Ubuntu: How to choose which OS to start in dual boot with Touch Screen and no physical keyboard?



Question:

I (now) own an HP Slate 2(b2a28ut) which it's a fancy piece of technological art. It does look like a tablet itself and it acts like an Android Tablet because of its Capacitive Touch Screen, but it is more like an all-in-one desktop computer, mini size of course.

I also own some accessories like the Mini Docking station which allows me to plug USB Devices, HDMI Screens and Audio Devices (Speakers, Amplifiers, HeadPhones, etc.), in such Dock I am plugging a mouse and keyboard in order to run certain tasks, like the OS's install.

So let's have in consideration that this is a Desktop Computer and not an Android Tablet, Phone, etc., anyway let's call it "the slate" for simplifying this reading.

I have installed 3 OS's on this device which are:

  1. Windows 7 32 Bit (Factory Default)
  2. Ubuntu 14.04.2 32 Bit
  3. Android 4.4-RC2 (x86)

All these are working good enough to keep them and run some testing on the device's capabilities of which I feel happy Ubuntu is doing a great work on terminals and low resource consumption software. It does not work so fine for multimedia but I don't care about that for now.

I have even found a way to prescind from the physical keyboard by using onboard

Now, as the question's title reads, everything is fine when I have the slate on the Docking Station, and it runs smoothly after removing it from the Docking station, except when I need to reboot and choose a different operating system for boot without the Docking Station and it's mouse/keyboard plugged in.

I am presented with the GRUB loader with the default Operating System highlighted and a decreasing clock in seconds to choose the OS I wish to boot.

But I can't choose anything. The touch screen seems to work but I can't point anything to choose the right option to boot.

I have seen How do I select which OS to boot with no keyboard on a laptop? Can I adjust GRUB loader settings from the booted Ubuntu OS? but this refers to changing the default highlighted operating system for unattended boot, which I solved by using the grub-customizer as mentioned in the answers of such question.

My question is related to the ability to set up something like mouse compatibility, which will react to the touch screen pressing, or physical button's binding in order to just move the marker to the desired operating system and bind another button to work as the return key in order to accept the selection.

Another good scenery would be to bind the Volume+ and Volume- for moving the selection and, when hitting the Volume keys don't stop the clock which seems to stop when the user interacts with the GRUB options.

Any help is appreciated a lot.

Oh! Yes. I have to explain that I need this because of The Slate's size is very convenient for the outdoors work in minimal space conditions. I set up several things related to telecommunications which forces me to go up on high towers or work in small size conditions where a laptop is not a solution and when hanging upside down, the slate and companions (docking, keyboard, mouse) is too difficult.

The dual boot thing is needed because of Ubuntu is faster than anything when it is about setting up certain things which you can access via telnet or ssh, and in such conditions, saving time is a must! But... unfortunately the final tests should be done in a Windows environment.

Thank you for your help!


Solution:1

I know two workarounds which may not be very convenient but should do the trick. They involve telling the bootloader from inside a booted operating system to reboot into another OS.

On the one hand grub-reboot which should work from inside ubuntu and, as the name says, will only work with GRUB as the bootloader. On the other hand there's iReboot which is a free program for Windows. That only works with a windows bootloader. I'm not sure if all types of Windows-bootloaders are supported but on Win7-64bit it works just fine for me. Setting up either method will only take couple of minutes.

For more info on iReboot have a look at the official website of NeoSmart Technologies.

For instructions on using the grub-reboot method, you can follow one of these two guides: How to reboot into Windows from Ubuntu? or https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/43196/how-can-i-tell-grub-i-want-to-reboot-into-windows-before-i-reboot Following either guide should work for your setup, just make sure to set Ubuntu as your default boot entry in GRUB when configuring. Vice versa if you choose to use iReboot, make sure to set Windows as default enty in Windows bootloader.

One last note on the difference of those two methods: iReboot provides a graphical user interface per default while grub-reboot is usually done via terminal. If you want to use grub-reboot without tiping in a terminal you can easily create a custom starter for that cause.


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