Linux Mint 19 on an HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Mini

I picked up a couple of these second-hand recently, to use in the observatory. They came with Windows 10 installed, but I don’t care about that. I want to run Linux Mint on them.

I tried a couple of times to install from my Mint 19 DVD, but just kept getting the error:

The 'grub-efi-amd64-signed' package failed to install into /target/

Something about UEFI seems to mess things up. It made no difference if I removed the Windows boot entry using efibootmgr from the live desktop, or even if I deleted the entire partition table from the disk. I always got the same error. It took me quite a while to find a solution. What finally worked was this:

Once the above error occurs, allow the install process to stop and then open a terminal window. In the window, use sudo to get a root shell (“sudo -s“). The first thing I needed to do was to edit /etc/hosts to add some of the hostnames that would be used later by apt-get. I don’t know if this is a problem specific to my setup or will generally be the case, but I added entries for packages.linuxmint.com, archive.ubuntu.com and security.ubuntu.com to the file, using another machine to look up the IP addresses (and just picking one where there were several). At the time of writing, I added:

208.77.20.11 packages.linuxmint.com
91.189.88.24 archive.ubuntu.com security.ubuntu.com

There’s a Canonical host used too, but I just ignored the errors about that in apt-get.

The next step is to run the following commands (all as root)

# mkdir -p /mnt/boot/efi
# mount /dev/sda2 /mnt
# mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/boot/efi
# for i in /dev /dev/pts /proc /sys; do mount -B $i /mnt$i; done
# chroot /mnt
# apt-get update
# apt-get install ubuntu-system-adjustments
# apt install --reinstall grub-efi-amd64-signed
# os-prober
# update-grub
# ^D

At that point I was able to restart the machine and it booted straight into Mint 19.

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3 Responses to Linux Mint 19 on an HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Mini

  1. nocontact says:

    For someone who is not fluent in Linux, this is not very helpful.
    My conclusion: beginners cannot (easily) install Linux on this machine. – do not buy

    • james says:

      Yes, that’s probably not an unreasonable comment as far as Mint 19 is concerned. Mint 20 may be easier, but I haven’t tried to upgrade yet.

    • null says:

      This reminds me of when I had the unfortunate, albeit laughable, experience of providing official Caldera OpenLinux email support in the late 1990s. “Dear user, GNU/Linux is an operating system. RTFM.”

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