Hardware

Lenovo denies deliberately blocking Linux on Windows 10 PCs

The Chinese PC maker responds to claims that some of its Windows 10 PCs are shutting out other operating systems.

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The Lenovo 900 Yoga laptop.

Image: Lenovo

Lenovo has denied that it is deliberately blocking Linux-based operating systems from being installed on Windows 10 laptops.

Multiple owners of the Lenovo Yoga 900 13ISK2 laptop say their machines are set up in a fashion that prevents Linux-based operating systems from being installed. Owners of Lenovo Ideapad 710S PCs are reporting similar problems.

Owners of the Yoga 900 reacted angrily after someone claiming to be a 'Lenovo Product Expert' and with their title attached to a Lenovo logo, replied to a review of the Yoga 900 on Best Buy's website, saying: 'This system has a Signature Edition of Windows 10 Home installed. It is locked per our agreement with Microsoft'.

However, Lenovo has now denied that it deliberately blocked the installation of other operating systems. A spokesman instead blamed the problem on a recent change to how the SSD is set up on the Windows 10 Signature Edition-branded machine.

"To improve performance, the industry is moving to RAID on the SSDs and Lenovo is leading with this change," he said.

"Lenovo does not block customers using other operating systems on its devices but relies on the alternative operating system vendors to release appropriate drivers."

When the appropriate drivers and kernel support are in place for Linux-based operating systems, he said, "users will be able to install the operating system on an SSD with RAID".

In response to Lenovo's statement, users have pointed out the firm could still provide a workaround by letting owners switch from using the drive in RAID mode to ACHI mode.

The company has known about the issue for some time, with a Lenovo rep posting on the company's forums that it was looking into the issue back in July.

Although it contradicts Lenovo's claim of the problem being a driver issue, an owner of a Yoga 900 posted a screenshot of what he says is code from the machine's bios and says that resolving the problem would be a "thirty-second fix" to remove a simple check.

The Windows 10 Signature Edition brand is awarded to PCs that are "tuned for performance", according to Microsoft, and that have no third-party junkware installed. As well as Lenovo, Signature Edition PCs are made by Asus, Dell, HP and MSI, among others.

About

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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