Ubuntu 17.04 on ZenBook Pro
After a little headache and some arcane magic, I managed to get an encrypted version of Ubuntu 17.04 installed on my laptop. The laptop is an ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW, which is like a 15” Macbook Pro, but half the price and without some crazy touch bar.
Most of my success is thanks to Peter van der Zee (qFox), who logged his battle to install Ubuntu 16.04 on the same laptop in 2016.
Since he did most of the work already, this post is mostly a collection of links with some minor addenda in case I need to do this again.
Set up the flash drive
First problem I had was that the flash drive I wanted to use to install the ISO wasn’t properly formatted when I started this process. I ended up using the GParted utility (
sudo apt install gparted) to reformat it completely. Other, more direct, commands did nothing but cause more headache.
Once the flash drive is ready, download the Ubuntu 64-bit ISO, and install it using the Startup Disk Creator utility.
Basically, I just followed qFox’s 16.04 guide, but used the Ubuntu Gnome 17.04 image. Unlike previous versions of Ubuntu, I was able to encrypt the installation without hassle just by following the wizard (previous versions were unable to locate the partition after installing).
Every time you reboot to do some part of this process, you’ll need to hit
esc to get to the boot select menu, then
e to set grub parameters. Change the
quiet splash on the
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT line to
If the installer still hangs after changing
quiet splash in the grub parameters, drop into the root shell, and download the proprietary Nvidia drivers before installing. Use whichever ones are the newest if the above are outdated.
After fiddling with grub parameters and getting to the installation wizard, the process should be relatively easy. Install, encrypt, and update as normal.
Once you’re happy with your installation, update grub permanently using qFox’s settings:
sudo nano /etc/default/grub // replace the "quiet splash" line with // GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="i951.preliminary_hw_support=1 acpi_osi= acpi_backlight=native" sudo update-grub
High DPI (4k) resolution should work out of the box after a full update and reboot. You can fiddle with the scaling settings in Gnome to get it working better with certain apps (e.g. Keepass, Skype).
I’ll update this post in the future when I go through the process again with future releases.