Install Ubuntu on Ideapad Yoga 2 Pro

Before Buying Yoga 2 Pro:
If you have bought a Yoga 2 Pro, then skip this section and jump directly to the next section. This computer has the following problems, known widely among its users, yet not acknowledged or properly addressed by Lenovo.
1. Inaccurate Rendering of the Yellow Color. This is widely and notoriously known. Lenovo’s BIOS update until today (June 6, 2014) does not solve it. Lenovo regards it as solved and dismisses it, but many users do not agree at all.
2. Poor Micro HDMI Compatiblity. The Micro HDMI port, the only video export of the computer, is hidden too deep to make a stable contact with a standard Micro HDMI cable. Some DIY users have to manually file the bud of their Micro HDMI cable for 1mm~2mm to fit with this port. You may need to try a few cables to find a working one.
3. Unintended Mute Speaker Caused by Inconsistence Audio Jack Detection. Sometimes, the speaker mute because the computer falsely detects audio jack as plugged in, though actually not at all. Unfortunately, plugging-and-unplugging does not always solve the problem. It depends on luck.
4. Frequent WiFi Signal Dropping. To my experience, my 8-year old T60 has much better WiFi performance than my Yoga 2 Pro. By the way, this computer can only receive 2.4G Hz signals, not 5G Hz signals.

Install Ubuntu on Ideapad Yoga 2 Pro

Hardware: IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro, Intel Haswell i5 CPU, 256 SSD, 8G RAM
Software: Ubuntu 13.10, 64bit

Process:
1. Enable booting from USB
Power down the computer. Push the “novo” button, then the computer enter BIOS configuration. Disable “Security Boot”, and Disable “Lenovo Fast Boot”.

2. Prepare Ubuntu Installation USB
Create a Ubuntu Installation USB following the instruction by Ubuntu. After this, find file /boot/grub/grub.cfg and modify it by adding “acpi_backlight=vendor” before “quiet splash”. You shall have something like this in the boot options: “acpi_backlight=vendor quiet splash”. You may need the root permission to edit this file, so use “su” or “sudo” to get the root permission when editing, for example, sudo vi /boot/grub/grub.cfg
This is important. Otherwise, Ubuntu installation runs but the screen does not turn on.

3. Install Ubuntu
Insert the USB disk and power on the computer with the “novo” button. Select USB boot from the Boot Menu. Then the Ubuntu installation process starts. You many need to use “gparted” to shrink the Windows partition and create one partition for Grub boot loader and another partition for Ubuntu. It is wise to avoid overwriting partitions with factory settings and factory boot loaders. For example, the Windows 8 is on partition /dev/sda5. /dev/sda1 ~ /dev/sda4 has software installed by Lenovo, then I shrink /dev/sda5, and created /dev/sda8 for boot loader and /dev/sda9 for Ubuntu. I try to avoid overwriting /dev/sda1 ~ /dev/sda5.

4. Screen Problem
Now, your Ubuntu can boot, but you still have only a black screen.The
Restart computer, and choose “advanced Ubuntu” in grub and choose recovery mode, and choose “root console“. In this way, you can enter the command line mode to solve the screen problem.
Modify /etc/default/grub by modify with GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=”acpi_backlight=vendor quiet splash”
Run update-grub2, then this “acpi_backlight=vendor” option will be pushed to your /boot/grub/grub.cfg. Now the screen problem shall be solved.
Make sure you make this change for all the Ubuntu boot entries of your grub, otherwise some entries will not work.

5. Wifi and Screen Brightness Problem
There may be other solutions, but this simple solution works perfect for me.
In /etc/modprobe.d/ I created a file “blacklist-ideapad_laptop.conf”, and in it, I put “blacklist ideapad_laptop”, in this way, both the wifi and brightness problems are solved. Very simple. You do not need wicd to solve this problem.

6. Tweak for SSD (Optional).
Edit /etc/fstab to add options mount “noatime,nodiratime,discard” to your ubuntu partition.
Edit /etc/fstab to use tmpfs for /tmp and /var/tmp

Useful Links:
http://memobadz.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/lenovo-yoga-pro-2-on-ubuntu/
http://askubuntu.com/questions/367963/ubuntu-on-lenovo-yoga-2-pro/485632#485632 (Thanks to rubo77)

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32 comments

    • mutoular

      Make sure you install Ubuntu 13.10, 64bit, not 12.04.
      For step 2:
      Use another computer to create the installation USB.
      Use another computer to edit /boot/grub/grub.cfg on the USB.

      • jmmccota

        simply, the flag “acpi_backlight=vendor” to start on screen, didn’t work, then i did press the button for light up, and shows the screen

  1. David Alm

    Which bootloader will be used when the installation is complete, Grub or Windows?
    Secondly, is it possible to activate secure boot and lenovo fast boot?

    I assume from what ive read that this guide results in the laptop running in legacy mode and not uefi?

    Sincerly David

    • GeonoTRON2000

      Grub will be used when the installation is complete, but it has an option to boot from windows, as mutoular said. Ubuntu will actually boot from UEFI rather than legacy mode, but enabling secure boot and fast boot is a bad idea as they are designed for Windows 8 and may not work correctly.

  2. charis sfyrakis

    Great tutorial!!

    For some reason, if i install ubuntu alongside windows (using your procedure) there is no sound.
    If i however format the ssd and install ubuntu on its own, sound works.
    Any ideas?

  3. Daniel

    @ jmmccota the acpi_backlight=vendor has to be done 4 times in that cfg.. remember when you boot up you are presented with 4 options.. in order to use all 4 of those options you need to enter that command 4 times at the mentioned locations

  4. JakeXLVII

    Thanks very much for excellent post. It was very helpful to a new user.

    A small addition for other inexperienced folk: I was at first unable to make changes in the from the console in step 4 because the disk was mounted read-only. Choosing the ‘update grub’ option corrected the problem so I could write changes in vi.

  5. bm

    Step 4 I get a “/etc/default/grub” E212: Can’t open file for writing” error when trying to modify that file using vi. Any thoughts?

  6. Greg

    It won’t hinder the data on the Windows Partition will it? I already know I can’t natively utilize Ubuntu because Visual Studio won’t run correctly.

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  9. José

    Days trying to work the wifi and when I put the line into blacklist file it works perfectly. Lot of thanks! Great! 😀

  10. venik212

    I managed to install Lubuntu on my Yoga 2 pro, however:
    –the sound issue (sound from earphone but not speakers, apparently randomly) is still there
    –How do I disable the touchpad when I type? the computer is useless without that ability
    –How do I get the function keys to work (volume up-down, etc.)? The brightness control from F11 F12 do work.
    Thanks a lot!

    • mutoular

      –the sound issue (sound from earphone but not speakers, apparently randomly) is still there
      It seems that there is not a good solution to this problem.

      –How do I disable the touchpad when I type? the computer is useless without that ability
      Try Function Key F6

      –How do I get the function keys to work (volume up-down, etc.)? The brightness control from F11 F12 do work.
      My works without any problem, so I cannot answer this question.

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