Thinkpad W530, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, Fedora and Windows 8 Multiboot

Now that we’ve successfully done a clean Windows 8 install on the W530 and got it dual booting with Fedora 17, it’s now time to add another distribution onto the laptop – Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.

My first attempts to install RHEL 6.3 onto the W530 resulted in the graphics failing to load by the installer. This resulted in the screen displaying a strobing set of psychedelic colours. A few Red Hat Knowledge-base articles which might be relevant:

RHEL6 does not boot on Lenovo W520 Laptop with Discrete option selected to choose nVidia GPU

Blank screen during installation when using certain NVIDIA Quadro Graphics Adapters under Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6

Why won’t the Nvidia driver compile/install/load under Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6

I don’t recall exactly what settings I initially tried in the BIOS for display type which offers the following options:

  • “Integrated” – uses built-in Intel Integrated Graphics Controller”
  • “Discrete” – uses nVidia Graphics
  • “nVidia Optimus” – uses the built-in Intel Integrated Graphics Controller but allows the OS to use nVidia when needed (supported only with Windows 7 and Window 8)

Anyhow, I attempted to install with the following options on the kernel command line:

xdriver=vesa nomodeset

From what I can tell, that should have allowed the installer’s X Server to start successfully, but it did not. However, the installer helpfully told me that I could use a VNC client to perform the Red Hat install.

I told the installer to select /boot/efi as the EFI install partition, the one shared with Windows 8 and Fedora.

After the install, I was given the option to start Windows 8 or Red Hat Linux. The Fedora choice was no longer listed. Fortunately, there was a backup /boot/efi/EFI/redhat/grub.conf.rpmsave which contained the Fedora/Windows 8 option. It’s now just a case of merging the Red Hat and Fedora 8 grub files.

Here’s the result:

boot=/dev/sda2
device (hd0,5) HD(2,96800,32000,ad8e8d71-db62-4c7a-8603-5bc6ce875d52)
default=0
timeout=7
splashimage=(hd0,5)/grub/splash.xpm.gz
hiddenmenu
 title Fedora (3.6.11-1.fc17.x86_64)
  root (hd0,5)
  kernel /vmlinuz-3.6.11-1.fc17.x86_64 rd.md=0 rd.lvm=0 rd.dm=0 KEYTABLE=us SYSFONT=True rd.luks=0 root=UUID=a6f32b89-45ac-410f-8a1e-562b441304e3 ro LANG=en_US.UTF-8 rhgb quiet
  initrd /initramfs-3.6.11-1.fc17.x86_64.img
 title Windows 8
  set root=(hd0,gpt1)
  chainloader /EFI/Microsoft/Boot/bootmgfw.efi
 title Red Hat Enterprise Linux (2.6.32-279.el6.x86_64)
  root (hd0,8)
  kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.32-279.el6.x86_64 ro root=UUID=fe96af7b-07bd-451e-b4de-4eec673f4cca nomodeset rd_NO_LUKS KEYBOARDTYPE=pc KEYTABLE=us LANG=en_US.UTF-8 rd_NO_MD SYSFONT=latarcyrheb-sun16 crashkernel=auto rd_NO_LVM rd_NO_DM rhgb quiet xdriver=vesa
  initrd /initramfs-2.6.32-279.el6.x86_64.img
 title Windows 8
  rootnoverify (hd0,3)
  chainloader +1
title Fedora
  rootnoverify (hd0,6)
  chainloader +1

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