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Generic procedure for removal of Android and replacement with LibreElec on Chuwi Hibox (BETA)

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    Generic procedure for removal of Android and replacement with LibreElec on Chuwi Hibox (BETA)

    Generic procedure for removal of Android and replacement with LibreElec on Chuwi Hibox (BETA)

    This is generic and not specific because at the time I didn't record every single step as it was more of a personal 'can I do it' exercise at the time.
    So as ever when messing around with these boxes it is a case of DO AT YOUR OWN RISK.

    These instructions should be classed as draft and will be refined based upon user experiences and should not be attempted unless you are reasonably familiar with the processes and tools required, so ideally suited at present for those that like to tinker and are not concerned about wiping their Hibox and starting again if necessary.

    Hardware required:

    The Hibox
    At least one bootable USB flash drive (easiest with 3, one for image restore, one for LibreElec installation and another for Gparted).

    USB stick/drive (32Gb or greater to ensure enough space) to back up the box disk partitions.

    If you are familiar with Yumi the excellent multi-boot utility then you can set-up all required options on the same bootable USB stick.


    So the first thing to do when doing anything major with a PC box is to image it. Backup the entire disk and all partitions for recovery.

    However, having tried quite a few imaging programs when I first had the box, upon restoring, Windows would boot but Android would not, resulting in a re-install of Android, which, in turn, because of the restore procedure required, removes Windows.

    So a bit of a catch 22, although the Windows partition(s) can easily be restored to the correct location on disk to get it back relatively easily.

    The most trusty imaging software that I have used, that has always worked, without fail (and I have imaged and restored many times), has an easy(ish) interface for most users to follow and is also free, is Macrium Backup 6 Free.

    It also has the ability to create a Windows PE boot disk so backup and restore can be used from a CD/DVD/USB boot disk. It does work with EXT 2/3/4 too, so also ideal for Linux backups.

    You can download Macrium Backup Free 6 here

    Then install in Windows on the box and also, create a bootable USB rescue media (select PE 10) as you will require it later.

    This then gives you 2 options to image all of the partitions.

    1. From within the Windows interface
    2. From the boot disk

    You can add drivers to the boot disk as well and although it does choose a few on creation, imaging from within Windows is faster.

    When doing so though, remember not to use the machine whilst it is doing the backup.

    Also, to absolutely ensure that the backup matches that of what is on the box, select the advanced options and turn on Auto Verify Image. There are circumstances where your backup media may have some tiny corruption that could render the backup unusable, so always turn on verification.

    As to what to use to back up to, then you can choose a USB stick or hard drive, preferably connected to the USB 3.0 port for fastest operation. Use a 32Gb disk or larger, although if your installation is new and you have not populated it with apps/programs/data then you may possibly just get away with 16Gb).

    If you choose to use the bootable method then I use the USB 2.0 port next to the power button. It may work with the other or even the USB 3.0 port but I have not tested them.

    To get the box to boot from the stick you will have to go into the BIOS (keep pressing the ESC key immediately after switching on) and on the last tab you can select your stick from the list of available options.

    This is a onetime thing and prevents you from having to change the boot order, which sticks until you manually modify it again.

    You can of course use other free products such as Gparted if Macrium is not to your liking.

    Note that on a couple of occasions when using the Macrium boot disk, it has resulted in a BSOD with an ACPI error but if you leave it alone for a minute the box automatically reboots loads correctly.

    Android removal (possibly (and logically) not required)

    So once you are done with the imaging process, you now need to remove Android and its partitions.

    Head on over to the Chuwi forums to this thread.

    This is part of where the generic comes in because the thread uses a generic procedure but each tablet/box may have a different partition setup, so read carefully.

    Whilst at first it might seem a little tricky, read through it and it will become obvious as you compare with the partition structure that from Reflect, which you can easily fire up to compare.

    The free partition that then becomes available is much larger than LibreElec really requires so later on you can use a partition manager, to optionally create a custom partition for LibreElec (I use 8Gb but reckon that 4Gb would also be more than enough) and then allocate the rest of the freed storage space to Windows (either expand the C: partition or create a new one).

    * See the note (**) below before you re-partition the free space as it is possible that it is not required.

    You will already know of the SwitchNOW icon on the Windows desktop that enables you to switch to Android and as part of the Android removal there are some additional instructions from Chuwi regarding

    These are the copied instructions:

    Boot Menu disabling for those who removed Android and for SingleOS
    ************************************************** ***************
    1. Run the SwitchNOW application from its desktop shortcut;
    2. Click No in the dialog window "Are you sure to switch to Android?";
    3. Select Disable and click Exit in the Boot menu configuration window;
    Reboot your tablet and make sure that Boot Menu does not appear.
    You can delete the SwitchNOW shortcut now.
    Owners of old SingleOS version tablets should delete the SwitchNOW shortcut from the Desktop without launching this.

    Now I did follow this but in hindsight it may be worth leaving alone for now because as part of my testing I had to mess about with various utilities to get the dual OS interface switcher to work on boot, so leaving it alone may make the rest of the process easier than it was for me.

    LibreElec (Generic)

    So now having the Android elements removed, we now need to install LibreElec.

    So head over to this thread.

    Choose the Download for Windows option, which will download a nice little utility for you to run that will simply the process of automatically downloading the generic X86 LibreElec and writing it to a bootable USB flash drive in just a few clicks.

    Then boot from the flash drive on the Hibox and install LibreElec.

    Note that the installation will wipe the whole disk but this is required to initially install.

    The process is simple and quick.

    ** At this point, astute users may, quite correctly observe that if the LibreElec installation wipes the disk, why do you need to go through any of the Android partition removal at all if the disk gets wiped.

    I can only say that from my own experience, until I removed the Android partition elements manually it would not boot to LibreElec but your mileage on this may vary and I did not investigate why at the time. I just found what worked. Quite illogical I know but ….

    Once complete, remove the USB flash drive as instructed on screen and reboot the box, where it will boot to LibreElec.

    At this point you could install the Millhouse build with all the hardware optimised features and configure Kodi but I would leave that until later just in case something doesn't work correctly and you have to start some elements of the process again.


    Now we have a Hibox disk with a single partition for LibreElec.

    So we need to resize the partition (4/8Gb should easily be enough) for LibreElec and allocate the free space to Windows in NTFS format.

    The ISO required to use Gparted live is on this thread.

    I chose the Download gparted-live-0.28.1-1-amd64.iso

    Then create a boot USB disk from the ISO file using your favourite tool.

    I use Iso2Disc from here

    Image restore

    Now you need to restore the Windows partition elements using your Macrium backup, where you may need to think carefully when restoring as you only want to restore Windows partitions to the free space, not the whole disk and therefore lose LibreElec.

    Completion test

    Once done, reboot the box and cross your fingers.

    What we want to see upon boot is the Dual OS switcher to become active.

    If so, initially choose the option to boot to Windows, just to verify that it works correctly.

    If all is OK, reboot again and choose the green Android logo on the OS switcher, where it should boot to LibreElec (having not disabled the OS switcher like I did, I think that you will have a much shortened process of installation than I did).

    Millhouse LibreElec

    Next you will need the Millhouse build to install on top of the generic LibreElec build you now have.

    So head over to this thread.

    The latest build is always at the top of the list (#0713 as of the date that this is written), so click on the generic link, where it will download the update in the form of a .TAR file.

    This file then needs to be copied across to a hidden folder on the Hibox.

    There are many methods to copy this file across but using the Kodi file manager is probably initially the easiest.

    But first you need enable Kodi to see hidden files and directories, where you can see simple and graphical instructions here.

    Then copy the .TAR file you downloaded to a USB stick and use the Kodi file manager to copy/move the file from the USB stick to the hidden folder located on /storage/.update

    Once the file is copied/moved, reboot the box and the file will automatically be detected, its contents extracted and applied before automatically rebooting.

    You can then configure the LibreElec Millhouse build (which is updated very regularly and can be installed in a on destructive way) as you wish.

    Final (optional) step

    Once you have verified that all works (and used any free disk space as desired), there is one last thing to do.

    Take another image of the machine using Macrium backup (or other choice) so that you have a new rescue point to go back to at any time should disaster occur in the future.

    And that should be job done.
    MXIII-G II, Chuwi Hibox, Nvidia Shield, NUC6CAYH