo mount -B $i /mnt$i; done
> modprobe efivars # https://askubuntu.com/q/906574
> apt install --reinstall grub-efi-amd64
> grub-install --no-nvram --root-directory=/mnt
> chroot /mnt
> echo nameserver 8.8.8.8 >> /etc/resolve.conf
> apt update
> apt install grub2-common
> update-grub
> cd /boot/efi/EFI
> cp -R ubuntu BOOT

Then reboot 🙂

As you can see from the picture above, I have pop!_os rocking on my laptop, and now I can get back to development.  I share this to maybe help someone in the same situation.