Hardware and Windows 10 related problems

Using Windows, I recommend Rufus, not Balena Etcher. I have heard your complete about Balena Etcher many times.

It sounds like your system is MSI Motherboard with Nvidia graphics- given the experience you are having. Did I miss that by a mile?

You hit the bullseye, msi and nvidia, I'll install rufus and try again tomorrow when my usb arrives, thanks for the help.

If I might ask, what is the wattage on your Power Supply?

Higher Wattage PS on MSI can also suck power away from your USB ports, causing USB's to struggle, freeze or even, damage the USB stick, as well.

If you are comfortable with the option, I would actually opt for trying a Burned DVD disk with the bootable copy of Zorin on it.

IF that gets you to where you are able to boot to the Zorin Grub Menu, we can disable Nvidia from there. Then you can install as a Dual Boot, install Nvidia Graphcis drivers and re-enable Nvidia.

You MUST disable UEFI settigns "Secure Boot" in order to install.
You MUST go into Windows Control Panel and disable "Fast Boot" or "Quick Boot." This Windows feature Locks the hard drive, preventing any changes or access. This makes it impossible to do any installation from boot with Windows Authorization, control and approval.

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600 W power supply, my pc doesn't have any disk drives either, so a burned dvd wouldnt be possible without an external disc drive that would probably be connected by usb anyway. Secure boot is disabled, can't find Fast or Quick Boot in control panel, will give it another look though.

Ok, so, as long as your Nvidia Card is not pulling more than 75 watts, you should be fine.
Yes, Fast Boot must be disabled, or you will not be able to do much of anything.

Yep, found it. HWinfo64 is showing no more than 40 W draw on my 2070 super while idle browsing with youtube and a malware scan in the background so seems fine.

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The fast boot is in the power settings, where you configure the laptop lid close action. Easiest way to get there is right click battery/ac plug in system tray, power settings. If there isn't a button at top middle for administrative access, look on left for link to configure power button behavior and laptop lid close action... choose one of those two links. Choose administrative access button (one with the shield) and allow. Scroll down and uncheck fast boot.

Definitely use rufus in windows.

Hope this helps


In advanced power settings under usb you can disable the ability to shut off USB ports in the list box and save configuration so it won't turn them off to save power and hopefully keep your usb intact.

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You hit the bullseye, msi and nvidia, I'll install rufus and try again tomorrow when my usb arrives, thanks for the help.

Got my new thumb drive, which partition scheme on Rufus is better, MBR or GPT?

If you are using UEFI with four or more partitions already, you must use GPT. Otherwise, you can use MBR.

Flashed with GPT, went to boot, got to menu alright, scrolled to "check media for defects", selected, got the same black screen with colourful bars as my original post

Ok, so you are able to get to the Grub Menu, let's use "nomodeset" to disable the Nvidia Card (Ensure that you Do Have Onboard Graphics in addition to the Nvidia Card, first).
Boot and head for the Grub Menu again; this time hit the "e" key to edit the grub.
Here is a guide that has similar screenshots.
Scroll down to Number 4:
Then duplicate what you see in number 5 with "quiet splash nomodeset"
Hit ctrl+x to exit the Grub Editor and to resume booting. Select Try Zorin to test the OS on your system.

I do not believe my cpu has integrated graphics, its a Ryzen 5 3600X, but I recall from when I built it that my monitors only worked when plugged into the GPU DPs

You don't have it: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X Review | PCMag
But for the future, note that some mobos will disable their integrated graphics if you have a GPU sitting in the PCI slot.

You might try disabling Legacy Rom in your UEFI settings...

Other than that, let me research this a bit. The normal procedure for what you are experiencing is to use "nomodeset" to bypass the Nvidia Graphics problem (That is causing your issue) to boot normally, then install the proper Nvidia Drivers.
Without integrated graphics to fall back on, this will not work.

The most important thing for me is to get a linux distro with a decent GUI onto my PC asap, maybe I shouldn't be asking this question on the Zorin OS forum, but is there a diferent distro that wouldn't cause this problem with Nvidia drivers?

Possibly... You might try Pop_OS!, MXLinux or a few others...

But the issues with Nvidia extend across all of Linux. Some Distros focus more heavily on getting Nvidia to work, with Various drivers and fallbacks included. I think that Pop_OS! is one of those.
Nvidia has been Hostile toward Open Source for a very long time.
And the only way that will change is if users pressure Nvidia.
In part, thanks to Steam Gaming, this pressure has been happening.
It is not enough though, as the Latest Nvidia Cards require Signed Firmware.

Intels graphics drivers and AMD's graphics drivers are Open Source.
This is largely why it is much easier to install a Linux Operating System on a system that has any graphics other than Nvidia, then configure Nvidia afterward, if you have a Nvidia card. And it really is best to have Onboard Graphics as a failsafe anyway.

You are 100% within your rights to ask about other distros on this forum. Free Open Source does not demand Brand Loyalty as our loyalties lie in Open Source.
But Nvidia and some other manufacturers (MSI is another one) hostility toward Open Source and Secure Free Software is a larger problem that can only be addressed by yourself and many others like you.

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Pop_OS! has a download with Nvidia drivers preinstalled, I'll give that a go and report back, thank you for all your help, I really appreciate it.

Update: That worked! The next step is setting up partitions for Pop_OS!, something I could use a little help on. I have 29.30 GB unallocated as the 3rd from last partition on my 1 TB ssd and I’ve been trying to follow the Ubuntu partition guide but I’ve got a little stuck on the temporary boot partition bit. PartitioningSchemes - Community Help Wiki Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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While it is fine to ask about other distros, please note that now you’re asking for support on another distro. You should direct your future questions to a Pop OS forum.
This is as much as I can offer for partitioning: How to partition

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Agreed with Carmar. This is not due to a lack of willingness to help. This is due to the different setups that different distros can have. Zorin uses the Ubiquity installer with gparted partition manager. But other distros use entirely different installers and managers and guides we give, thinking along Ubuntu or Zorin lines, could mess you up.

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