Q&A with Ubuntu contributor Mike Basinger

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UEFI and Ubuntu

Question I recently built a computer that has a motherboard (ASRock Z77 Extreme 6) that has a UEFI BIOS. I can get Ubuntu to install, but the GRUB boot menu never shows when booting the computer. What am I doing wrong? Will Ubuntu not work on modern hardware? Please don't ask me to use Windows 8.

Steve from West Yellowstone

Answer Using Ubuntu with UEFI is not quite an OOTB (out of the box) install. You can find the full guide on how to install Ubuntu under UEFI on the Ubuntu community help wiki [1]. There are two key things to remember when using UEFI and Ubuntu.

1. You must install a 64-bit version of Ubuntu at least 12.04 or newer. Older versions and 32-bit versions of the Ubuntu installer will not work with UEFI. Because you are getting the installer to run, that does not sound like your problem.

2. You must create an EFI partition. If you have Windows 8 pre-installed, you should be able to use the EFI that comes with it, by doing:

unity --reset

and to reset icons

unity --reset-icons

This will not work in Ubuntu 12.10, and Ask Ubuntu [1] currently has a bounty open for a solution.

Playing CDs

Question Mike, I could use some help. I have been trying for the past six months to get a music CD or music DVD to play through when using Ubuntu. I get a freeze up part way through the first or second song; rarely do I get to the third song before the freeze occurs.

I get the same result with versions of Ubuntu starting with 10.10 and going to 12.10 – usually the attempt is through Rhythmbox. I have tried VLC, Banshee, Movie Player, and many plugins. Nothing works. I have researched the Ubuntu forums and Ask Ubuntu without success. The problem happens with either a CD I created or with a commercial CD (Disney).

The problem occurs with either of the two computers I use with Ubuntu. One computer is Intel based. The other is AMD based. The CD/DVD drives in the two computers are from different manufacturers. BTW, the problem with Rhythmbox happens either when I try to play the CD directly or if I first load the music into Rhythmbox and then try to play it through.

The music CD will play through routinely if I insert it into a Win XP-based computer.

My latest hypothesis is that maybe there is a problem related to the CD/DVD drive firmware. I have not yet figured out how to run a DOS executable firmware update when running Ubuntu.

I would think that playing a music CD/DVD should be a trivial task in Ubuntu. Hasn't turned out to be very easy.

Thanks for any help.


Answer Usually playing music CDs under Ubuntu is very trivial and works for most people without any tweaking of their systems. I doubt if it is the firmware of your DVD drive, but if you want to upgrade, you should be able to get a bootdisk from bootdisk.com that has enough DOS/Windows OS on a CD to allow you to run the firmware software. Consider upgrading your computer BIOS also. I have had a DVD drive stop working because of the BIOS in the past – it's rare, but it happens.

From what I have read online, the problem may be related to an older PulseAudio bug [2]. You might want to look at the workaround listed in this bug report. Also try installing the latest version of Ubuntu (13.04 as of this writing). It could be a bug that has been fixed since Ubuntu 12.10.

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