Installing Linux on a laptop with Windows

Linux without problems is put and external devices, be it USB flash drive or external hard drive that I wanted to do the opposite. Today I would like to describe in your setup script dual boot the OS with full UEFI support, and to consider separately the installation of Linux.

Overview designed for experienced users, I will not describe in detail the installation of windows in the network and so lacking in detail will consider only the options of Linux installation. Also to warn you that this is not a standard configuration and the following actions can result in damage to the BIOS.

Installing Linux on a laptop with Windows

After the spring update Windows and Fedora I have once again felt the desire to post them on different disks, although in General Windows update problem with the loader is not called.

So we have:

  • Notebook c HDD size 500 GB(insideH20 BIOS setup utility Rev. 3.7)
  • External hard disk 1 TB(USB 3.0)
  • A burning desire to remove windows from the laptop, but that it was at hand.
  • Next I’m going to install Windows 10 on an external hard drive and Linux on the laptop (preferably independently from each other). Linux is the default, and on an external hard drive(NTFS) are personal files and this version for me the best.

    With a little searching online, I with surprise for myself found out that quite a Windows now installs on external hard drive how to install linux on the laptop I will describe next.

    1. Installing Windows 10 on a laptop

    The first home we put Windows 10 single language( in my case Win10_1903_V1_Russian_x64.iso used official image) on a laptop, if not already set. Describe in detail the process I will not, I will simply note that the marked disk in the GPT format. Settings BIOS: Boot ModeUEFI, Secure Boot Disabled. Installation was carried out in UEFI mode.

    2. Installing Windows on external drive

    Next we need to install Windows on an external drive. Here too I didn’t make anything up, the network has a lot of instructions and using the terminal and the program WinNTSetup set up the same home Windows 10 single language(Win10_1903_V1_Russian_x64.iso) to an external drive, here again the same disk marked (or converted if necessary) to GPT. The BIOS settings are the same Boot Mode UEFI, Secure Boot Disabled. Installation was carried out in UEFI mode, the external drive connects via USB 3.0 port.

    In the end, if all goes well we have a Windows application installed on the external drive (disk 1) volume 4 (C:) that runs from the BIOS and starts directly with his boot.

    3. Removing Windows from the laptop

    The Windows are finished and we have two systems. Now install Linux on the laptop. I used Fedora(F30-WORK-x86_64-LIVE-20190628.iso) and bootable USB flash drive made with Fedora Media Writer, it makes a versatile USB flash drive that is loaded in the MBR and GPT. If you write another system and(or) to record on another(for example Rufus) note that the bootable flash drive needs to be a Live USB (to disk) and recorded in UEFI mode.

    Disconnect the external drive and boot with a Live USB Linux. Trust the installer, I did not and decided to do everything manually. Install and run Gparted or Parted in the terminal(whatever you prefer).

    As you can see in the beginning of the disk has hidden partitions and the windows boot loader /dev/sda1, /dev/sda2, /dev/sda3 (Volume1,Tom2 when viewed from windows), you can not touch them (windows from the external drive without them will not boot). Remove everything else, the Windows system partition C and if there are other NTFS partitions(D,E), it will be /dev/sda4 /dev/sda5 I have no pictures from an already installed Fedora, but the point I think is clear. Reboot and start the installation.

    I used two different ways to install and I have both. In detail will review them, maybe not in all distributions both will work or the first way someone will like more.

    Method 1. A normal Linux installation

    Installing Linux on a laptop with Windows held in a UEFI with disabled Secure Boot (though it is supported by Fedora). The default in /boot/efi partition(/dev/sda2) exhibited flags boot, esp – here is the Windows boot loader here we prescribe and loader when installing Fedora.

    Make the markup as in a normal Dual boot (Fedora). Create a /boot partition, specify the mount point for the ESP partition to /boot/efi(/dev/sda2) (not formatted otherwise, all is lost), creates a root if necessary, swap, /home, install, perezgrueso.

    Loaders Windows and Fedora will be written to the same partition /boot/efi. When enabled, the reboot selection menu Grub will display the Fedora boot loader Windows Boot Manager (although Windows on the drive there). In the end, Fedora boots and runs, while Windows connects to the USB port is enabled through BIOS and starts directly.

    This method works and systems spread across different disks. But to me this method is not very much, it is still “hanging” dual boot menu while booting, also if the damage, accidental formatting, updated /boot/efi partition, windows can not be loaded ( repair on two flash drives Windows boot loader installed on the external drive I’m not sure what will happen) and I went on.

    Recently I played with Fedora Silverblue, and there developers are advised when failed to multiboot to create additional ESP partition and install the bootloader on it, something like I decided to apply in this case.

    Method 2. Install Linux with a separate boot partition

    As in the first case, boot with a Live USB, run Gparted, we need the first three partitions /dev/sda1, /dev/sda2, /dev/sda3, the rest being removed. The flags section of /boot/efi(/dev/sda2) is replaceable with a boot, esp on a hidden, diag (hide it).

    Reboot, start the installation.

    Make the markup as in a normal single Fedora installation. Create a /boot, create a new /boot/efi partition(200МиБ not to confuse), create the root, swap, /home, install, reboot.

    Fedora this installation starts immediately in Plymouth, without a timeout and the grub screen as the only system on the device, with the new ESP partition /dev/sda4. created by the Fedora installer, “old” ESP partition /dev/sda2 is not mounted as you can see.

    Windows also connects to the usb port and is enabled via the BIOS. Both systems spread across different disks and have their own independent sections download. On the laptop now installed Linux (maybe any? or more? I haven’t tried), but Windows you can safely upgrade without fear of overwriting the Linux boot loader and enable as needed.

    This way I liked more and I use it now. So now looks like Fedora:

    And windows:

    That’s the simple way to look at the new dual boot. If you want you can make a backup of the EFI directory on /dev/sda2. It is worth noting also that the windows on the external USB drive is loaded longer and is slower than internal HDD, but it works quite a well. If you have any questions ask in the comments!


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