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Ubuntu on Acer Aspire Switch 10

Ubuntu on Acer Aspire Switch

The problem

What's the problem with this tablet? Why can't I just insert the USB and mash F12 until it boots? The tablet is made to run Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 only. Some absolute genius at Acer decided to put a 32-bit UEFI on a 64-bit system, which no reasonable Linux distro supports out-of-the-box.

NOTE: This guide focuses on installing Ubuntu alongside Windows. If you're trying to replace Windows, then I assume you know enough about Linux to know which parts to change.

What works:

  • Keyboard
  • Trackpad
  • Touchscreen
  • Sound (usually)
  • Backlight control (with a patch)

What doesn't work:

  • HDMI output
  • Micro SD reader (read only)


Before you start, there's a few things you need:

  • USB flash drive (at least 4GB)
  • USB OTG adapter (not always necessary, but recommended)
  • 32-bit GRUB UEFI binary (explained below)
  • 64-bit Ubuntu ISO
  • BIOS v1.20 installed (required for backlight fix - you can only update BIOS from Windows, so do it now!)
  • Rufus (or an equivalent image writer)
  • USB WiFi or Ethernet card (in case your Wi-Fi doesn't work)

Preparing the USB stick

Installing the ISO (Rufus)

  1. Open Rufus
  2. Select the correct USB Stick
  3. Select "GTP for UEFI computers" as the partition table (if available)
  4. "Select the Ubuntu 64-bit iso
  5. Click "Create"

Building the 32-bit UEFI GRUB bootloader

If you trust me (and the owner of that repo), you can just download the file here, but remember, downloading binaries from random strangers on the internet is not a good idea.

Building it yourself

To build GRUB, run the following commands in a Linux shell:

# Install build dependencies and tools
sudo apt-get install git bison libopts25 libselinux1-dev autogen m4 autoconf help2man libopts25-dev flex libfont-freetype-perl automake autotools-dev libfreetype6-dev texinfo
# Clone the GRUB repo
git clone git://
cd grub
# Configure GRUB
export EFI_ARCH=i386
./configure --with-platform=efi --target=${EFI_ARCH} --program-prefix=""
cd grub-core
# Build the GRUB image
../grub-mkimage -d . -o bootia32.efi -O i386-efi -p /boot/grub ntfs hfs appleldr boot cat efi_gop efi_uga elf fat hfsplus iso9660 linux keylayouts memdisk minicmd part_apple ext2 extcmd xfs xnu part_bsd part_gpt search search_fs_file chain btrfs loadbios loadenv lvm minix minix2 reiserfs memrw mmap msdospart scsi loopback normal configfile gzio all_video efi_gop efi_uga gfxterm gettext echo boot chain eval

This will create a file called "bootia32.efi".

Copy "bootia32.efi" to "/EFI/Boot/" on your flash drive.

Booting from the USB

  1. Open the "BIOS" (F2 when you see the Acer logo)
  2. Under "Security" set a supervisor password
  3. Under "Boot" set "Secure boot" to disabled
  4. Set the USB stick to boot first
  5. Press F10 to save changes and reboot

If your USB doesn't show up, try to plug it in to the body directly using an OTG adapter, not via the keyboard dock).

Installing Ubuntu

  1. The laptop should automatically boot into GRUB
  2. In the GRUB menu choose "Try Ubuntu without installing"
  3. Open the terminal and run ubiquity --no-bootloader to start the installer (--no-bootloader isn't usually necessary, but if your installation fails with some bootloader-related error, try this)
  4. When prompted, select "Something else" to manually partition the drive
  5. Add a root (ext4, "/") and swap (swap, "swap") partition
  6. Finish the installation and hope for the best

Booting Ubuntu

In order to boot the Ubuntu we just installed, we need to use the USB GRUB again. Just let the laptop automatically boot from the USB. When in GRUB, press C to open a command line. Run the following commands:

set root=(hd1,gpt5)
linux /vmlinux root=/dev/mmcblk0p5
initrd /initrd.img

If it doesn't work, try with /dev/mmcblk1p5 and/or booting without an SD card inserted.

Permanently installing GRUB

Obviously we can't use the USB GRUB to boot forever. Let's install GRUB: Open the terminal and run the following commands:

# Get the 32-bit UEFI GRUB package
sudo apt-get install grub-efi-ia32 grub-efi-ia32-bin 
# Mount your EFI partition 
mkdir /boot/efi # if the dir already exists, skip the mount command
sudo mount /dev/mmcblk0p1 /boot/efi
# Install GRUB
grub-install --target=i386-efi --efi-directory=/boot/efi/

If the 32-bit grub package doesn't exist, you can compile it yourself like this:

# Get build dependencies
sudo apt-get install autoconf
# Get the GRUB source
git clone git://
# Compile 32-bit UEFI GRUB
cd grub/
./configure --with-platform=efi --target=i386
# Install GRUB
sudo grub-install --target=i386-efi --efi-directory=/boot/efi/

Adding GRUB to the bootloader

Reboot the laptop and press F12 to go into the boot menu. If you see an option called "ubuntu" and it works, you can skip this part.

  1. Go into BIOS
  2. Under "Boot" set "Secure boot" to enabled
  3. Press F10 to save changes and reboot
  4. Go into BIOS again
  5. Under "Security", click "Add trusted executable"
  6. Navigate to *\HD0\EFI\ubuntu* and select grubia32.efi
  7. Enter the name for the bootloader entry and press OK
  8. Press F10 to save changes and reboot
  9. Go into BIOS for the last time
  10. Under "Boot" set "Secure boot" to disabled
  11. Press F10 to save changes and reboot

You should not see the entry in the boot menu (F12)

Making things actually work

Screen backlight

See this comment. Note that this will only work if you're on BIOS v1.20.


A lot of this has since been upstreamed, so if it works for you, you can safely skip this section.


I don't have it so if someone got it working, please comment below so I can add it


The drivers for this card have been merged into the kernel, so it should work automatically.

If it doesn't work for you:
# Clone the driver repo - if you don't have a wifi card, do this step onto a USB stick from another device
git clone
# Build and install the driver
cd rtl8723bs
sudo make install
sudo modprobe r8723bs

If it doesn't work immediately, reboot.


Not required on modern kernels

To make the keyboard work you need to modify the kernel source and recompile it. Before compiling the kernel, open the file include/linux/hid.h and change the value of MAX_HID_USAGES (default is 12288) to 65536 (On aproximately line 346). Then compile and install the kernel.

To see how to do this, read my other guide.


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funder7 commented Jul 22, 2020

I tried it with no luck, but then I kept trying things and at some point, it started up. I haven't been able to do it again, but at least I know it's still possible. I was already preparing to do a ROM reflash directly to the SPI chip, but it looks like that won't be necessary. I'll post an update when I figure out a proper fix.

really?! by soldering wires on the chip? :-D
Anyway I had a similar problem, and with some button long press + combination it started again. Btw this pc is a bit buggy in my opinion, mine freezes after some time, I bought it 2nd hand and never used it unfortunately. I thought it was due to the installed OS it came with, but it didn't fix the problem.
I'm torn about reflowing the motherboard or not, in fact I've got another equivalent pc, I will try something else in spare time :/

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really?! by soldering wires on the chip? :-D

No way, my hands are waay too unsteady 😅 (though I've seen people do that).
I was going to use a standard SOIC8 clip to just clip onto it and program it directly on the board. You can get them for some change from China and they come in really handy if you brick things as often as I do.

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funder7 commented Jul 22, 2020

I installed some ps2 modchips ages ago...SOIC8 it's doable with a lens! That clips must be handy by the way :-)
Luckily I never fried a bios, I've got an unstable asus mobo (z270 chipset..for kabylake and company), sometimes it doesn't boot, the screen remains black. A couple of times it revived just by disassembling all the components and assembling them back ... the last time it didn't work. It's a gaming motherboard, I have to give those clips a try :-) thanks for the hint

Regarding the problem that happened with update-grub (with nvram), it's possible that in your bios settings, the secure boot (enabled) or TPM setting is protecting the nvram?

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Fedora 33 kernel 5.10.9 - suspend/resume - display is OK. Display rotation is OK. Unfortunately after suspend, when close lid computer wakes up. Hibernate is OK, but after restart WiFi id down.

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funder7 commented Jan 24, 2021

Fedora 33 kernel 5.10.9 - suspend/resume - display is OK. Display rotation is OK. Unfortunately after suspend, when close lid computer wakes up. Hibernate is OK, but after restart WiFi id down.

Maybe the problem comes from the network device, you can check that it's configured properly, lspci can help you to find the network device name

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dbeley commented Mar 13, 2021

Thanks a lot for those instructions!

I managed to install xubuntu on my Acer Aspire Switch 10, I didn't followed them exactly here are some notes if anybody need them:

  • I booted into a xubuntu USB key (followed the instructions)
  • I installed xubuntu normally (I did a clean install so wiped out my windows install)
  • I started my new installation with the grub of the USB key (my root was (hd0,gpt2) and my device was named /dev/mmcblk1p2)
  • From there I connected to the internet and installed the grub 32 bit (I needed to uninstall first the grub 64 bit package, then install the grub 32 bit ones, also the boot partition was already mounted)
  • Then followed exactly the same instructions to add the UEFI executable (with the BIOS/Secure Boot stuff)

It's quite similar to the instructions but they assume you're doing a dual boot, also I didn't bother and ran the installation with the booloader installation (didn't use ubiquity -b).

Everything is working properly and I have a clean partition scheme with only two partitions (1 boot 1 linux root)

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Hi guys,
for anyone still interested in this convertible - there is a way to get backlight working! It saves battery life in a big way (and your eyes too).
On Ubuntu 20.04 just download kernel from ubuntu mainline ppa v5.7 (maybee v5.6 is enough) (

Download custom dsdt img from Hans de Goede

There is an extremely important thing that everyone planning to replace Windows with Linux on this tablet should know: this hack only works with BIOS v1.20, and it's impossible to update BIOS unless Windows is installed.
See the original article by Hans de Goede for details.
Unless you want to install Windows back just to update BIOS and finally get your backlight PWM working, update BIOS before installing Ubuntu.

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Kizoky commented May 4, 2021

See the original article by Hans de Goede for details.

No wonder my WiFi didn't work... I tried different Linux distros until I finally gave up and reinstalled Windows so I could have internet connection with it
Gotta love Acer

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Thanks for the guide

I've installed Linux Mint 20.3 Mate Edition without a problem.
You might want to read this guide too.

Follow the guide until Installing Ubuntu step

Installing Mint

  1. The laptop should automatically boot into GRUB
  2. In the GRUB menu choose "Try without installing"
  3. Open the terminal and run:
apt update
apt install grub-efi-ia32 grub-efi-ia32-bin
  1. Start install
  2. I've choosen a clean, auto install (erase and install)
  3. After install follow Adding GRUB to the bootloader step.
    You might want to enter bios one last time and rearrange the boot order. It take a lot of time to pass network boot :)

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masakk1 commented Apr 15, 2023

After 3 months of trial and error, today I've successfully booted linux on it. Funnly enough, I did it with ventoy and everything was working after I added the trust thing for grubia32.efi and done. I was able to skip a lot of steps.

Maybe we should inform about this? I mean it's way faster than having to mess with the grub command line, and I bet it would simplify the process of not doing a dual boot (i am dual booting rn though).
I would still be trying if it weren't for this solution, since i erased the windows install and the set root command had a different name. Among many other things, like the boot option just not appearing when mashing F12.

With that said, I've installed Fedora. The fix for the backlight issue seems to be for ubuntu, so can anyone please tell me if I can apply it to Fedora? Battery sucks and my eyes hurt.

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funder7 commented Apr 19, 2023

Hi @masakk1, ventoy is a great tool, I think that it wasn't available when this article was posted originally.
Anyway I don't own the computer anymore, but I've found this link which should give you a lot of info about the installed hardware, and what to configure:

Which version of Fedora did you install?

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masakk1 commented Apr 19, 2023

Which version of Fedora did you install?

Fedora 37, and I will check that link in a sec. Thanks!

Also, sound is not working and I can't find any information about it. Not sure if I'm missing some audio codecs but when i tried to install the gstream... whatever it was called, fedora told me that I already had those. I'm guessing the suggested kernel there is going to fix it though. I'll give you an update as soon as I can.
I mean my audio jack is broken too!

Edit: Seems like not even they know how to fix it. It's a conversation from over 4 years and they were not able to get it working.

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funder7 commented Apr 20, 2023

Uhm.. Fedora 37 is the latest, it should have a good configuration to start with. Anyway you can check the boot log, to see if you can spot any error when the OS starts.

Well, if the jack is broken that’s not the best situation :-D
There’s a easy check that to do in this case: try to adjust the volume with the respective hotkeys..if you see the volume bar moving on the screen, then the sound card is ok; if you cannot adjust the volume, it’s a good symptom of wrong soundcard config.

This computer requires a lot of patience… maybe you can sell it and buy a newer and well supported one, in case you need linux 100%

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masakk1 commented Apr 21, 2023

try to adjust the volume with the respective hotkeys

Yeah this works! The volume buttons and the audio jack are both broken (didn't work in windows either), but shortcuts work just fine.

maybe you can sell it

Well yeah, I might do that. Family is using it for studying so I guess I gotta wait a month but other than that. How much would you price it for

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funder7 commented Apr 22, 2023

Yeah this works! The volume buttons and the audio jack are both broken (didn't work in windows either), but shortcuts work just fine.

Fine, so it’s an hardware problem, Fedora detected the sound card correctly

Well yeah, I might do that. Family is using it for studying so I guess I gotta wait a month but other than that. How much would you price it for

To be honest, having those hardware problems would lower the price too much!

Now that the audio problem is ok, you can try this solution to see if backlight can be adjusted (I tried myself on another pc and it worked):

  1. try to exec in terminal: cd /sys/class/backlight/intel_backlight/
  2. if the directory doesn’t exists, then you have found the problem: something has not been initialized correctly (try to do dmesg | grep -i backlight .. do you see any error? If yes share the log snippet here, we will see what is going on)
  3. if the directory exists, then it shouldn’t be bad as it seems. Now run sudo cat /sys/class/backlight/intel_backlight/max_brightness -> this command will return a number, which corresponds to the maximum value for the backlight (100%)
  4. Let’s say you’ve got 500 in return from the previous command: remove a good 25% and use the number into this command: echo 370 | sudo tee /sys/class/backlight/intel_backlight/brightness
  5. Decide if the brightness is ok or in case lower the number until you reach a good brightness.

Be careful! Proceed by small steps, especially when the screen is not very bright: remember that you don’t have any other solution other than this command at the moment, so if the screen goes black, it’s difficoult to run the command again :-)

Anyway, I suspect that you will stop at point #1, otherwise the backlight would be already working

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Hi, I have this device and I have tried all versions of Linux but there is only one that make it works flawlessly that too from initial install that is Kubuntu any version above 20.04 works. Only thing we have to do is select the right ufi in the BIOS. My sound works, Wifi works, Camera works. Brightness controls works. Touchscreen works!!!

Please give Kubuntu a try. I have no idea why other version of Ubuntu do not have drivers for this laptab when Kubuntu does. Well if it works then it works, right ?

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funder7 commented May 5, 2023

Oh yes.. that's the important part :-)
Well nowadays Linux in general supports many devices out of the box, it's strange that you need Kubuntu, it should be a regular ubuntu release with KDE already set up as desktop environment!

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Crare commented May 25, 2023

Had to go through one more extra loop: bitlocker in main partition of system.(C:) It disables resizing the partition size, leaving no empty space for the ubuntu.

steps I did:
In Windows, open command-prompt with admin-rights and type manage-bde -status to see status of bitlocker
use manage-bde -off <drive letter>: in my case manage-bde -off C: to decrypt the partition.
after that do the status command until it shows that the partition is completely decrypted, saying "percentage encrypted 0%" and then continuing with the install.

on grub commands I used, instead of the mentioned booting-ubuntu-section:

linux /boot/vmlinuz root=/dev/mmcblk0p5
initrd /boot/initrd.img

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