Trying to run zorin 17.1 core from usb, no icons, just an empty desktop, stuck

Win11 machine with GeForce RTX. Wanted to initially install Zorin 17.1 Core as either a dual-boot or run from USB. Got to a black screen with the Zorin logo pulsing, along side another logo (can't remember if it was a Windows logo or an Omen logo). I clicked on the Zorin logo and it went to the "mountain" desktop without any icons, text boxes... nothing. Ran my mouse all around the edges and nothing popped up. Stuck. Can't get out, can't get to Windows. Restarted many times, trying F keys, 2, 7, 12. Of course, CTRL+ALT+DEL doesn't work. BTW, the cursor of my wireless mouse does show up and can be moved around. It is really tiny though, and there is nothing to be clicked on. Any ideas?

Hm, this is an odd one, can I ask what you used to flash the Zorin OS ISO image onto your USB Drive? Was it Rufus, Balena Etcher or did you put the ISO on a Ventoy USB? Just thinking also the ISO could potentially be corrupt in some way, so maybe try redownloading the ISO and reflashing it onto your USB if possible with Balena Etcher since that's your best bet of getting it working. Very odd though, however you are technically running a Live Environment off a USB so it could just be taking it's time since USB's are slow, so I'd also give it some time to just load everything if you can :slight_smile:

How to dual boot Windows 11 and Linux

Dual booting Windows 11 and Linux allows you to run both operating systems on the same computer, giving you the flexibility to use the best of both worlds. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you achieve this:


  1. Backup your data: Before making any changes, make sure to backup your important files and data to an external drive or cloud storage.
  2. Disable Fast Startup: In Windows 11, go to Settings > Power & sleep > Choose what the power buttons do > Change settings that are currently unavailable, and toggle off “Turn on fast startup (recommended)”.
  3. Disable Secure Boot: In your BIOS settings, disable Secure Boot to allow Linux to boot. The exact steps may vary depending on your motherboard.

Step 1: Create a Linux installation media

  1. Download a Linux distribution: Choose a Linux distribution you want to install (e.g., Ubuntu, Linux Mint, etc.).
  2. Create a bootable USB drive: Use a tool like Rufus (for Windows) or Etcher (for macOS/Linux) to create a bootable USB drive from the Linux ISO file.

Step 2: Boot into Linux

  1. Insert the Linux USB drive: Insert the bootable USB drive into your computer.
  2. Restart your computer: Restart your computer and enter the BIOS settings (usually by pressing F2, F12, or Del).
  3. Set the USB drive as the first boot device: Set the USB drive as the first boot device in the BIOS settings.
  4. Save changes and exit: Save the changes and exit the BIOS settings.
  5. Boot into Linux: Your computer should now boot into the Linux installation menu.

Step 3: Install Linux

  1. Follow the installation process: Follow the installation process for your chosen Linux distribution.
  2. Choose the installation type: Choose the installation type (e.g., “Erase disk and install Linux” or “Install alongside Windows”).
  3. Partition your hard drive: Partition your hard drive to allocate space for both Windows and Linux.
  4. Install Linux: Complete the installation process.

Step 4: Configure GRUB

  1. GRUB menu: After installation, you’ll see a GRUB menu when you restart your computer.
  2. Set the default boot option: Set the default boot option to Linux or Windows, depending on your preference.

Step 5: Boot into Windows

  1. Restart your computer: Restart your computer and enter the GRUB menu.
  2. Choose Windows: Choose the Windows option to boot into Windows 11.

Tips and Considerations:

  • Dual-booting can be complex: Be prepared to troubleshoot any issues that may arise.
  • Data sharing: You can share data between Windows and Linux using a shared partition or cloud storage.
  • Compatibility: Some software may not be compatible with both operating systems.

By following these steps, you should be able to successfully dual boot Windows 11 and Linux. Remember to backup your data regularly and be prepared to troubleshoot any issues that may arise.

AI-generated answer. Please verify critical facts. Learn more

What the A.I. generated solution failed to state is that before attempting a dual-boot is you should allow Windows to shrink C:\ drive using Windows Disk Management to make room for GNU/Linux. Further, machines that come with Windows pre-installed usually have 4 partititions, all marked Primary. If Windows uses mbr you would not be able to install GNU/Linux. GPT partitioning allows for multiple partitions which is what you should use when installing GNU/Linux. Just to add I have never had an issue with using Ventoy to install Zorin 17. Also if Windows 11 offers it, create a boot repair disc/usb.

Thank you for your responses to my issue.

There was no way to shut down my computer from the desktop, so I used the Power button to shut it down. However, the computer just went into Sleep mode, it would not shut down. Finally, pulled the A/C plug, let it set for a couple of minutes and then plugged it back it. It booted into Win11. Whew! What a relief.

Now I need to decide what to do next. I discovered that there was a Windows update that could have occurred at the same time that I was in this process. Don't know if that had anything to do with it. I used Balena before. Was that my mistake? Do I need to use Rufus for a Windows machine?

Looks like I need to turn off Fast Startup and disable Secure Boot. What else may I be missing?

As I have stated before, rather than let Zorin auto partition for dual boot, shrink C:\ first using Windows Disk Management because Windows looks at what is the safest amount it can shrink C:\ by without causing a detriment to Windows, then install Zorin on the free space that Windows created.

Thank you swarfendor437 but I have decided to go a different direction. I'm going to do a full install of Zorin on a mini PC (Win10) that I never use. Not going to mess with dual-booting. I am getting too old and do not trust myself anymore. I don't want to crash my Omen desktop. I'll just keep it for gaming and VR and use Zorin on the mini for Internet. Should have gone in this direction to begin with. Sorry.

Have a nice weekend.


GDay @nikk , Welcome to the community!

Yes sometimes it's best to play on the side of precaution.

Enjoy the Zorin experience.

As a side Note:
I dont believe you need to disable Fast startup or secure boot, to run "Live" from the USB, i would tend to lean towards @Zendeuo , thoughts of a corrupt file, that you can compare hash keys, to see if your download was not interrupted/etc, or other thing' s like the USB Stick/port/etc...

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