How to install Ubuntu on your Asus ZenBook Pro

I recently got a new laptop, the Asus ZenBook Pro UX480FD. I immediately tried to install Ubuntu on it, but I ran into some problems which cost me half a day to fix. So I decided to write this article to help anyone out that also wants to install Ubuntu on an Asus ZenBook Pro.

Enabling dual-boot support

These steps are based on

  1. Decide whether you want dual-boot or just Ubuntu. If you just want Ubuntu, skip to “Installing Ubuntu
  2. Boot into Windows, we have to make the Windows installation support the AHCI disk driver
  3. Press the Windows button to open the start menu
  4. Start typing “cmd”, right-click on the item and execute as Administrator
  5. Type this command and press ENTER: bcdedit /set {current} safeboot minimal
  6. If this command does not work for you, try bcdedit /set safeboot minimal
  7. Restart the computer and enter BIOS Setup (hold F2 on boot to get into BIOS, you can also enter BIOS from Windows by using advanced startup options)
  8. On the Advanced tab, Change the SATA Configuration > SATA Mode Selection to AHCI from Intel RST
  9. Go to “Save & Exit” tab and Save changes and exit Setup and Windows will automatically boot to Safe Mode
  10. Open command prompt again: Start typing “cmd”, right-click on the item and execute as Administrator
  11. Type this command and press ENTER: bcdedit /deletevalue {current} safeboot
  12. If you had to try the alternate command above, you will likely need to do so here also: bcdedit /deletevalue safeboot
  13. Reboot once more and Windows will automatically start with AHCI drivers enabled.
  14. You can now shrink the Windows partition to make some space for Ubuntu, follow this article to do so:

Installing Ubuntu

  1. Download Ubuntu (I used 18.04, I could not get 19.04 to work)
  2. Create a bootable USB from the downloaded ISO (follow this tutorial if you don’t know how)
  3. Attach the USB stick to your laptop
  4. Reboot the laptop
  5. Enter the BIOS by holding F2 during boot, if that doesn’t work you can also enter BIOS from Windows by using advanced startup options
  6. If you didn’t follow the “Enabling dual-boot support” steps, on the Advanced tab, Change the SATA Configuration > SATA Mode Selection to AHCI from Intel RST
  7. On the “Save & Exit” tab, override the boot option, select the USB that you created
  8. The Ubuntu install will show a list of options, select “Install Ubuntu”, don’t press Enter, but press the “e” button to edit the startup options. The default Ubuntu doesn’t like the NVIDIA graphics cards, so it will hang when you don’t do this. Note that the install be in low resolution (800×600)
  9. From the linux line, remove “quiet” and “splash”, and add “nomodeset”
  10. Do the installation like you normally would
  11. Remove the USB stick
  12. Boot the laptop
  13. Select “Ubuntu” in the startup options, press “e” and from the linux line, remove “quiet” and “splash”, and add “nomodeset” again
  14. Go into Ubuntu, open the terminal and execute “sudo apt update”, then execute “sudo apt install nvidia-driver-390”
  15. Reboot
  16. You should now have a fully working ZenBook Pro on Ubuntu 18.04!

“Failed to start MokManager” / “import_mok_state() failed”

If you tried installing before this tutorial, it might be that your installation ended up in an unbootable state. You can read the following article to fix that: How to fix “Failed to start MokManager” / “import_mok_state() failed” after failed Ubuntu Installation

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20 Responses to How to install Ubuntu on your Asus ZenBook Pro

  1. Nicola Modugno says:

    When installation is done successfully, I have to switch SATA Configuration from AHCI to Intel RST ?

    There is a way to use Screenpad as second monitor in ubuntu in the same way as windows?

    • jerbob92 says:

      Hi Nicola,

      I did not change the configuration back to Intel RST. I think it’s not well supported by Linux.
      You can not use the Screenpad as far as I know. I did some tests with it and it’s not simply extending the display, Linux does not recognize it as display.
      Someone needs to write a driver for the chipset/bridge that connects the Screenpad, I wanted to do it as a side-project, but it was too complicated for me to get into (writing a Linux kernel driver).

      • nesar77 says:

        Hi jerbob92 and Nicola,
        I’ve installed Ubuntu 19.10 on my ASUS Zenbook UX334FL and it works fine. The screenpad is used as an external monitor.
        I’ve got some problems regarding audio drivers: sometimes the audio is cracking sometimes not.

        • jerbob92 says:

          Hi, thanks for your reply! The UX334FL is a different model, it has Screenpad 2.0. In the 2.0 version it’s actually just a second monitor connected to the graphics card, in 1.0 this is not the case, they use some special bridge chip to talk to the Screenpad. I did some digging into it but it was too hard to get it to work (it probably needed a kernel driver).

  2. Wes says:

    Hi! Thank you for this post.
    I tried what you propose but I unfortunately cannot make it work. I somehow managed to install Ubuntu after disabling all kind of bios options (secure boot, fast boot). Now, neither the USB nor the installed Ubuntu can boot… I tried what you proposed but unfortunately it didn’t help. Do you have any idea of what I should/could do? I created a disk image beforehand so I can always try that :/

  3. Doeke says:

    I tried Ubuntu Budgie cause someone ( said the wifi adapter got recognised using that. However, for me it did not so I would probably do the normal ubuntu next time.

  4. doeke says:

    I switched to the normal ubuntu version now, getting the wifi to work was really easy.
    Also the normal ubuntu version recognised the screen resolution where with budgie I was stuck with something like 800×640 in the installation.

  5. Whit says:

    There’s no obvious way to get a command prompt to get back out of safe mode.

  6. Johan says:

    Thank you for your post.
    I’ve followed it on my Zenbook Duo ux481, except I used OpenSuSE Tumbleweed instead of Ubuntu.
    Everything works except for the bottom screen not being touch enabled.

  7. HJ3332 says:

    Hi everyone,

    Just bought the new Zenbook UX434FL. Want to jump in and dual boot Ubuntu.
    Search on the web and seems nobody did it before on this new version of Zenbook.

    Just want to see whether the following are essential:
    1. Do I have to enable the AHCI driver like in this post?
    2. Do I have to turn off Bitlocker encyption before I shrink the SSD for free space and installation of Ubuntu?

    Hope someone could share some thoughts and hints.

  8. Joshua Raphael says:

    Hi there, great article. I reached dual booting with mint 19.3 successfully but I was changing from RST to AHCI manually everytime I wanted a switch! I wonder what the disadvantage of not using RST for windows OS is? I only use windows to print so not much of an issue. Also hoping the mint/ubuntu guys will come out with drivers for the second screen!

    • jerbob92 says:

      If you followed the steps then you should be able to keep your setting in AHCI and boot into both Linux and Windows without changing anything. Which mode do you need to get into Windows? And in what mode did you install Mint? I’m not quite sure what the disadvantage of not using RST is, I guess it comes with a performance penalty.

  9. peter schlaeger says:

    I plan to by ASUS Computer Computer ZenBook 14 UX433FLC
    Can you confirm that with your instruction I am able to install ubuntu?

    I have allready bought Inspiron 14 7490 and did not found a way to install ubuntu
    because there was no way in the bios to change raid to AHCI

    • jerbob92 says:

      Hi, I’m sorry but I can’t confirm it for sure.
      However, the laptop is very similar to UX480FD so it probably works.

  10. Alex Alfaro says:

    I have successfully installed eOS 5.1 Hera on my Asus ZenBook. Thank you! Some comments:
    1) When we go to Windows safe mode, it ask for the password that we established the first time, BEFORE the 4-digit PIN. When putting the pin the system did not accept it, and fortunately I have a logbook where I write down everything I do with my machine, so I found my original password.
    2) The Nvidia 440 Driver worked very well, I took into account your suggestion to install 390 but seeing the installation, I observed that before finishing it the system installed 440 and luckily when starting eOS, it worked wonders.
    3) With Bluetooth it was not necessary to do anything. On a DELL machine where I followed your instructions, the BT icon is somewhat larger, and when you connect something, it disappears for that session. I have left it that way because it connects well what is important. In ZenBook I did not modify the BT and it works perfectly.
    4) I had to abolish Secure Boot in BIOS for GRUB2 to install. In DELL I enabled Legacy instead of UEFI.
    5) After all this, I keep Windows 10 on the machine, but I practically do not use it. I installed LibreOffice 6.4.4, ProtonVPN and all my favorite software. Just in case, paying ESET Nod32, making the download file executable using sudo chmod 755. I am very grateful to your post, because I had already given up hope of being able to install Linux on my Asus ZenBook, the best computer I own. Greetings, Alex.

  11. Topher says:

    I have a zenbook UM433D and running ubunto 20.04.1 LTS and I had no issues no I have issue of failing to load desktop and it not exiting suspend. I’m a teacher and it’s getting really annoying having to power cycle for 15 minutes before each class. Would older version be more stable? or something of different setup? Like mint or another linux version.

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