Installing Ubuntu on the Lenovo X1 Extreme Gen 2

9/2/2020

A step-by-step guide to installing Ubuntu 18.04LTS on the Lenovo X1 Extreme Gen 2.

This article is going to document the steps I took to get Ubuntu up and running alongside Windows on the Lenovo X1 Extreme Gen 2 (X1 Extreme from now on) so that you don’t make the same mistakes that I did.

Step 1: Create an Ubuntu installation USB drive

The first thing we need to do is to create an Ubuntu installation USB drive. There are various ways to do this and the Ubuntu website has some great tutorials that walk you through the process.

The steps are slightly different from OS to OS:

The disk image for Ubuntu 18.04.4LTs can be found here.

Step 2: Disable Windows Fast Startup

Although not necessary, it is recommended to disable Windows fast startup when you want to dual boot your system. To disable it:

  1. Open Control Panel
  2. Select “Hardware and Sound”
  3. Under “Power Options” select “Change what the power buttons do”
  4. Select “Change settings that are currently unavailable” (you may be required to enter your administrator password)
  5. Under “Shutdown settings” deselect “Turn on fast startup”
  6. Save changes

If you want to re-enable fast startup, you can go through the same set of steps and reselect “Turn on fast startup”.

Step 3: Select “Discrete Graphics” in the BIOS

The X1 Extreme has both Intel integrated graphics and a dedicated Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650 graphics card. Windows can switch between the two, using integrated graphics to conserve energy and the Nvidia card when more graphical horsepower is required.

By toggling “Graphics Device” from “Hybrid Graphics” to “Discrete Graphics” in the BIOS, we’re telling the computer to only use the Nvidia card because switching between the two is not well supported on Linux. Here are the steps to do that (I’m using BIOS version 1.29 so what you see may differ):

  1. Restart your computer
  2. When you see the Lenovo logo flash on the screen, press the F1 key to enter the BIOS settings
  3. Select the “Config” menu
  4. Select the “Display” sub-menu
  5. Change “Graphics Device” from “Hybrid Graphics” to “Discrete Graphics”
  6. Press F10 to save your changes and reboot the computer.

Step 4: Create a Partition for Ubuntu

The next step is to create a partition so that we can have both Ubuntu and Windows installed on the same disk. To do this follow these steps on Windows:

  1. Right-click the Windows icon on the task bar
  2. Select ‘Disk Management’
  3. Right-click the “Windows (C:)” partition and select “Shrink volume”
  4. In the pop-up, enter the size of the partition you want to create in MB
  5. Select “Shrink”

Your drive should now have a new partition. Note that you can always merge your new partition back into your Windows partition whenever you want (though this may delete any data in the new partition).

Step 5: Install Ubuntu

Now we can install Ubuntu. Take the USB drive from step 1 and plug it into the X1 Extreme (if it wasn’t already).

  1. Restart your computer
  2. When the Lenovo logo appears press F12 to launch the boot menu
  3. Select your USB device from the list (this will launch the Ubuntu installer)
  4. Select “Install Ubuntu”

If your screen turns blank with streaks of color (like mine did) then close your laptop until it goes to sleep, then wake it up. That fixed the problem for me.

Go through the installation instructions for Ubuntu, ensuring you select the “Download updates while installing Ubuntu” and “Install third-party software for graphics and Wi-Fi hardware and additional media formats” options.

You will also be asked to enter a password for Secure Boot. Remember this password as we will be using it later on.

Ensure you use the partition that was created in the previous step (using the “side-by-side installation” option worked for me).

Once installation has finished, Ubuntu will prompt you to restart your system. After it reboots you will be greeted by the MOK Management screen. Perform the following steps:

  1. Select “Enroll MOK”
  2. Select “Continue”
  3. Select “Yes”
  4. Enter the password for Secure Boot you created during the Ubuntu installation process
  5. Select “Reboot”

Step 6: Install Nvidia Drivers

Once your laptop reboots, you should be greeted by the GRUB boot menu.

  1. Press e whilst selecting Ubuntu (should be the first item in the list)
  2. Add nomodeset to the end of the line that begins with linux
  3. Exit and login to your Ubuntu account

Now we need to install the Nvidia drivers for our graphics card. For a GUI approach to installing the drivers, checkout this website. To install the drivers using the command line, read on.

Open up a terminal and enter:

sudo ubuntu-drivers devices

You should see a list of drivers appear (I got 3) with one of the non-free (i.e. properietary) drivers being “recommended”. Install the “recommended” driver by entering the following command into your terminal:

sudo ubuntu-drivers autoinstall

Once that’s finished, reboot your computer by typing:

sudo shutdown -r now

Log in to Ubuntu again, and when you type

sudo lshw -c display

into your terminal, you should see driver=nvidia (among other things).

Success!

These were the steps that I took to get Ubuntu 18.04LTS and Windows 10 to dual boot on the Lenovo X1 Extreme Gen 2. I hope they worked for you as well.

Resources

These were the resources I used to install Ubuntu and write this article: