Dual Boot HP Spectre 360 Laptop

I love my new Spectre laptop with the fold-back screen. It’ll make an awesome picture frame or navigation tablet at the end of its life. But to keep it relevant I configured it for dual boot with Ubuntu. I need Windows 10 because Quick Books still hasn’t gotten with the Open Source program.

The Ubuntu stack exchange answer was a litle vague, verbose, and incomplete for my taste. It was just wrong in some places. So here’s what worked for me.

First Things First

  1. Download the 14.04 64-bit Desktop iso
    • bittorrent can take care of this GB file in less than a minute
  2. Use “Startup Disk Creator” to build a live USB
    • select the iso you downloaded
    • don’t get fancy with the 1-4 GB casper-rw partition it’ll thrown HP EFI boot loader for a loop, literally
    • use the max persistent storage allowed (4GB)
    • whatever’s left on the USB stick Fat32 partition you can use for file transfer/backup
  3. Optional: test your USB stick
    • Hit F10 right after the power button to bring upt he boot manager
    • Put the USB pendrive (and USB CDROM drives) in the top slots
    • Save and exit the BIOS
    • shutdown
    • power on
    • Ubuntu 14.04 should boot
  4. Optionally: update the USB stick software

    $ sudo apt-get updated
    $ sudo apt-get upgrade
    $ sudo apt-get install dropbox efibootmgr -y
    $ sudo shutdown -h now

If you installed efibootmgr, you can list your boot options to see how they change once Ubuntu enters the mix. I had to recreate mine after the fact, so this is just fictional, but:

BootCurrent: 0000
Timeout: 0 seconds
BootOrder: 0000,0006,9999
Boot0000* Windows Boot Manager
Boot0006* Solid State Disk
Boot9999* USB Drive (UEFI)

Partition Windows Laptop Disk

(not prerun or updated/upgraded)

Before resizing, gparted showed my partitions as:

/dev/sda1   fat32       SYSTEM   260.00MiB  65.47MiB 194.53MiB boot
/dev/sda2!  unknown     _         16.00MiB       ---       --- msftres _
/dev/sda3   ntfs                 228.11GiB  35.03GiB  13.80GiB msftdata
/dev/sda4   ntfs        WINRE    694.00MiB 306.37MiB 387.63MiB hidden|diag
/dev/sda5   ntfs        RECOVERY   9.41GiB   8.21GiB   1.20GiB hidden|msftdata
unallocated unallocated _          5.34MiB       ---       --- _

Resize the large /dev/sda3 ntfs partition to 50GB (48.83GiB). This left me with ~15GB within the Windows partition for future recovery or application files.

If you can’t drag the gray slider, and the “used space” isn’t highlighted in pale yellow, then the ntfs drive hasn’t been mounted properly. This is probably because the laptop was hibernated or Windows or HP updates were installed the last time you used it. Just shutdown, boot windows, wait a few minutes, and shut down again before tryin to boot to Ubuntu live USB.

Add an ext4 partition (“New partition” menu item) to the newly unallocated 180 GB space in the middle of the drive that we just created by shrinking the Windows partition. I left 16.400 GiB (approx 16GB) to allow swapping of all of my 16 GB of RAM. I made it a Primary Partition (instead of Extended) and labeled it “ubuntu” and allowed it to “allign to MiB” (rather than “Cylinder” or “None”).

Hit the New partition button again to create a “linux-swap” type partition with 16,256MiB or so and “align to MiB” again and labeled it swap. Interestingly, this left 5MiB unallocated right before my “New Partition #1” and “New Partition #2”

Click the green checkbox to apply all 3 changes, ignoring the “Loss of Data” warning.

It should take about a minute or two. Don’t touch anything until it’s done. This is the most critical part of the whole process.

GParted should reveal your Ubuntu-friendly disk partitions with a diagram something like this:

Now you can install the efi boot manager to see what your boot table says and edit it, if necessary.

sudo apt-get install efibootmgr -y

Install Ubuntu!

Dialog Box: Preparing to install Ubuntu

Check the checkboxes for

[x] Download update during install [x] Install this third-party

click Continue

Dialog Box: Unmount partitions that are in use?

/dev/sda is mounted

Do you want the installer to try to unmount…

click Yes

Dialog Box: Installation type

The default is what you want, right?

[x] Install Ubuntu longside Windows Boot Manager [ ] Erase disk…

Grayed out (not possible unless you wipe the disk first):

[ ] Encrypt the new Ubuntu installation for security [ ] Use LVM witht he new Ubuntu installation

[ ] Something Else: You can create or resize…

You can safely accept the default if your Windows installation and partitions were detected.

click Continue

Dialog Box: Install Ubuntu alongside Windows Boot Manager

Allocate drive space by dragging the divider below:

 Files (3.0 GB)             Ubuntu
/dev/sda6 (ext4)        /dev/sda7 (ext4)
     87.3 GB                88.1 GB

I adjusted the slider to be

 Files (3.0 GB)             Ubuntu
/dev/sda6 (ext4)        /dev/sda7 (ext4)
     100.2 GB                75.2 GB

Click Install Now

Confirmation Dialog: Write previous changes…

Before you can select a new partition size …

You cannot undo this operation.

Please note that… take a long time.

Click Continue

It’ll show you the new partition labels sda6 and sda7 for the swap.


Where are you?


Keyboard layout

English (US)

Who are you?

The first few fields are harmless, but pay close attention to the radio buttons at the bottom.

Your name: Hobson Lane Your computer’s name: spectre-laptop Pick a username: hobs Choose a password: really-secure-password Confirm password: really-secure-password

If you plan to do anything remotely private on the laptop (banking, online shopping, etc), you really don’t want to check the first box, but rather the next two. The home folder encryption is software-based so much slower than the full-drive encryption built into the kernel… but you have to have it. Otherwise all your data is available to anyone with access to your laptop in a matter of seconds (search “recover Ubuntu password” if you don’t believe me).

[ ] Log in automatically [x] Require my password to log in [x] Encrypt my home folder

Dialog: Installation Complete

Click Restart Now

When it boots back up to your USB stick just

  1. hit Esc to get to the Grub menu
  2. unplug usb stick (it’s not being used anymore by grub)
  3. ctrl-alt-del to reboot


The grub menu should show Ubuntu and your Windows Boot manager both listed!

Ubuntu should boot fromo grub as the default and you’re away!

Enjoy your powerful new development environment!


  • Keyboard shortcuts will welcome you, just ignore them and they’ll go away as you click on another icon or launch another program
  • {Meta] then type “display” and set your resolution to 2048x1152 (16:9)
    • this worked for the 15” Spectre
    • make sure your new resolution has the same “Ratio” as the default
    • The ratio is 16:9 for the 15” Spectre
    • You can choose a higher resolution but you’ll probably want to change the “scale for menu and title bars” to 1.25 to make them legible
    • unlock all the bloatware from your toolbar (whatever you don’t need)

Get the most important stuff installed:

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get upgrade -y
$ sudo apt-get install nautilus-dropbox efibootmgr
$ sudo dropbox update
$ sudo dropbox autostart y

my 98.5 GB ubuntu partition now has 62 MB used and 93.4 GB free on /media/hobs

Here’s my df -h

hobs@spectre-laptop:~$ df -h
Filesystem           Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
udev                 7.8G  4.0K  7.8G   1% /dev
tmpfs                1.6G  1.5M  1.6G   1% /run
/dev/sda8             69G  4.5G   61G   7% /
none                 4.0K     0  4.0K   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
none                 5.0M     0  5.0M   0% /run/lock
none                 7.8G  156K  7.8G   1% /run/shm
none                 100M   84K  100M   1% /run/user
/dev/sda1            256M   65M  192M  26% /boot/efi
/home/hobs/.Private   69G  4.5G   61G   7% /home/hobs
/dev/sda6             92G   60M   88G   1% /media/hobs/ubuntu
/dev/sda3             49G   36G   14G  72% /media/hobs/Windows

So it looks like my split between “Files” and “Ubuntu” was off. To have a bigger home folder you want the “Ubuntu” side to be bigger. I may wipe and reinstall to get this right, it’s critical. I need the space for DropBox, etc.

Reference: UEFI Boot Order

Just for reference, my UEFI boot list stayed pretty simple… need to reboot to se if it still works ;)

hobs@spectre-laptop:~$ sudo efibootmgr
[sudo] password for hobs: 
BootCurrent: 0000
Timeout: 0 seconds
BootOrder: 0000,0006,0007,9999
Boot0000* ubuntu
Boot0006* Windows Boot Manager
Boot0007* Solid State Disk
Boot9999* USB Drive (UEFI)
Written on April 16, 2016