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What is Secure boot and how to disable it?

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  • 3 min read

Most modern PCs that ship with UEFI BIOS have a feature called ‘Secure Boot’ built into them. Now while this feature can add a layer of security to your boot process, it can also create hassles should you decide to run a Linux distro alongside your Windows installation.

What is this process? How does it secure your system? How do you disable it? Read on to find out.

Also read: How to set a custom boot image in Windows?

What is Secure Boot?

Traditional BIOS can boot any software. This leaves it extremely vulnerable to malware at the boot stage. Secure Boot was designed to primarily protect your PC from any malware that might try to boot itself.

Any manufacturer who wants to put the Windows 10 or Windows 8 logo on their machine needs to have Secure boot and follow several other guidelines.

So why is this a problem for Linux distros?

Well, for the most part, if anything else apart from Windows tries to boot, the feature stops the boot cycle right there and throws an error. Since booting Linux is way different than booting Windows, this feature doesn’t let you run Linux on your PC.

Microsoft does provide a way for Linux to boot alongside Secure boot. When you’re downloading a boot image, look for the “shim”-signed package. The ‘shim’ means that the bootloader is not a malware and hence, secure boot allows the bootloader to run.

However, not all Linux distros might have a shim-signed package. In such cases, you’re going to have to disable Secure Boot to be able to boot them.

Also read: What is Fast Startup and how to disable it?

How to enable/disable Secure Boot?

Should you decide you need to turn off the secure boot on your PC, here’s how.

Step 1: Shut down your PC. Ensure that it’s a full shutdown as well.

Step 2: Boot your PC and head over to the BIOS. To do so, press the BIOS key on your keyboard immediately after you press the power button.

What is Secure Boot in Windows? How to disable or enable it?
Generally, the BIOS button is somewhere between F9-F12

The BIOS key varies from computer to computer and manufacturer to manufacturer. On my HP AB522Tx, it is F10 and should be same on other HP machines as well. Yours might be different.

Step 3: Navigate to Boot options, select Secure Boot and disable/enable it.

Also read: How to delete your Wattpad account?

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here:

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