Dual Boot Questions

DeaconFrost

[H]F Junkie
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Sep 6, 2007
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So I've been a strong opponent of multi-boot systems, mainly because I didn't like the potential of corrupting a Linux install that would render a Windows install useless, too. However, as I've gotten more comfortable with Linux, I'm toying around with breaking my rule of no dual boots on my primary system. It currently runs Windows 10 Pro 1909, and I'll list out the drives below. I have settle on Ubuntu MATE for my Linux distro of choice, but I have a few questions.

1: 512 GB Samsung 960 PRO - Windows 10 Pro (C drive)
2: 500 GB Samsung 960 EVO - Unformatted
3: 1 TB Samsung 850 EVO - Storage for Windows
4: 2 TB Samsung 860 EVO - Games

So, may first question is, if the system is currently configured as such, can I boot from my Ubuntu MATE flash drive and install it to Drive #2. If I remember correctly, that should configure GRUB to give me boot options for Windows or Ubuntu, right?

Second question, if I wanted to have Drive #3 accessible to both OSes, can it remain formatted as NTFS, or should I format it to exFAT?

Third and final....is there any way Steam can share the same directory on Drive #4, or would it be better to have a separate folder for Steam/Linux?
 

vick1000

[H]ard|Gawd
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Sep 15, 2007
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Just be sure to GRUB the number 2 drive, DO NOT put GRUB on the Windows drive, it will corrupt the windows boot loader.

You have to install some drivers (ntfs-3g ) to mount NTFS in Linux, but yeah.

Share Steam? Search "Symbolic Links". But some games may not work, and other issues possible.
 
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akmens

n00b
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Mar 8, 2016
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I have very similar situation. I also have 4 drives, except first drive is win10 on ssd and others are hdd's.
I want to install https://www.android-x86.org/installhowto.html

Like vick1000 suggested I want to have GRUB on the other hdd, I don't want it to mess up my windows ssd drive.

- I like the way that each OS is independent from other drives and boot loaders.
- if I want to load OS from other drive, I like to use bios boot menu by pressing F8 on restarting.

1. How to make sure that GRUB will be installed only on the second drive?
(please look at the link above, there is a prompt window "Do you want to install boot loader GRUB" if I press on YES, will I have the option to choose where to install GRUB or it will automatically install itself on first boot drive reported by bios like windows setup would do? If so, will temporary changing boot order in bios help this situation? I have done so succesfully with windows installations).

2. If other drive is formatted as NTFS and is for storage and cannot be wiped, what is the best way to install linux? Is creating unallocated space and then letting linux install itself on it good or bad idea? Does unallocated space needs to be created exactly at the begining of the drive? Will Windows see the rest of the drive like nothing happened after linux installation?

3.If that is not too much of asking, can linux (specifically from the link above) be installed on USB drive as writable OS? Meaning, I want my initial Android settings and installed apps remain after shutdown. If that is not be done in few easy steps, ignore the question, I am not good at linux coding what it require...
 
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Mazzspeed

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Dec 27, 2017
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Just be sure to GRUB the number 2 drive, DO NOT put GRUB on the Windows drive, it will corrupt the windows boot loader.

You have to install some drivers (ntfs-3g ) to mount NTFS in Linux, but yeah.

Share Steam? Search "Symbolic Links". But some games may not work, and other issues possible.
I've installed GRUB on the Windows drive before, no problem? Furthermore, if you use a packaged distro (ie: something based on Ubuntu) ntfs-3g will be installed by default.

However, personally I recommend installing Linux on it's own drive and using your BIOS/UEFI boot selector to boot your desired OS as Windows likes to mess with boot partitions.
 

CraigHB

Limp Gawd
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May 12, 2020
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146
However, personally I recommend installing Linux on it's own drive and using your BIOS/UEFI boot selector to boot your desired OS as Windows likes to mess with boot partitions.
That's what I've always done. When I was using 2.5" SATA I had a mobile rack and just used a removable boot drive. With m.2 I use the BIOS to select the boot drive now. It saves some headaches when you don't have to mess with a boot manager. Windows does not like to share.
 

LFaWolf

Gawd
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Aug 7, 2016
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Glad to know that I am not the only who thought of this. I boot Ubuntu, CentOS and Windows 10 from 3 different SSDs. Never have any issues.
 

CraigHB

Limp Gawd
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May 12, 2020
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146
I boot Ubuntu, CentOS and Windows 10 from 3 different SSDs.
I've been using a mobile rack as long as I've been putting together my own desktop computers. I was really happy, just swap out boot drives for different stuff, no boot manager or crazy partition schemes. Most recently I was using a mobile rack with SATA 2.5" SSDs. Before that I was using 3.5" racks with those big mechanical clunkers, first IDE then SATA. I'm actually set back by the adoption of m.2 and rejection of consumer u.2.

For a swap-able NVMe drive I'd have to use a u.2 adapter on the m.2 slot then find a u.2 rack with only one or two slots (most are enterprise with a whole bank). U.2 cables are expensive (because they are enterprise) and then I need a m.2 to u.2 converter tray for each drive (because u.2 drives are enterprise and expensive). What a convoluted and expensive mess.

If u.2 had become standard for consumer desktop it would have been the same as SATA 2.5" in terms of mobile racks. I could go back to 2.5" SATA drives, but NVMe is hugely faster and I want it, really don't want to go back to SATA. Maybe u.2 will become more common for consumer desktop in the future, not holding my breath though.

In general I think m.2 kind of sucks for desktop anyway. I can see the space savings benefit for laptops, but for desktop systems I simply don't see any advantage in mounting the drives on the motherboard. The drives are always buried by other components and usually end up getting hot air blown on them by the video card and CPU or at best suffer bad air flow. I think they should have stuck with remote mounted drives on desktop systems just for the sake of better cooling and easier access.
 

DeaconFrost

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I vaguely remember using Vantec removable racks in a tower, maybe somewhere around 15+ years ago. I don't mind the m.2 form factor in a tower now because it helps keep the wiring clean. My primary SSD is under a heatsink that's built-in to my Asus board, so it seems to stay relatively cool. Removal is a pain, so luckily that won't happen until I rebuild the tower or upgrade the drive.

I may go the route of just using the BIOS hotkey to boot for now. Easier to undo in the event I want to go back to a single OS. Thanks for the suggestions!
 
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