Walmart Surf Onn 2 In 1 Tablet

linuxnow

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I have a Surf Onn 10.1 2 in 1 tablet from Walmart that came with windows 10 and I’m wanting to use it as a tryout device for Linux. Does anyone know if it’s possible to remove the Windows 10 os on these and load Linux?

It comes with Intel Celeron N4000 processor 4 GB RAM and 64 GB memory.
 


Lord Boltar

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Yes it is possible it has an emmc card for the drive - you will first have to change in the BIOS from UEFI to Legacy and disable Fast/Secure Boot then delete the partition then you can install Linux you will have to create a bootable thumb drive for this - I would use Etcher to create the bootable thumb drive
 
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linuxnow

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Is there a tutorial for this? I’ve removed windows before to reinstall it but that’s only once or twice.

What is the significance of the mention of EMMC card?

I looked around before I posted here and didn’t find anyone who had successfully done it. Part of my reason for trying this with this little cheap computer is to see how I like Linux anyway before I try to put it on a regular computer that I rely on.
 

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the emmc card is similar to a ssd card, except the emmc card is usually soldered into the MoBo and is not removable - that is your hard drive more or less.
I used an Ubuntu Based OS make sure it has the Disk utility already installed, Ubuntu does, Expirion does, Linux Mint does

Use Etcher to create the live USB from the Buntu based OS ISO file that was downloaded and set aside for now you can also check it on another machine to make sure it boots correctly first if you wish. Generally tap the F12 key on startup which brings up the boot menu and select the USB drive. Some machine may use the Esc key or F9 depends on who made it.

Go into the bios of your machine you want to install Linux on and turn off secure boot and change it from UEFI to Legacy now stick in your USB thumb drive and reboot - tap the F12 key or Esc key or F9 key to access the boot menu and select the USB drive it should now boot up
Once booted into your Live Linux open the Disk Utility and look for the emmc drive it will look strange something like mmcblk0p3
- select that drive from the dropdown menu select format drive then click the + and format it to MBR/DOS and Fat
Once formatted you are now ready to install just make sure the grub goes into the mmc drive if not it will not boot - hence where most people have the problem - saying something like it installed but it won't boot or I cant see the drive issues and so forth

Some emmc cards have RPMB (Replay Protected Memory Block) embedded in it
You may also need to install mmc-utils in the Live Linux to manipulate it

The mmc-utils tools can do the following:
- Print and parse extcsd data.
- Determine the eMMC writeprotect status.
- Set the eMMC writeprotect status.
- Set the eMMC data sector size to 4KB by disabling emulation.
- Create general purpose partition.
- Enable the enhanced user area.
- Enable write reliability per partition.
- Print the response to STATUS_SEND (CMD13).
- Enable the boot partition.
- Set Boot Bus Conditions.
- Enable the eMMC BKOPS feature.
- Permanently enable the eMMC H/W Reset feature.
- Permanently disable the eMMC H/W Reset feature.
- Send Sanitize command.
- Program authentication key for the device.
- Counter value for the rpmb device will be read to stdout.
- Read from rpmb device to output.
- Write to rpmb device from data file.
- Enable the eMMC cache feature.
- Disable the eMMC cache feature.
- Print and parse CID data.
- Print and parse CSD data.
- Print and parse SCR data.

Personally I have not seen a very good tutorial on this.
 
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linuxnow

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How do I tell if it has Drive Protected Memory Block? I'd like to find out PRIOR to trying this Is this really any different though than what you must do with a regular PC?

With most, you would install Linux on the ISO thumb drive; at the bootup enter setup and delete the OS; then go back to boot and select legacy boot, then boot from the thumb drive with the OS. Anything different that must be done for this specific computer?
 

Lord Boltar

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How do I tell if it has Drive Protected Memory Block? I'd like to find out PRIOR to trying this Is this really any different though than what you must do with a regular PC?

With most, you would install Linux on the ISO thumb drive; at the bootup enter setup and delete the OS; then go back to boot and select legacy boot, then boot from the thumb drive with the OS. Anything different that must be done for this specific computer?
Have to use mmc-utils to do that
writeprotect get

Once you have mmc-utils installed
open terminal run
mmc writeprotect get
this will let you know if it is RPMB or not
 
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Lord Boltar

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Is that something I can wait and do after I delete Windows and load Linux? Or do I have to do this before I load it?
you can do it from the Live USB just install mmc-utils into the Live USB once the USB is Booted and connected to the Internet open the terminal and type in sudo apt update, then sudo apt install mmc-utils
But when you reboot the live installer will not remember, so the mmc-utils will be gone
Another option is when in the live USB open the disk utility and check if it see the emmc card if it does you can try to format the emmc card of course this will wipe your Windows, but then you won't need to bother with RPMB either
 
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linuxnow

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Gosh I’m confused by this. I’ve loaded windows before and I’ve used computers with Linux. You’re telling me that it may or may not be the case that the hard drive has some kind of protection which would disable adding a new operating system. So I’m just trying to find out how to know if such is installed. Can I delete the Windows os and then try loading Linux or if I do this am i at risk of not being able to load Linux due to protections that should have been disabled before I deleted the Windows os?
 

Lord Boltar

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Gosh I’m confused by this. I’ve loaded windows before and I’ve used computers with Linux. You’re telling me that it may or may not be the case that the hard drive has some kind of protection which would disable adding a new operating system. So I’m just trying to find out how to know if such is installed. Can I delete the Windows os and then try loading Linux or if I do this am i at risk of not being able to load Linux due to protections that should have been disabled before I deleted the Windows os?
Yep that's pretty much correct it come down to the manufacture emmc cards are a bit different then a standard hard drive, put it simply if it installs it will work if it don't load then it is RPMB protected then use the mmc-utils
you do not need to do anything except boot up the linux live usb it does not matter about Windows at this point, you are just looking at the emmc card to see if it is RPMB or not and for that you will need to install mmc-utils into the live Linux USB that is all. If there is no RPMB then you can simply install Linux and wipe Windows
You know on a SD card it has that little tab on the side that you can turn on write protect the card so you cannot write to it this is a similar principle - some have it, some do not
 
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Yep that's pretty much correct it come down to the manufacture emmc cards are a bit different then a standard hard drive, put it simply if it installs it will work if it don't load then it is RPMB protected then use the mmc-utils
you do not need to do anything except boot up the linux live usb it does not matter about Windows at this point, you are just looking at the emmc card to see if it is RPMB or not and for that you will need to install mmc-utils into the live Linux USB that is all. If there is no RPMB then you can simply install Linux and wipe Windows
You know on a SD card it has that little tab on the side that you can turn on write protect the card so you cannot write to it this is a similar principle - some have it, some do not

It sounds to me like it's possible, with write protection, to remove Windows but not be able to install Linux without the extra step to disable write protection. Doing it like this could leave one with a computer that can't go online and get the necessary utility. Is there a way to tell, in advance, if your EMMC has write protection?
 
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