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