Dual boot PC recommendation

Hope this is the right place to ask this kind of thing. If not…er, sorry.

I’ve got an old Toshiba laptop that I use all the time and dual boots Ubuntu (99% of the time) and Windows (the other 1% of things for which there is no Linux alternative). However, it is now getting a bit knackered, with keys falling off and mousepad buttons not working properly, so I thought it was time to get a new one. My first thought was just to go into Tescos or Argos, buy a cheap laptop, and install the latest Ubuntu. However, a quick bit of research tells me that, over the last few years, things have changed, and there are now devilish BIOS changes that can make it difficult/impossible to install Linux.

Can anyone please recommend a cheapo laptop (say under £350) that is known to be straightforward for installing a dual-boot Linux/Windows environment?



Hi Steve and welcome to the forum :slight_smile:

I take it you want a laptop with Windows 8/8.1/10 pre-installed that’s known to work well with Ubuntu ?
(just checking you want Windows pre-installed)

I recently bought one of these from Agros (refurb)
and after a little tweak to the wireless drivers it work perfectly.
(I now have 2 recent HP Pavilion 15 laptops, both with AMD CPU’s and both dual booting Windows/Peppermint … Peppermint is based on Ubuntu)

A new option might be

whic will probably have very similar hardware.

or a cheaper alternative:

but it’d be better off with 8GB RAM (requires complete disassembly to add RAM)

Or if you want one with Ubuntu pre-installed (and you already have a Windows installation disk and valid license)

All I’m saying is recent HP’s (at least the ones with AMD CPU’s and graphics) seem to work well with Ubuntu/Mint/Peppermint, except for a small easy to apply tweak necessary to the rtl8723be wireless driver.

Hi Mark

Thanks for the replies. Yes I’m looking for a laptop with Windows pre-installed (sorry I wasn’t clear about that). I don’t have a Windows installation disk: my old PC has got some version of Windows (Vista, possibly) on it, but no media. It seemed to me that the cheapest way to get a machine that would run both OSs was to buy one with Windows pre-installed and then add the Linux.

Thanks for your suggestions of machines that would fit the bill. I’ll look into those options. It sounds as though HP machines with the AMD chipsets are a reliable option. I’m quite happy to do some simple tweak to get the WiFi working, but I’m no Linux expert and don’t want to have to spend days researching fixes to a plethora of problems. I might be prepared to do that if I’d got an old laptop and wanted to try out Linux, but not when I’m contemplating a new one that will need to run Linux 99% of the time. Unfortunately there are just a few obscure things I do, for which there is no Linux equivalent to the software available for Windows, so it does need to run both.



No problem Steve, I’d be 99.9% confident that any of those laptops will fit the bill … but the only two I can absolutely “guarantee” would be:-

HP Pavilion 15-P047NA
HP Pavilion 15-P273NA

both of which I own, and both of which have AMD CPU’s and Graphics … you get the picture :wink:

Oh, obviously you can also guarantee the one that comes with Ubuntu pre-installed too :slight_smile:


Just an update on this. Following suggestions here, I bought an HP with the AMD chipset and Win 10 pre-installed. Installing Linux was pretty straightforward: I disabled Safe Boot and Fast Boot then just booted from an Ubuntu LiveCD (handily, there was one on the cover of the last Linux Format mag). Have answered the question that ‘yes, I would like to install Ubuntu alongside Windows’, the installer did pretty much everything. I then just had to use efibootmgr to change the UEFI boot order so that Grub was the first boot item. Everything seems to work OK out of the box: even the WiFi is working, although it seems a bit intermittent. I don’t know if that’sa problem or just something random that happened.

Many thanks for the advice.



Great news, glad to hear your new HP isn’t giving you any problems (except possibly wireless stability which should be easy to fix) :slight_smile:

The wireless stability issue is probably being caused by it having an rlt8723be adapter which requires a couple of driver options adding to stabilise it.


lsmod | grep rtl8723be

if in the list of returns you see “rtl8723be

sudo touch /etc/modprobe.d/rtl8723be.conf


echo "options rtl8723be fwlps=0 ips=0" | sudo tee /etc/modprobe.d/rtl8723be.conf

then REBOOT.

Wireless should now be much more stable.

if the lsmod command doesn’t return rtl8723be … instead run:

sudo lshw -C network


lspci -vnn | grep -i net

and post the output back here.

Have you switched to the proprietary AMD graphics drivers yet ?

if unsure, also post the output from:

sudo lshw -C display


sudo ubuntu-drivers list


Hi Mark

I tried lsmod and it seems like it is not a rtl8723be. I the ran lshw and lspci – results posted below. It looks like its a Broadcom Wifi chip. I think I’ve read about all kinds of problems with those, so maybe this is not good news.

I haven’t installed any specific AMD graphics drivers but I dunno what the Ubuntu disk may have installed.



sudo lshw -C network gives me:

description: Wireless interface
product: BCM43142 802.11b/g/n
vendor: Broadcom Corporation
physical id: 0
bus info: pci@0000:02:00.0
logical name: wlo1
version: 01
serial: 60:6d:c7:e6:2e:25
width: 64 bits
clock: 33MHz
capabilities: pm msi pciexpress bus_master cap_list ethernet physical wireless
configuration: broadcast=yes driver=wl0 driverversion= (r487574) ip= latency=0 multicast=yes wireless=IEEE 802.11abg
resources: irq:38 memory:f0c00000-f0c07fff
description: Ethernet interface
product: RTL8101/2/6E PCI Express Fast/Gigabit Ethernet controller
vendor: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd.
physical id: 0
bus info: pci@0000:03:00.0
logical name: enp3s0
version: 07
serial: dc:4a:3e:16:d6:f8
size: 10Mbit/s
capacity: 100Mbit/s
width: 64 bits
clock: 33MHz
capabilities: pm msi pciexpress msix vpd bus_master cap_list ethernet physical tp mii 10bt 10bt-fd 100bt 100bt-fd autonegotiation
configuration: autonegotiation=on broadcast=yes driver=r8169 driverversion=2.3LK-NAPI duplex=half firmware=rtl8106e-1_0.0.1 06/29/12 latency=0 link=no multicast=yes port=MII speed=10Mbit/s
resources: irq:32 ioport:2000(size=256) memory:f0b00000-f0b00fff memory:f0800000-f0803fff

lspci -vnn | grep -i net gives me:

02:00.0 Network controller [0280]: Broadcom Corporation BCM43142 802.11b/g/n [14e4:4365] (rev 01)
03:00.0 Ethernet controller [0200]: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8101/2/6E PCI Express Fast/Gigabit Ethernet controller [10ec:8136] (rev 07)

Can you post the output from:

dpkg -l | grep bcmwl-kernel-source


uname -a



This link is here for my future reference:


Many thanks for taking so much trouble over this.

The results of those commands pasted below.



$ dpkg -l | grep bcmwl-kernel-source
ii bcmwl-kernel-source amd64 Broadcom 802.11 Linux STA wireless driver source
$ uname -a
Linux stephen-HP-Notebook 4.2.0-23-generic #28-Ubuntu SMP Sun Dec 27 17:47:31 UTC 2015 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
$ lsmod
Module Size Used by
uas 24576 0
usb_storage 69632 2 uas
rfcomm 69632 2
bnep 20480 2
nls_iso8859_1 16384 1
snd_hda_codec_realtek 86016 1
snd_hda_codec_hdmi 49152 1
snd_hda_codec_generic 77824 1 snd_hda_codec_realtek
snd_hda_intel 36864 5
snd_hda_codec 135168 4 snd_hda_codec_realtek,snd_hda_codec_hdmi,snd_hda_codec_generic,snd_hda_intel
uvcvideo 90112 0
snd_hda_core 65536 5 snd_hda_codec_realtek,snd_hda_codec_hdmi,snd_hda_codec_generic,snd_hda_codec,snd_hda_intel
snd_hwdep 16384 1 snd_hda_codec
videobuf2_vmalloc 16384 1 uvcvideo
snd_pcm 106496 4 snd_hda_codec_hdmi,snd_hda_codec,snd_hda_intel,snd_hda_core
videobuf2_memops 16384 1 videobuf2_vmalloc
videobuf2_core 49152 1 uvcvideo
btusb 45056 0
btrtl 16384 1 btusb
snd_seq_midi 16384 0
snd_seq_midi_event 16384 1 snd_seq_midi
btbcm 16384 1 btusb
btintel 16384 1 btusb
snd_rawmidi 32768 1 snd_seq_midi
v4l2_common 16384 1 videobuf2_core
bluetooth 516096 29 bnep,btbcm,btrtl,btusb,rfcomm,btintel
snd_seq 69632 2 snd_seq_midi_event,snd_seq_midi
kvm 512000 0
videodev 172032 3 uvcvideo,v4l2_common,videobuf2_core
wl 6365184 0
media 24576 2 uvcvideo,videodev
snd_seq_device 16384 3 snd_seq,snd_rawmidi,snd_seq_midi
crct10dif_pclmul 16384 0
hp_wmi 16384 0
crc32_pclmul 16384 0
snd_timer 32768 2 snd_pcm,snd_seq
sparse_keymap 16384 1 hp_wmi
aesni_intel 167936 0
aes_x86_64 20480 1 aesni_intel
lrw 16384 1 aesni_intel
gf128mul 16384 1 lrw
cfg80211 548864 1 wl
edac_core 53248 0
snd 81920 21 snd_hda_codec_realtek,snd_hwdep,snd_timer,snd_hda_codec_hdmi,snd_pcm,snd_seq,snd_rawmidi,snd_hda_codec_generic,snd_hda_codec,snd_hda_intel,snd_seq_device
glue_helper 16384 1 aesni_intel
ablk_helper 16384 1 aesni_intel
cryptd 20480 2 aesni_intel,ablk_helper
soundcore 16384 1 snd
fam15h_power 16384 0
input_leds 16384 0
joydev 20480 0
serio_raw 16384 0
k10temp 16384 0
edac_mce_amd 24576 0
shpchp 36864 0
ccp 32768 0
i2c_piix4 24576 0
hp_wireless 16384 0
tpm_crb 16384 0
mac_hid 16384 0
parport_pc 32768 0
ppdev 20480 0
lp 20480 0
parport 49152 3 lp,ppdev,parport_pc
autofs4 40960 2
amdkfd 122880 1
amd_iommu_v2 20480 1 amdkfd
radeon 1519616 7
psmouse 126976 0
i2c_algo_bit 16384 1 radeon
ttm 94208 1 radeon
drm_kms_helper 126976 1 radeon
sdhci_pci 24576 0
sdhci 45056 1 sdhci_pci
drm 356352 428 ttm,drm_kms_helper,radeon
ahci 36864 3
r8169 81920 0
libahci 32768 1 ahci
mii 16384 1 r8169
wmi 20480 1 hp_wmi
video 36864 0

Okay, I didn’t expect that kernel or version of bcmwl-kernel-source … which distro/version are we talking here ?

And can you define what you mean by “unstable wireless” … disconnects ? … not connecting on some boots ? … weak signal ? … etc. ?

It is Ubuntu 15.10. It was just the version of Ubuntu that happened to be on the cover CD of Linux Format mag. I’ve no special attachment to it though.

The wireless signal icon shows a signal that varies up and down from almost nothing to full strength, even when I’m sitting within touching distance of the router. Then, every so often (maybe every hour or so) it loses signal completely. When this happens, it seems to have some difficulty reconnecting, and the wireless password pop-up box appears, although the correct password is in the box already.

So it is annoying, rather than disastrous.

Other wifi-connected devices in the house don’t suffer from the same symptoms, so I don’t think it’s the router.



Can you post the output from:

sudo iwlist scan



$ sudo iwlist scan

enp3s0 Interface doesn’t support scanning.

wlo1 Scan completed :
Cell 01 - Address: CC:96:A0:0C:12:21
Frequency:2.462 GHz (Channel 11)
Quality=31/70 Signal level=-79 dBm
Encryption key:on
Bit Rates:1 Mb/s; 2 Mb/s; 5.5 Mb/s; 11 Mb/s; 18 Mb/s
24 Mb/s; 36 Mb/s; 54 Mb/s
Bit Rates:6 Mb/s; 9 Mb/s; 12 Mb/s; 48 Mb/s
Extra: Last beacon: 32ms ago
IE: Unknown: 000B4254487562332D4736475A
IE: Unknown: 010882848B962430486C
IE: Unknown: 03010B
IE: Unknown: 2A0100
IE: Unknown: 2F0100
IE: WPA Version 1
Group Cipher : TKIP
Pairwise Ciphers (2) : CCMP TKIP
Authentication Suites (1) : PSK
IE: IEEE 802.11i/WPA2 Version 1
Group Cipher : TKIP
Pairwise Ciphers (2) : CCMP TKIP
Authentication Suites (1) : PSK
IE: Unknown: 32040C121860
IE: Unknown: 2D1AFC181BFFFF000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
IE: Unknown: 3D160B001700000000000000000000000000000000000000
IE: Unknown: DD7B0050F204104A00011010440001021041000100103B000103104700100B9BFC80962485675C5A8E8176A213831021000842726F6164636F6D1023000842726F6164636F6D1024000631323334353610420004313233341054000800060050F20400011011000A42726F6164636F6D4150100800020080103C000101
IE: Unknown: DD090010180205F0040000
IE: Unknown: DD180050F2020101800003A4000027A4000042435E0062322F00
Cell 02 - Address: 8A:96:A0:0C:12:22
Frequency:2.462 GHz (Channel 11)
Quality=31/70 Signal level=-79 dBm
Encryption key:off
Bit Rates:1 Mb/s; 2 Mb/s; 5.5 Mb/s; 11 Mb/s; 18 Mb/s
24 Mb/s; 36 Mb/s; 54 Mb/s
Bit Rates:6 Mb/s; 9 Mb/s; 12 Mb/s; 48 Mb/s
Extra: Last beacon: 32ms ago
IE: Unknown: 000F4254576946692D776974682D464F4E
IE: Unknown: 010882848B962430486C
IE: Unknown: 03010B
IE: Unknown: 2A0100
IE: Unknown: 2F0100
IE: Unknown: 32040C121860
IE: Unknown: 2D1AFC181BFFFF000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
IE: Unknown: 3D160B001700000000000000000000000000000000000000
IE: Unknown: DD090010180205F0040000
IE: Unknown: DD180050F2020101800003A4000027A4000042435E0062322F00

lo Interface doesn’t support scanning.

$ iwconfig
enp3s0 no wireless extensions.

wlo1 IEEE 802.11abg ESSID:“BTHub3-G6GZ”
Mode:Managed Frequency:2.462 GHz Access Point: CC:96:A0:0C:12:21
Retry short limit:7 RTS thr:off Fragment thr:off
Power Management:off

lo no wireless extensions.


OK you might want to read this topic (particularly starting at this posting):

and follow the linked instructions to disable the “BTWiFi-with-FON” side of things on your BT-Homehub-3

Hi Mark

Opting out of BT Fon is quite a drastic step because I find it a very useful service to be able to filch a bit of bandwith from other people’s routers when I’m out and about. So I’m really trying to understand the chain of logic that got us here. Am I right in thinking that:

  • lshw has told us that the pc has a Broadcom BCM43142 wifi chip;
  • dpkg has told us that Ubuntu has installed a bcmwl-kernel-source package, which is the right driver for the Broadcom chip;
  • lsmod tells us which modules are actually loaded in the kernel, which is presumably wl, and presumably that is the compiled version of bcmwl-kernel-source;
  • therefore I have got the correct driver for the chip;
  • therefore the problem lies somewhere else?

Have I got this more or less right, please?



Update: I’m wondering if I’ve been a complete numpty here! I just ran LinSSID and I can see someone else (probably my next door neighbour) is running a wireless router with a very healthy signal on the same channel as mine. They only moved in just before Christmas and I think they must have set this up in the last few days: I’ve certainly not had any wifi problems before (or at least not since BT fixed a router firmware update problem last year) and we had a houseful of family over Christmas, all using the wifi for various phones/tablets/PCs, and no-one complaining. So I think it could be one of those unhappy coincidences thatmake fault-finding so difficult (them putting in a new router about the same time as I bought a new laptop).

Anyway, I’ve changed channels to one that looks clear. I’ll see if that makes a difference! The signal icon still looks suspiciously low, though.

Many thanks for all your work on this and sorry if turns out to have been a wild goose chase.

Best wishes


Opting out of BTPHON is only at you router … it should not (as far as I’m aware) affect your ability to connect to other peoples BT routers, just their ability to connect to yours.

Your wireless is being confused by you having 2 distinctly separate networks with the same name so it keeps swapping (or attempting to swap) between them … it MAY however be possible to tell it to only use one of them … whether this will change anything I don’t know, but worth a shot

Right-click the networkmanager icon in the system tray

Select “Edit Connections

Highlight your wireless profile, and click “Edit

Select the “Wi-Fi” tab

set the BSSID drop menu to
BSSID: CC:96:A0:0C:12:21

click the “Save” button.

Now log off/on … or disconnect wireless and reconnect.

Now let’s see if it’s more stable ?

SteveW… Try and steer clear of Samsung note books! no way so far can I dual boot Ubuntu on mine which has pre installed Windows 8 which by the way has lost it’s reg key or should I say no longer accepts It!
I will say Mark Greaves has been very helpful giving his time and advice trying to resolve this issue…getting close to a 'clean windows wipe off ’ excuse the pun.