How to reinstall Linux on your Tuxedo Computers machine using WebFAI USB drive

If you'd like to get your Tuxedo Computer back to that new computer smell, the process is far easier than you might think. Jack Wallen shows you how with the help of WebFAI.

How to reinstall Linux on your Tuxedo Computers machine using WebFAI USB drive

Tuxedo Computers produces some of the most fantastic Linux laptops on the market. Although they are clearly re-branded Cleo machines, Tuxedo Computers works some serious magic on the hardware to not only make them unique, but to also eke out as much performance as possible.

One thing in particular that Tuxedo computers does with their laptops is ship them with a WebFAI USB drive. WebFAI is a web-based fully automated installation process that makes installing an operating system incredibly easy. With the Tuxedo WebFAI device you are able to automatically install any one of the following:

  • Tuxedo OS

  • Ubuntu

  • Ubuntu Budgie

  • openSUSE

  • Manjaro

  • Kubuntu Focus

Yes, it's a short list of distributions considering how many there are available, but it gives you options and (even more importantly) makes it possible for you to easily start from a fresh installation on your hardware. Why would you want to do this? You might want to try a different distribution. Or maybe you did something to the operating system that you cannot undo and would like to start from scratch. 

No matter the reason, I want to walk you through just how easy this process is. Quite possibly, in the end, it could help you decide that a Tuxedo Computers machine might be in your future.

SEE: Hiring Kit: Computer Hardware Engineer (TechRepublic Premium)

What you'll need

The WebFAI installation only works on Tuxedo Computers hardware, so you'll need one of their laptops to make this work. You'll also need the WebFAI device. If your machine didn't ship with one, you can always create your own device (more on this in a bit). Finally, you'll need the means to plug your machine directly into an ethernet connection--WebFAI cannot work over Wi-Fi.

With those things at the ready, let's re-install Linux (Figure A).

Figure A

webfai.jpg

Ready to reinstall Linux on my Tuxedo Computer InfinityBook S 14.

Image: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic

How to create your own WebFAI drive

If your machine didn't ship with a WebFAI device, you'll have to create one. To do this, gather up a USB flash drive and plug it into your machine. Next, download the correct WebFAI file (for laptops and for desktops) and save it into your ~/Downloads directory. Extract that file and then copy the contents of the folder WebFAI-Notebook (or WebFAI-PC, depending on which one you downloaded) directly to the attached USB drive.

How to use the WebFAI drive to install Linux

Now that you have your WebFAI drive created, reboot your Tuxedo Computers machine and hit either ESC, F7, F10, or F11 (depending on the model of your machine) to access the boot menu.

From the boot menu, select EFI USB Device (TUXEDO), (Figure B).

Figure B

webfaia.jpg

Selecting the correct boot menu entry on an InfinityBook S 14.

Next, you should see the booting process, which will pause when the WebFAI needs to download some files. Eventually you'll find yourself on the distribution selection page (Figure C).

Figure C

webfaib.jpg

Selecting your distribution from the list.

Use your cursor keys to navigate the selection menu. Highlight the distribution you want to install, hit Enter on your keyboard, and the installation process will begin. Eventually, the screen will go black, so don't panic when you see that gaping maw of nothingness (you can always hit the Alt key to bring the screen back to life). When the automated process completes, you will be prompted to reboot the machine. 

After the reboot finishes, you're done. At this point you can select your language, region, keyboard layout, username, and password. After that, reboot once more and everything is ready for you.

And that's all there is to reinstalling Linux on your Tuxedo Computer hardware, using the WebFAI device. If only other manufacturers would make it so easy to reinstall the default operating system (or even select a different one), desktop and laptop Linux adoption might well skyrocket.

Also see

Young woman having online training, using laptop and wireless headset

Image: iStockphoto/Prostock-Studio