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Sharing some notes about running Fedora 29 on HP EliteBook 850 G5
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README.md

README.md

Running Linux (Fedora 29) on HP Elitebook 850 G5

Sharing some experiences about running Fedora on an HP Elitebook 850 G5 laptop.

Right now this document is only half-way finished. Hopefully I will find time to provide some more information.

What works

Basic functionality is working (kernel 4.20.3-200.fc29.x86_64) :

  • WIFI
  • Keyboard, keyboard backlight and shortcuts
  • Touchpad
  • Mouse button (to steer the mouse pointer)
  • Adaptive brightness (as weird as with Windows)
  • Webcam
  • HDMI external port (up to 4K)
  • Thermal sensors

I haven't tested much more than that.

What seems buggy :

  • Touchpad was once stuck in scrolling mode
  • Reboots often end on a black screen (fixed with boot option reboot=efi)

What is not working :

  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Mic mute button

To be tested :

  • Thunderbolt 3 port
  • WWAN LTE card (not even sure I've got one)

Customization of the laptop

The laptop configuration was like this :

HP EliteBook 850 G5
CPU Intel i7-8550U
Windows 10 PRO
Webcam + IR
15.6 inch UHD Anti-Glare LDE
8GB (1x8GB) DDR4 2400 
512GB PCIe NVMe Three Layer Cell Solid State Drive 
No Near Field Communication (No NFC) 
Intel 8265 ac 2x2 nvP +Bluetooth 4.2 WW with 2 Antennas 
No WWAN ??
Fingerprint Sensor 
No Active SmartCard 
3 Cell 56 WHr Long Life 
45 Watt Smart nPFC Right Angle AC Adapter 
C5 1.8m Sticker Conventional Power Cord SE/FI 
3/3/0 Warranty EURO 
No vPro AMT supported 
DIB HP Basic Carrying Case 
Country Localization SE/FI 
Dual Point with numeric keypad spill-resistant Collaboration SE/FI 
EU RED Pictogram Label 
Core i7 G8 Label 
HP 1 year Priority Management Service for PCs (1000+ seats) 
HP 3 year Next Business Day Onsite Notebook Only Hardware Support 
HP Operations Service

The laptop was delivered to me in the end of January 2019.

Short summary of hardware configuration :

  • RAM : 8 GB RAM
  • Operating system : Windows 10 Pro
  • 512 GB SSD
  • 15.6" inch screen (resolution 3840x2160)

Installation

The computer came with Windows 10 Pro installed with 3 partitions :

  • EFI (360 MB) + hidden partition maybe for Windows restoration (128 MB)
  • Windows C:\ (~475 GB)
  • Restore tools (915 MB)

Just split the C:\ in half (~235 GB) to install Linux.

Here is the steps to reduce C:\ volume :

  • In Windows, right click on Start menu logo > Disks Management
  • Right click on C:\
  • Reduce this volume, by default it's set on half its size
  • Accept the changes and reboot

Download Fedora 29 Workstation Live x86_64 and write it on an USB drive.

If Windows was pre-installed, secure boot is enabled and you will get "Image did not authenticate", preventing you to boot any other OS.

Here is the steps to disable secure boot :

  • Boot the computer
  • On the boot screen displaying HP Logo "Sure boot by HP" press F10
  • Go to Advanced > Secure Boot Options
  • Choose Legacy support enabled and secure boot disabled
  • Press F10
  • Yes to save the changes
  • Computer boots on a warning screen, you have to enter the displayed code :
    • Press Num lock
    • Enter the code
    • Press "Enter"
    • Computer reboots with secure boot disabled

Here is the steps to boot from the USB drive :

  • Boot the computer
  • On the boot screen displaying HP Logo "Sure boot by HP" press F9
  • Choose the USB UEFI entry

Proceed with usual Fedora installation :

  • Review the partition scheme (default/automatic was fine)
  • Launch the installation
  • Reboot

User creation will be at first boot.

Here is the partition table :

[edouard@hp850g5 ~]$ lsblk -o NAME,MOUNTPOINT,LABEL,FSTYPE
NAME            MOUNTPOINT LABEL            FSTYPE
nvme0n1                                     
├─nvme0n1p1     /boot/efi  SYSTEM           vfat
├─nvme0n1p2                                 
├─nvme0n1p3                Windows          ntfs
├─nvme0n1p4                Windows RE Tools ntfs
├─nvme0n1p5     /boot                       ext4
└─nvme0n1p6                                 LVM2_member
  ├─fedora-root /                           ext4
  ├─fedora-swap [SWAP]                      swap
  └─fedora-home /home                       ext4

The EXT4 file system is used with LVM, ie default partitionning scheme from Fedora.

Tuning

Hanging reboots

It seems that by default, Fedora (or systemd) is not sending the right kind of signal this machine is waiting for reboot. To fix that, you need to add the type of signal at the boot options. Here are the steps, first add reboot=efi at the very end of the line GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX= :

sudoedit /etc/default/grub

You should have this content :

GRUB_TIMEOUT=5
GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR="$(sed 's, release .\*$,,g' /etc/system-release)"
GRUB_DEFAULT=saved
GRUB_DISABLE_SUBMENU=true
GRUB_TERMINAL_OUTPUT="console"
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="resume=/dev/mapper/fedora-swap rd.lvm.lv=fedora/root rd.lvm.lv=fedora/swap rhgb quiet reboot=efi"
GRUB_DISABLE_RECOVERY="true"

Then you need to regenerate grub2 actual configuration file¹ :

sudo grub2-mkconfig -o /etc/grub2-efi.cfg

Then to validate that's has been taken, you reboot and check cmdline :

cat /proc/cmdline

You must see the reboot=efi there.

[¹] If for any reason you are not using EFI and secure boot, the right output file is /etc/grub2.cfg.

Sound mute button LED

The shortcut button to mute sound is working fine but the LED on it doesn't switch on to indicate its state.

To activate the LED, create a file to /etc/modprobe.d/sound.conf with the following content :

options snd-hda-intel model=mute-led-gpio

Reboot the computer (or unload/reload module snd-hda-intel).

Power Management

Powertop utiliy is a great tool to fix some power consumption issues.

sudo dnf install powertop
sudo powertop

In tunables section a few setups by default are bad. Select them and press space bar to activate them. Press ESC to exit. Then enable powertop service at boot to make these changes permanent :

sudo systemctl enable powertop

Voilà !

CPU frequencies and TurboBoost

To have more control over performance, the Gnome Shell Extension CpuFreq is perfect. With this extension you can check the actual frequencies and choose which governor you want (powersave, performance etc).

I prefere to disable TurboBoost, because I don't really see any difference on performance. But with TurboBoost off, fans are off too !

BIOS update

I rebooted the laptop and went into the BIOS. From there it was possible to download and install a newer version of the BIOS.

Actual version of the BIOS :

Version: Q78 Ver. 01.06.00
Release Date: 01/03/2019 

An even newer version of the BIOS is available from the HP web page :

HP Firmware Pack (Q78) 01.06.00 Rev.A	16.6 MB	Feb 1, 2019

https://support.hp.com/us-en/drivers/selfservice/hp-elitebook-850-g5-notebook-pc/18491276

How to install it :

https://github.com/eriksjolund/install-linux-hp-elitebook-850-g5/issues/2

Output from some commands

sudo lshw -sanitize

linux@laptop:~$ sudo lshw -sanitize > output/lshw.txt
[sudo] password for linux:
linux@laptop:~$

See the output in output/lshw.txt

lsmod

linux@laptop:~$ lsmod > output/lsmod.txt
linux@laptop:~$

See the output in output/lsmod.txt

cat /proc/cpuinfo

linux@laptop:~$ cat /proc/cpuinfo > output/cpuinfo.txt
linux@laptop:~$

See the output in output/cpuinfo.txt

cat /proc/meminfo

linux@laptop:~$ cat /proc/meminfo > output/meminfo.txt
linux@laptop:~$

See the output in output/meminfo.txt

dmesg

linux@laptop:~$ dmesg > output/dmesg.txt
linux@laptop:~$

See the output in output/dmesg.txt

Thermal sensors

linux@laptop:~$ sensors > output/sensors.txt
linux@laptop:~$

See the output in output/sensors.txt

Other references

Original version of this document was forked from eriksjolund (thanks). I've found this link on reddit.

Gentoo wiki also have some information here.

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