Today I found myself in need of a laptop to run CentOS on. And that simple statement led to an all-day odyssey.
My original plan was to purchase a laptop and install CentOS 6 on it. I went to Staples and tried booting it on every model of laptop that they had in the store. They all come with Windows 8 installed, and for the edification of anyone who doesn’t know this (I didn’t until today) you have to conduct a real song and dance to get to the bios settings on one of those things:
boot windows move mouse pointer to the top right corner of the screen move down to setting menu (gear) that shows up click on power off icon Hold shift key and left-click on “restart”
it goes to the troubleshooting screen click on advanced troubleshooting click on “change uefi settings”
now we get to the bios set secure boot off set legacy boot priority
And then you can boot from a USB flash drive. *whew* (It’s easy to put it back afterward, just go into the bios and tell it set to defaults, save and exit.)
Anyway, I tried booting a CentOS 6 Live CD image on a usb flash drive on every single model of laptop they had in stock and no joy on any of them — they either hung altogether, started booting and hung at some point along the way, started a continuous cycle of start booting, reset, start booting again, or kernel panicked. Every last one.
I then tried a CentOS 7 Live CD image on another usb flash drive and then the third machine that I tried it on (Lenovo Ideapad S400 Touch) worked. So I bought that one and have now wiped Windows off of its hard drive and installed CentOS 7 so it now looks and acts like a real computer.
I never would have thought that it would take all bloody day to purchase one laptop. (And I’m going to be having nightmares about that Windows Boot Manager thing.)
Since it has now become amazingly difficult to get a laptop if you’re not planning to use Windows, at least around here, I’m wondering what the rest of you fine folks do when it comes to purchasing a laptop? Next time this comes up, I’d rather not have to spend all day on something that used to take fifteen minutes.