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which OS to install first in a dual boot setup


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#1 Captain Dunsel

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 03:23 AM

Well, I guess this question belongs in the Live Linux section, because I'll be using Live Linux, and it's not exclusively about Windows...

 

My Windows 7 computer is currently getting blue screens every time I start it up with Windows.  For months I've tried many things to fix it, and I could discuss that elsewhere. But for this thread, I'm interested primarily in discussing re-installing Windows, and also using my Linux Mint live flash stick to install Linux.  In the end I'd like to have a computer that can boot from either OS, at my choosing on bootup, and I'd like all my personal files to be accessible from either operating system.

 

To accomplish this I have several questions, but I'll focus on just one here... which should I install first, Windows 7 or Linux Mint, and why?  I have an idea, but want to hear from others. 

 

A bit more background: I have an external hard drive for backing up important files, and I have a Microsoft Windows 7 Professional x64 Operating System Disk. (I have several other disks containing all the software and drivers originally installed by the vendor.)

 

Thanks



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#2 jonuk76

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 04:31 AM

Easiest to install Linux after Windows. Windows installer does not see Linux installations, and its boot loader will overwrite the Linux boot loader, meaning after Windows installs you won't be able to start Linux. In other words it doesn't play nicely with non Microsoft OS's. Linux installers like Mint recognize existing Windows installations and happily install alongside them.  If a Windows installation is detected it will automatically be added to the Grub boot loader menu, so you get a choice of which OS to load when you turn on the PC.


Edited by jonuk76, 15 March 2014 - 07:38 AM.

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#3 Captain Dunsel

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 11:48 PM

OK, thanks jonuk76.  That's helpful.  I especially appreciate that you gave some reason behind your answer. (Not surprising, by the way, to read Windows doesn't play nicely with Linux but Linux is more amiable. :rolleyes:   Of course I can see it from a practical standpoint as well, given Windows' ubiquity.)

 

I would like to get a second opinion, however, as it's a big move for me. Anyone else?



#4 cat1092

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 01:21 AM

I tend to agree with jounk76, install Windows 7, plus any Data or other partitions that will be used for Windows, then install Linux Mint.

 

As to the bootloader, there are options so that one can retain their Windows one, one is Easy BCD 2.2. However, the install is slighlty different, instead of installing the bootloader to the entire drive, it can be installed to the (/) partition. Then when rebooting (this is assuming that Easy BCD is installed), bot into 7 & open the Easy BCD app. You can then add Mint to your boot options by "Add New Entry". Then click Linux/BSD under Operating Systems, there you can name your Linux Mint (what will be shown in the Boot Menu). You will then have to select the partition that your (/) partition is on & from the drop down menu that says "Type", select Grub 2, Grub Legacy didn't work for me, on several attempts.

 

Here's an external link to Easy BCD 2.2 (the home site requires free registration, but I'll provide that after this one). Why register for free software, though you can check the site out for more details. Plus the home site is trying to sell software that's not needed for this. I use the Free edition of East BCD 2.2 w/out issue. The cool thing about installing the bootloader with Easy BCD, is that you can remove Mint's option to boot, then format the partition, all w/out destroying or need to repair your Windows bootloader in the process. You can even set the default OS to boot to within the settings.

 

I have Easy BCD 2.2 on all of my dual boot installs except for one older laptop with XP installed with Mint 13, that one has the native Mint bootloader.

 

http://www.majorgeeks.com/files/details/easybcd.html

 

https://neosmart.net/EasyBCD/ (home site).

 

Good Luck!

 

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#5 jonuk76

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 08:11 AM

There's other reasons like issues around disk partitioning, why I think it's a good idea to install Windows before Linux, but don't want to get too technical.

 

For your Linux install I'd strongly recommend making a separate /home partition (this is not the default option on a Linux Mint install).  This makes upgrading or re-installing the Linux operating system much easier, as the home partition which contains your personal files won't be touched.


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#6 Captain Dunsel

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 12:25 PM

I tend to agree with jounk76, install Windows 7, plus any Data or other partitions that will be used for Windows, then install Linux Mint.

 

As to the bootloader, there are options so that one can retain their Windows one, one is Easy BCD 2.2. ...

 

The cool thing about installing the bootloader with Easy BCD, is that you can remove Mint's option to boot, then format the partition, all w/out destroying or need to repair your Windows bootloader in the process. You can even set the default OS to boot to within the settings.

 

Good Luck!

 

 

Hi Cat,

 

Thanks for your information.  Can you explain what you mean by, "plus any Data or other partitions that will be used for Windows"? Oh, I think I answered the question at the bottom (you'll see) just now... I just realized since you capitalized Data that you're probably referring not to data (lower case) but to the partition onto which I'll put my personal data -- true? I didn't catch that at first. But I'll leave my question at the bottom in case I'm wrong.

 

Regarding the bootloader, are you saying that installing Linux after installing Windows will normally delete/destroy the Windows bootloader (replacing it with its own, Grub, as mentioned by jonuk76), and that's why you mention EasyBCD as an option for retaining the Windows bootloader?

 

Can you explain why I might want to retain the Windows bootloader? I'm really very new to partitioning, dual booting (except with Linux live) and many of these concepts.

 

I did follow your links to learn about EasyBCD. I also read about it on Softpedia, and even watched most of a ten-minute YouTube video describing it. I have heard of Neosmart and, for reasons I've forgotten, have a favorable impression of them. Though I can sense potential usefulness from the program, I don't know enough about these topics to convolute my already-intense learning process and further delay installing these operating systems. :-) It's possible that last sentence I quoted from you (above) explains it, but I didn't fully understand what you were saying.

 

One more question, and maybe this relates to something you said: During the process of installing Windows (assuming I do that one first, as you both recommend), are there options for setting up partitions right from the Windows install program? If so, should I do so then and there -- keeping in mind my goal, mentioned in the top post -- or would I be better off waiting til that's done and doing partitioning from within the Linux Mint installer or something like GParted? (I'm also just barely familiar with GParted.)

 

Thanks!



#7 Sirawit

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 12:28 PM

You can see the guide here: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/501219/dual-booting-windows-and-linux/

 

Thank you.


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#8 Captain Dunsel

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 12:45 PM

There's other reasons like issues around disk partitioning, why I think it's a good idea to install Windows before Linux, but don't want to get too technical.

 

For your Linux install I'd strongly recommend making a separate /home partition (this is not the default option on a Linux Mint install).  This makes upgrading or re-installing the Linux operating system much easier, as the home partition which contains your personal files won't be touched.

I very much appreciate you not getting too technical.  :-)

 

OK, noted about the separate /home partition. I believe I've read others' recommendations to do the same. But I'm guessing from the name (I recognize the slash as being Linux nomenclature) that this is not the same as the Data partition Cat mentioned, which would be used by Windows. So now I'm a bit confused (big surprise; it's a daily thing as I learn Linux): is it possible for all my personal files to reside in a single location on the physical drive (thereby not duplicated and wasting space) yet accessible to both Windows and Linux?

 

I'd appreciate a summary of the partitions I'll need to create -- but I may also post a question about this as a separate thread to keep things simple. You've both given me confidence that Windows-first is the way to go as far as installing.

 

I do love the reason you and probably others have stated for keeping Linux itself separate from the data partition. I do want to be able to upgrade or reinstall easily. And I will ask one more question. You said the /home partition is not the default install option. Could that be why I've read (or seen videos) from several people instructing a user to choose "Something Else" in the Linux Mint install menu, as opposed to "Install Alongside" the other operating system?

 

Thanks again. 



#9 NickAu

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 08:04 PM

 

is it possible for all my personal files to reside in a single location on the physical drive (thereby not duplicated and wasting space) yet accessible to both Windows and Linux?

Yes.... Put the files on a seperate partition and both os'es will be able to acess it.

 

Eg 500 gig HDD

Windows on C drive. 160 gig.

Linux on D drive. 40 gig.

And all doccumennts etc on E drive. 300 gig. Must be Fat or NTFS.

 

Its how I set up a dual boot machine. Makes it easy this way.

Linux is always second,

Because Windows is a big girly sooky baby and cant play nice with others.


Edited by NickAu1, 17 March 2014 - 01:11 AM.


#10 Captain Dunsel

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 12:50 AM

Linux is always second, Because Windows is a big girly sooky baby and cant play nice with others.

 

 

:lol: 

 

Nick, thanks for helping to end an annoying day of research and tedious questions with a laugh.  And thanks for the info.



#11 jonuk76

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 09:44 AM

If you install Mint specifying a separate home partition as I suggested, then it will create three partitions:  / (root) where all of the system files go, /home, and a swap partition, which is usually sized to match the amount of RAM you have installed.  In the Mint installer this would involve the "something else" option.

 

Linux and Windows can read and write NTFS or FAT32 formats.  However, whether you could (or should) make a Linux home partition using either of these formats, I'm actually not sure :)  The /home directory or partition is roughly equivalent to the "Users" or "Documents and Settings" folder in Windows.  Not only does it contain documents, pictures, etc. but it also contains a lot of stuff in hidden folders (for example, your internet browser profile, e-mail folders, program settings and things like that).

 

What you certainly could do though is create a seperate storage partition in a format that both Windows and Linux can work with (NTFS or FAT32 say) as NickAu mentions, and use that as a storage area for video's, documents, music etc.  You can set Linux to automatically mount the partition on start up.  And you can set Windows "My Documents", "My Music" and so on to point to directories on this partition too.


Edited by jonuk76, 17 March 2014 - 10:56 AM.

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