GA-Z77-D3H and Ubuntu 12.04 problems and solutions

Published June 21, 2012

I was trying to install Kubuntu 12.04 x64 on my shiny new build and was coming across a few problems, so for others and posterity, I'll write them down here. Note that they're not really specific to Ubuntu; I also tried with Fedora 17 (Beefy Miracle, LOL) and even the G-Parted live CD and had similar failures. This may also apply to other z77 motherboards.


  1. Booting the live CD gets me to a black screen
  2. HDD boot order isn't remembered on cold boots

Problem 1: The Kubuntu live CD got me to a strange black and white GRUB menu I've never seen before on a Kubuntu live CD, and trying to boot the kernel just got me to a black screen. Strangely, the num-lock/caps-lock keys still responded but it never progressed past the black screen. Gparted was exactly the same.

Solution: This seems to be something to do with UEFI. I'd love to explain what this is but the truth is I haven't a clue. Basically, it seems to me that the motheroard's boot options tend to be doubled so you have a normal option and a 'UEFI' option. The boot menu can be accessed by F12 on the BIOS startup, or DEL to get into the options. Try using the non-UEFI reference to your CD/DVD drive or your USB stick (my USB stick showed as 'CBM' or something). The Kubuntu boot option screen should be blue, not a black and white GRUB menu. I guess Ubuntu's will be orange.

Problem 2: The BIOS's HDD boot order (called 'Hard Drive BBS Priorities' under 'BIOS Features') does not save past cold boots (at least on the F14 BIOS). I don't know how it determines the boot disk but on mine, it always chose the wrong one. I have two disks (one for Windows, one for Linux) and have them both totally separate, so GRUB is on my Linux disk and the Windows disk's MBR is intact. The motherboard always wanted to boot from the Windows disk though. You can set the right priority and boot, but then you reboot and it's back to the Windows disk.

Solution: I found that setting SATA mode to AHCI (from a default of 'IDE') seems to allow it to save. AHCI should offer some performance/feature improvements anyway (not that you'll notice/use them), but be careful if you've got older hardware or need to use older low-level disk programs, as these might have compatbility issues (although with a z77 board I'm guessing your hardware is new...). Note that Windows 7 will BSOD when you do this because it doesn't install the AHCI driver if you haven't got AHCI enabled at install time - frst install Microsoft's fix and *then* enable AHCI.

If you can't/don't want to use AHCI, you *could* install GRUB to the MBR of your booting disk, but I prefer not doing this.

Anyway, Kubuntu 12.04 seems pretty awesome! Everything is so smooth - the Nouveau driver must have come on leaps and bounds. Not sure I want to install the Nvidia driver...

Spoke too soon: Something else to watch out for is if you use VirtualBox, it will reboot your host system if Intel Virtualization is not enabled in your BIOS (well, you could also disable it on the VM options, but best to take advantage of the hardware unless you've got a good reason not to).

Filed under: ubuntu, linux, hardware

Talk is cheap

Thanks for this - I had the same problem with this motherboard, and tried all sorts of nomodeset and related fixes from other threads. Turns out it's the UEFI boot options that were causing it, and now it's working fine :)

– 14:25:54 11th October 2012

Yep, I seem to remember that I spent a lot of time with nomodeset and similar too. The joys of forums.

– 16:33:30 11th October 2012

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