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CentOS + Windows 10 Dual-boot on MBR-based Laptop Questions


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#1 Nicholas_Kang

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 10:43 AM

Hi all,

 

Some background info: 

 

I am planning to dual-boot my current Windows 10 Home laptop (upgraded from Windows 7 SP1 during the free upgrade offer a few years back.) with Linux CentOS. I have some inquiries for the experts here before I start making changes to my laptop. (I can't afford to purchase a new laptop at the moment, so I don't want to take any risk by practicing "trial-and-error: using my laptop.) 

 

I know a bit about the overall Linux environment and some commands, file systems and interacting with the shells, but I will still consider myself a newbie in Linux, so feel free to advise me on Linux matters.

 

You may want to first have a look at my laptop specs and configurations by checking my profile page. I have listed all the details there. (Kindly let me know if you need any further info or if I missed out any important clues that you need for advice. Thanks!)

 

 

 

Current HDD Partitioning Scheme

 

Shown below are my current hard drive partitions configuration:

 

Attached File  Nicholas_PC_Partition.jpg   74.74KB   0 downloads

Attached File  Nicholas_PC_Partition_1.jpg   42.07KB   0 downloads

 

The first partition, 25 GB in size, is my ASUS factory recovery partition, which I intend to keep. The factory reset partition can be accessed by pressing F9 when the initial boot screen is shown. The 2nd partition, about 145 GB in size, is my C:\ drive, which houses my Win 10 OS, boot files, system files, installed software and some of my personal documents. The 3rd partition, 450 MB, needless to say, is the recovery partition created by Windows 10 during the upgrade process from Win 7. The 4th partition, which is the last one, is the D:\ drive.

 

All first 3 partitions are primary partitions and the D:\ is a logical drive housed in an extended partition, as shown in the first screenshot (see above).   

 

As you may have noticed, my laptop is mostly clean and I mainly work with the C:\ drive daily; removing, adding and editing files from my C:\ drive. My D:\ drive is actually empty, except from some canary files and folders created by RansomFree (I will uninstall Ransomfree temporarily to clean up my PC a bit and reinstall it after I finish setting up the dual-boot config.)

 

 

 

Outline of my planned process of setting up a dual-boot environment (This is what I envision)

 

My plan is to install CentOS on the space currently occupied by the D:\ logical drive. I understand that I should first delete the D:\ drive and transform it into an "unallocated space", so that I can install CentOS on this space during my installation process. 

 

Before this, I should have downloaded the ISO file from CentOS website and burn it to a DVD. After deleting the D:\ drive, I will then boot from DVD (the CentOS installation DVD) and follow the installation steps.    

 

When asked to configure my partitioning scheme, I should select "traditional partitioning" and choose to format the unallocated space earlier with the ext4 file system (no plan to try out ZFS or BtrFS yet) and set / as the mount point. (I don't plan to set up swap spaces or create new partitions and mount other directories on them at the moment, so / will be my only mount point, and I will have 245 GB of space for my whole CentOS root file system.)   

 

Once then, I just have to reboot my PC (following the instructions from the installation wizard) and I will have my dual-boot configuration set up.

 

 

 

My questions concern with the partitioning system and the Grub 2 bootloader that CentOS will use.

 

Here are my questions:

 

1. Assuming everything is done correctly, will Grub 2, the bootloader, automatically detect both my Windows 10 OS and my Factory Reset partition (as noted earlier, the original laptop is preinstalled with Windows 7, so the factory reset partition houses the Win 7 bootloader as well.)? 

 

*Take note that my Windows 10 OS, i.e. the C drive is a NTFS file system. In the question above, assume that I did not install NTFS-3G from the EPEL repository, which means: I would like to know if CentOS can natively recognize my Windows 10 OS on the C:\ drive, without installations of any other dependencies/software packages.

 

2. As noted above, usually, I press F9 to access the recovery partition, i.e. the 1st partition of my disk. Now that I have finished configuring the dual-boot process, will pressing F9 in the new dual-boot environment still lead me to the recovery partition and automatically kick start the recovery process? Simply put, will it show something like this:

 

maxresdefault.jpg

 

Or it will simple boot Windows 7 from the recovery partition and show me this instead (Yup, that is the exact same Laptop model that I own :)):

Asus-laptop-one-year-old-neat-condition-

 

Or it won't shown anything at all, but the Grub 2 boot screen and I can then kick-start the recovery process by selecting the recovery environment option in the boot screen, as mentioned here.

 

3. Talking about the 2 Windows (the Win 7 in the recovery partition and Win 10 in C:\), will Grub 2 automatically separate the 2 and give 2 options for me to choose from in the Grub2 boot screen? 

 

So, I imagine seeing 2 options that contain Windows on the Grub screen, one is say, "Windows RE (Recovery Environment)" and another one is "Windows 10", for example. Is that correct? 

 

4. Now, assuming that I have the dual-boot configuration set up properly and smoothly. What will I expect to see when I boot into Windows 10? I am pretty certain that my D:\ drive will have gone missing in Windows Explorer. So, how will "Disk Management" display the ext4 file system then? Will Windows 10 recognize ext4 file systems?  

 

And what about on the CentOS side? If now I login to my CentOS system, will the C:\ drive (should be /dev/sda2, correct me if I am wrong) be mounted automatically? Will the 25 GB factory preset recovery partition and the 450 MB Windows 10 recovery partition be mounted automatically?  

 

Alright, that's all for now.

 

Looking forward to the advice and replies.

 

Have a nice day, all! 

 

Cheers,

 

Nicholas


Edited by Nicholas_Kang, 11 June 2018 - 06:52 PM.

"When the product is free the real product is YOU."
 

An offer of free anti-virus or anti-malware software is essentially a marketing techniqueBottom line...it's all about generating revenue and finding new and creative ways to do so. As such, users may have to deal with occasional nagging pop-ups, nuisance advertising and prompts to upgrade to the paid version or purchase other products.

By using such free programs, you are essentially agreeing to the terms of the vendor's service which includes those annoying pop-ups and ads.
 
Read more here...


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#2 MadmanRB

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 11:02 AM

Well my question is why use CentOS?

If you are new to linux then CentOS is a very poor first choice, it is not targeted at new desktop users it is targeted at enterprise desktop users.

There are better distributions for a linux newcomer such as linux mint.

I mean if you want to use centOS thats fine but for someone new to linux its hardly the best choice


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#3 Rocky Bennett

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 12:31 PM

My question is why keep that old Windows 7 recovery partition if you are running Windows 10? In the world of Windows 10 there really is no need for a large recovery partition anymore. You can use Macrium Reflect and create a fresh recovery file that you can keep on a USB stick. I think that your partition scheme is very antique and not suitable for the modern world of operating systems in the year 2018.

 

Why did you choose CentOS?


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#4 Nicholas_Kang

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 06:49 PM

Thanks for the replies, Rocky Bennett and MadmanRB. :)

 

Firstly, I need to use CentOS because I am running some software that are well-tested on CentOS and RHEL only. The software developer mentioned that the software is only available for CentOS and RHEL. Since I could not afford RHEL, nor do I want to risk installing the software package on other distros and run into tons of problems, I can only resort to CentOS. 

 

Attached File  Nicholas_software.jpg   97.72KB   0 downloads

 

Some more background story: I have actually practiced CentOS on my friend's VPS before for some 2 months (with the software installed), so I am quite familiar with the routine works and the environment on CentOS. (Sometimes SELinux can be a bit annoying for the novice user though! But that's fine, I have found ways to work around them. My friend who provided me the VPS is a Linux Sysadmin, so he helped me quite a lot for the past 2 months. But unfortunately, he is ending his VPS subscription next month, so I need to get a Linux distro running on my local machine at least before July, to continue practicing Linux skills and running the software concerned.) 

 

Regarding the antique partitioning scheme, can you let me know how does the "latest" partitioning scheme look like?

 

Personally speaking, I think my current C:\ and D:\ drives are more than big enough for me to fully utilize and use up them. (As you can see in the screenshot I still have some 80 % of free drive space on C:\ while D:\ is nearly empty except from the 3-4 MB of canary files created by RansomFree) I don't install lots of software and I regularly backup my files, so I don't really see any reason to tamper with the current partition layout.   

 

That said, I am quite interested in the "current" partition layout mentioned by Rocky Bennett.

 

Oh, and currently I only have a 4 GB USB drive (not sure if that's big enough for the recovery file.) I also have a 3-CD copy of the recovery partition created using the AI recovery Burner. But for redundancy, I prefer to keep both the Win 7 and Win 10 recovery partitions, just in case. (Did I mention that my 7-year-old laptop's hinge is broken?)

 

Let me know your thoughts, and if we shall come back to the 4 questions I posted earlier when we are ready. 

 

Once again,

 

Thanks guys.  


Edited by Nicholas_Kang, 11 June 2018 - 06:51 PM.

"When the product is free the real product is YOU."
 

An offer of free anti-virus or anti-malware software is essentially a marketing techniqueBottom line...it's all about generating revenue and finding new and creative ways to do so. As such, users may have to deal with occasional nagging pop-ups, nuisance advertising and prompts to upgrade to the paid version or purchase other products.

By using such free programs, you are essentially agreeing to the terms of the vendor's service which includes those annoying pop-ups and ads.
 
Read more here...


#5 MadmanRB

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 06:53 PM

Thats all good, as for your question yes CentOS should be able to read NTFS drives but keep in mind it wont see them as a "C" drive

The windows drive lettering system does not exist in linux so it will be labelled differently.

Now unfortunately EXT4 is not readable by default in windows,there are tools that can make windows read linux file systems but not write to them so any file transferring should be done from linux to windows.


Edited by MadmanRB, 11 June 2018 - 06:59 PM.

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#6 Nicholas_Kang

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 07:01 PM

Ok, so I can confidently say that, if I have done everything correctly, CentOS should be able to recognize both my Windows 10 and Windows 7 RE partitions and show them automatically in the Grub 2 boot screen? 

 

What about the F9 key then? Will it still be useable? If not, how do I access the recovery environment setup? 

 

Thanks for helping, MadmanRB. 

 

Edit: Just saw your latest edit. It's ok for Windows' failure to recognize the ext4 file system. I want to isolate my Linux system from Windows. So, I am more than happy enough to let Windows fail to recognize Linux. :P


Edited by Nicholas_Kang, 11 June 2018 - 07:48 PM.

"When the product is free the real product is YOU."
 

An offer of free anti-virus or anti-malware software is essentially a marketing techniqueBottom line...it's all about generating revenue and finding new and creative ways to do so. As such, users may have to deal with occasional nagging pop-ups, nuisance advertising and prompts to upgrade to the paid version or purchase other products.

By using such free programs, you are essentially agreeing to the terms of the vendor's service which includes those annoying pop-ups and ads.
 
Read more here...


#7 MadmanRB

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 07:08 PM

Everything should run as it should, nothing major will change except for the GRUB boot screen.

CentOS should not effect any BIOS settings and if anything goes wrong there are ways to make it right such as supergrubdisk


Edited by MadmanRB, 11 June 2018 - 07:08 PM.

You know you want me baby!

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xu847p-6.png


#8 Nicholas_Kang

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 07:18 PM

Cool! 

 

Glad to hear that. You have just given me the confidence I need to get started!

 

(Anyway, just to inform you in case I have confused you, although I have mentioned in my profile that my OS is Windows 10 Home/CentOS 7.5.1804, in reality, I only have Windows 10 home installed on my laptop for now. The Windows 10 Home/CentOS 7.5.1804 is supposed to be the final state of my laptop only after I installed CentOS alongside with Windows 10.)   

 

Will report back here and share some vodka martini with you when I strike success later this week. I will install CentOS in 2 days time. 


"When the product is free the real product is YOU."
 

An offer of free anti-virus or anti-malware software is essentially a marketing techniqueBottom line...it's all about generating revenue and finding new and creative ways to do so. As such, users may have to deal with occasional nagging pop-ups, nuisance advertising and prompts to upgrade to the paid version or purchase other products.

By using such free programs, you are essentially agreeing to the terms of the vendor's service which includes those annoying pop-ups and ads.
 
Read more here...


#9 pcpunk

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 01:16 PM

Okay, there is a lot going on here, so will just try to add relevant info if that's possible by me LOL.

 

1. Make sure you backup ALL your files, as I now seen you've done.

 

2. Run a Program like Produkey. to get any unsaved product keys for other software on your pc in case you need to reinstall.

 

3. I take it your did not Create "Recovery Media" for your Windows 7 OEM Install?  But you did say something about backing up the Recovery Partition right?

 

I also have a 3-CD copy of the recovery partition created using the AI recovery Burner. But for redundancy, I prefer to keep both the Win 7 and Win 10 recovery partitions, just in case. (Did I mention that my 7-year-old laptop's hinge is broken?)

a. I see, you did Create Official OEM Recovery Media?

 

b. You can keep the Windows 7 Recovery Partition, but there is nothing in it right?  Recovery is usually D.

 

4. D Drive is where you should install CentOS IMO.  And, I don't know how Cent installs, but you may want to create a "Extended" Partition in D so that you can have more "Logical" Partitions inside that if needed.  Some distros will install more than one Partition by default, and sometimes try to install as Primary, but you may not have room for anymore Primaries do to the Limit of Four Primary's per MBR Drive.

 

5. If your laptop specs are good enough you could run a Virtual Machine, but that will be a little slower etc.

 

Ran out of time, hope this helps.


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#10 Nicholas_Kang

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 06:41 PM

Hi pcpunk, 

 

Glad that I saw your reply before I install CentOS today (it's morning here). 

 

1. Backup: Done!

 

2. Produkey: Thanks for the recommendation! But from the screenshots below, I guess I don't really need it. :P

 

Attached File  Nicholas_programs.jpg   53.21KB   0 downloads

Attached File  Nicholas_programs1.jpg   53.62KB   0 downloads

Attached File  Nicholas_programs2.jpg   57.17KB   0 downloads

Attached File  Nicholas_programs3.jpg   54.3KB   0 downloads

Attached File  Nicholas_programs4.jpg   52.2KB   0 downloads

 

3. a. Yes, I used the Asus preinstalled AI Recovery Burner to make a copy of my recovery partition when I was using my Windows 7. So, in the event that my whole HDD is wiped clean (yes, that happened once to me, but I was quick enough to find out the 3 discs and restore my PC back to its factory state, and even glad (or sad, depending on whether you love Windows 10) that the free upgrade offer wasn't over, so here am I today, with multiple redundancy of backups and recovery files. 

 

b. Regarding partitions, my plan is to delete the D:\ partition and create about 245 GB of unallocated space. Then during the installation later today, I will simply create a mounting point / on the "unallocated space" which will be formatted into the ext4 file system.

 

I have watched some CentOS installations videos and get a good grasp of it.

 

4. Yes, virtualization was considered as an option before by my friends and I as well. But since I want to isolate my Linux system completely from my Win 10 environment and I want to learn about Grub 2 in detail, it's best to just dual-boot the PC.

 

Thanks for the help, pcpunk! 

 

Edit: Registry question removed. Found the solution online. 


Edited by Nicholas_Kang, 12 June 2018 - 07:59 PM.

"When the product is free the real product is YOU."
 

An offer of free anti-virus or anti-malware software is essentially a marketing techniqueBottom line...it's all about generating revenue and finding new and creative ways to do so. As such, users may have to deal with occasional nagging pop-ups, nuisance advertising and prompts to upgrade to the paid version or purchase other products.

By using such free programs, you are essentially agreeing to the terms of the vendor's service which includes those annoying pop-ups and ads.
 
Read more here...


#11 Nicholas_Kang

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 08:07 AM

Unfortunately, no vodka martini to be shared... 

 

I have got CentOS installed. Towards the end, the installation DVD was ejected on its own and I removed the CentOS disc. 

 

Then the PC reboots itself, the ASUS POST screen shows up, and...

 

a Windows logo shows up... and I boot into my original Windows 10 instead. 

 

Can anyone help me to figure out why there is no GRUB menu showing up at all? 


Edited by Nicholas_Kang, 13 June 2018 - 08:10 AM.

"When the product is free the real product is YOU."
 

An offer of free anti-virus or anti-malware software is essentially a marketing techniqueBottom line...it's all about generating revenue and finding new and creative ways to do so. As such, users may have to deal with occasional nagging pop-ups, nuisance advertising and prompts to upgrade to the paid version or purchase other products.

By using such free programs, you are essentially agreeing to the terms of the vendor's service which includes those annoying pop-ups and ads.
 
Read more here...


#12 pcpunk

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 08:08 AM

 

2. Produkey: Thanks for the recommendation! But from the screenshots below, I guess I don't really need it. :P

Yeah, don't look like you have much there, but not all programs show up in Programs and Features...I think.

 

Can you link us to the video you are using, that may save you some trouble if there are inconsistencies there.


sBCcBvM.png

Created by Mike_Walsh

 

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eps2.4_m4ster-s1ave.aes_pcpunk_leavemehere

 


#13 Nicholas_Kang

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 08:14 AM

I don't have any videos on my laptop. Rest assured. :) 

 

But now I need to know what's wrong with my laptop's bootloader. It boots straight into Windows 10, ignoring the whole Linux system. 


"When the product is free the real product is YOU."
 

An offer of free anti-virus or anti-malware software is essentially a marketing techniqueBottom line...it's all about generating revenue and finding new and creative ways to do so. As such, users may have to deal with occasional nagging pop-ups, nuisance advertising and prompts to upgrade to the paid version or purchase other products.

By using such free programs, you are essentially agreeing to the terms of the vendor's service which includes those annoying pop-ups and ads.
 
Read more here...


#14 Nicholas_Kang

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 08:36 AM

I googled for my problem and I am starting to suspect that my BIOS was UEFI after all...

 

I have decided to take some screenshots of my BIOS for all of you to help hunt down solutions for my problem.

 

For your info, I need to press F2 to enter BIOS on my laptop.

 

Here are the screenshots:

 

Attached File  1.jpg   88.77KB   0 downloads

Attached File  2.jpg   67.2KB   0 downloads

Attached File  3.jpg   61.98KB   0 downloads

Attached File  4.jpg   92.56KB   0 downloads

Attached File  5.jpg   77.18KB   0 downloads

 

So, it seems like my the UEFI is disabled by default. I have no idea how does this contribute to my problem. 

 

Can anyone help me? 

 

Thanks. 

 

 


"When the product is free the real product is YOU."
 

An offer of free anti-virus or anti-malware software is essentially a marketing techniqueBottom line...it's all about generating revenue and finding new and creative ways to do so. As such, users may have to deal with occasional nagging pop-ups, nuisance advertising and prompts to upgrade to the paid version or purchase other products.

By using such free programs, you are essentially agreeing to the terms of the vendor's service which includes those annoying pop-ups and ads.
 
Read more here...


#15 pcpunk

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 08:38 AM

That's what I was afraid of, don't know why I was thinking that but here we are?  You probably just installed grub to the wrong place.  Did you have any external drives connected at the time?

 

What you want to do in the future is Set Bootloader to /dev/sda, again, I've never installed CentOS, and surely not a newer version of it.

 

I'll let others help as I've never had that problem, though will leave you with some info I have used in the past. 

 

The terminal way

I think you can boot the Instal Medium and install grub to "/dev/sda" by running the command below. 

sudo grub-install /dev/sda

 

The graphical way

Or you can use the "boot-repair" both on THIS PAGE.  That page shows how to do the command below and has a link to the "boot-repair" directions.  

PLEASE WAIT FOR HELP UNLESS YOU ARE WILLING TO EXPERIMENT ON YOUR OWN, I DON'T USE THESE TOOLS OFTEN ENOUGH  TO GUIDE YOU.

 

Same command as above:

sudo grub-install /dev/sda

Here is another link: Reinstalling GRUB 2

 

Please post the video you used to do this, and tell us if you remember where you set "Device for bootloader Installation"


Edited by pcpunk, 13 June 2018 - 08:40 AM.

sBCcBvM.png

Created by Mike_Walsh

 

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