A Linux Teaching Moment at an Asus Authorized Service Center

I had to take my laptop, an Asus FX-504GD, to the Asus Authorized Service Center last week. It turned into a learning experience for me, I learned more Thai, and the technicians as well. The hinges for the LCD screen had pulled away from the back panel and were bent. This was caused by the hinges themselves being too tight. Because of this, it was hard to close the laptop and it caused a lot of stress on both the LCD panel, but the laptop body itself. Below is a picture of the type of damage it had.1

When I took it to the Service Center, the technician told me that this was a known problem with this model of laptop, and that he has repaired several of them in the past. They checked to see if it was under warranty, and it was… by one day! So I got it fixed for free. They replaced the hinges, back LCD panel, and the front bezel. The new hinges are definitely less “stiff” than the old ones, and they did really good work. Despite all this, the technician was freaking out when I came to pick it up.

The Service Center called my wife and told her that I could pick up my laptop. They also told her that they may have broken my Linux install. They said that it would only go into the bios (read UEFI), and because it was Linux, they were afraid to do anything else with it until I got there. So I hopped on the motorcycle and went to pick it up. As I entered the service center, the techs were lined up to apologize to me for “breaking” my laptop. I thanked them and asked to see what it was doing. They showed me that is was only going to the bios when you turned it on. The bios was not seeing a boot loader.

This is a common problem on modern laptops that have had their battery disconnected for a long time, despite having a CMOS battery on the motherboard. Normally, the technicians would not notice this problem. Because most OEM’s embed the Windows 10 key into the bios, the bios will automatically detect a Windows 10 boot loader. This is not always the case with Linux. Having the bios see grub again was a simple fix. I have had to do this many times in the last couple of years. This is what I did and I showed them the process.

  1. Entered the BIOS.
  2. Pressed F7 to enter advanced mode.
  3. Went to the “boot” tab, and selected the “Add new boot option”
  4. In the box next to the Add Boot Option, I entered “Arch”
  5. In box next to Path for boot option, I browsed to the grubx64.efi file located on the EFI system partition.
  6. Pressed the Create button.

This created a new boot entry in the bios for my Arch install.

When I rebooted the laptop, it went right to grub and then into my Arch install. The techs were amazed and relieved that they had not broken my system. They apologized again and said that they only know Windows. As a way of showing that they were sorry, they saw that my battery looked like it was pregnant. So they ordered a new one for me. It will be here in a week.

The laptop is home and purring along nicely. I thought I would share not only the experience I had with the service center, but the process of manually adding a “boot entry” in to the bios as well. I hope that you got a chuckle out of the situation like I did and the information can be of use.


1This photo came from the following Reddit post Link. It is from the same model of laptop and shows the same damage that mine had. I had forgotten to take a picture before taking it to be worked on.

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Those techs should step up their game!! :rofl:

:penguin:

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yeah well, i’d rather expect responses like “we only cover windows under our service” and downright refuse to fix it. I get that response from my internet provider whenever i call them with internet issues: “Sorry we only support Windows”. (It’s good internet and I’m not switching the provider just for that. I find it amusing actually).

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The technicians over here are probably gonna say, “We’ll take two days to fix the problem, and by then the warranty period is gonna be over, so you gotta pay for that fix!”

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Oh yeah, i’ve heard that even from DELL tech support with laptop which was sold with Ubuntu :rofl:
Priceless

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They were not only honest, they even displayed what really good service is about. Kudos to those techs.

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I truly wish I recorded my conversation with my IPS when the connection went down. It could’ve dragged on forever, but I took him out of his misery after a few minutes, explained that I run LInux, and took care of pinging the provider myself (witch I already did before calling).

“Command prompt!? Do you mean Terminal?”

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This reminds me a dialogue I had about 2 years ago with a technician of my internet provider. It was something like

Tech: “Click on the menu bottom left and open the Command Prompt”
Me : I don’t have a menu bottom left, I bet you assume I run Windows, but I run Linux.
Tech: (silence)… then “OK, but you need to open the Command Prompt”
Me : I understand what you mean, don’t worry, I have a terminal.
Tech (other silence) … then “No, no, you need to open the Command Prompt”
:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

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The Asus Service Center in the city I live in is really good. I have not had any issues with them at all. Thee techs really know what they are doing when it comes to fixing hardware. Even their “out of warranty” rates are pretty reasonable. They took care of me with my old laptop, an Asus G-75VW, even though I had purchased it in the United States and not Thailand. Normally, they will not service products from “out of region”, but they made a quick call to Asus Global and got permission.

The only time I hear that is from my ISP. It flusters them when they are forced to go “off script”.

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I do a lot of tech support “under the table”. Most of the users I support are, shall we say, older. I have to say “open a DOS prompt” or they will not understand me. And yes, most of them are on Linux, but to them, a terminal is still a “DOS prompt”.

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one step more easy --> open the blackboard

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Love it!!! I especially like the quote.

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Dell sells Ubuntu laptops??

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They have in the past, not sure if they still do.

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Apparently they sell only XPS13 (Developer Edition) laptops that way - either Ubuntu 18.04 or Ubuntu 20.04. Not sure why not other models - would want a bigger screen for sure…

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It also depends on where you are. I can get laptops from Dell that are not the XPS 13 with Linux pre-installed in the local shops. Who knows for sure if they came that way from Dell. As far as support for them goes, I don’t know. I have also seen laptops for sale in stores that are running EndlessOS.

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Lenovo stepped up their Linux game this year with Fedora and now Ubuntu preinstalled

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Probably it differs with location - even ‘officially’. I was on the ‘Canada’ version of Dell’s site, which might well limit Linux options - based on sales performance…?

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Yeah they technically do, but have almost zero support :slight_smile:

USA original i mean, i had dealt with them directly from there to old World, you can choose if you want Windows or Ubuntu / Red Hat at least for some models like Precision or XPS i think too

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Here, they offer laptops with no OS as an option, but not with a Linux distro (Lenovo and Dell)

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Good enough i guess, instant Arch installation! :slight_smile:

And no extra-price for Windows 10

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