Installing Ubuntu on Acer Spin UEFI devices

Installing Ubuntu on the Acer Spin 1 has been proving to be quite the hassle to me. Fortunately; following these steps allows other to easily install Ubuntu on the Acer Spin 1 and possible many other Acer UEFI devices. Installing the bootloader will likely fail steps are provided to recover from this and perform bootloader repair.

Steps install no bootloader

  • Boot from live USB (desktop iso only not server!)
  • Press try ubuntu
  • Open terminal
  • Execute: sudo -s
  • Execute: ubiquity -b
  • Continue installation using your own requirements and desires
  • Check the available discs and partitions with sudo fdisk -l. The partitions are assumed to be on mmcblk0 but they could also be on mmcblk1.
  • Execute: sudo mount /dev/mmcblk0p2 /mnt were mmcblk0p2 is the root partition
  • NOTE: root partition for lvm / cryptluks will be in /dev/mapper/ directory instead!
  • Execute: sudo mkdir /mnt/boot/efi
  • Execute: sudo mount /dev/mmcblk0p1 /mnt/boot/efi mmcblk0p1 is the efi partition
  • Execute: for i in /dev /dev/pts /proc /sys; do sudo mount -B $i /mnt$i; done
  • Execute: modprobe efivars
  • Execute: efibootmgr --verbose
  • Execute: apt-get install --reinstall grub-efi-amd64
  • Execute: grub-install —no-nvram —root-directory=/mnt
  • Execute: chroot /mnt
  • Execute: update-grub
  • Installing grub-efi-amd64 might hang or fail do not worry if that’s the case continue with bootloader repair

Steps bootloader repair

  • Install rEFInd onto a usb and boot it
  • Select the install from the menu
  • Be patiented booting takes some time
  • Login using username
  • Open terminal
  • Execute: sudo -s
  • Execute: apt update && apt upgrade
  • Execute: update-grub
  • Execute: apt install grub-efi-amd64
  • Running grub-efi-amd64 will hang on post-installation
  • Kill apt by executing ps aux | grep apt and using the PID to call kill PID
  • Execute: dpkg --purge --force-all grub-efi-amd64
  • Execute: update-grub
  • Note this will prevent any grub updates from being installed by aptitude

Remove default desktop

Depending on the type of installation you want you might find that getty suffices as ‘desktop’ environment, if you are such a minimalist as me the following commands will remove most of the clutter. Keep in mind that such a minimalistic environment requires to manually enable and disable network interfaces.

  • sudo apt remove *desktop*
  • sudo apt remove *cups*
  • sudo apt remove *avahi*
  • sudo apt remove unity*
  • sudo apt remove snap*
  • sudo apt remove lightdm


From these sources the necessary information was gathered to make this installation possible, might want to check them out as well.


All comments by the author will be marked with the emblem: author
  1. Nuruddeen -

    Thanks for posting this, but I haven’t been able to get it to work. I get to the final step to udpate-grub and it hangs while generating the grub configuration file; the last line is Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-4.18.0-15-generic. Can you provide any further help?

    • Dantali0n author

      I have found it can sometimes still hang aswell but most of the times I have found that it still works if the command is cancelled with ctrl+c. If it does not work with after a reboot an usb with rEFInd can be used to boot into the install. With the install booted not from the usb installer I have found that installing grub-efi-64 works flawlessly as well as running update-grub.

  2. Piotr -

    Great tutorial, works for me! Thanks a lot!
    I would add only one thing. In my Acer Spin 1 partition are not mmcblk0p2,mmcblk0p1 but mmcblk1p2 and mmcblk1p1. Subltle change, but can be not so obvious for others 🙂 Maybe add comment with “sudo fdisk -l” so other users can actually check what are names of their partitions 🙂
    Anyway, thanks once again 🙂

  3. Ronald v. I. -

    Very helpful. I was struggling with installing xubuntu on my Acer Spin for days. Although I was not able to got it to work following the instructions verbatim, it provided me with sufficient hints to got it to work. I like to share my recipe

    a) Create bootable USB with xubuntu 19.10 (instructions below don’t work for 18.04)
    b) Create bootable USB with rEFInd (see

    1) Disable secure boot in BIOS setup (press F2 during boot, don’t forget to push Fn key to get F2)
    2) Boot xubuntu from USB (press F12 during boot for boot menu)
    3) Install xubuntu it. Ignore failure at the end about failing install of grub-efi-amd64-signed, don’t send report, shutdown system.
    4) Reboot laptop, this will give grub error and grub command prompt. Shutdown laptop (power button)
    5) Boot rEFInd from USB (press F12 during boot for boot menu)
    6) Select the xubuntu installation and boot it
    7) Open terminal (ctrl + alt + t)
    sudo -s
    apt update && apt upgrade
    # You will see some errors about grub-efi-amd64-signed and shim-signed.
    # These packages don’t seem to be needed, so remove them
    dpkg –purge –force-all grub-efi-amd64-signed
    dpkg –purge –force-all shim-signed
    apt autoremove
    # Update grub config, ignore error at the end
    8) Shutdown system, remove usb and reboot

    • Rafał -

      Thanks! I was trying to install Kubuntu on my dad’s laptop for a long time and your method worked. Thanks again!

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