Is it possible to Dual-boot Linux with Windows?

Discussion in 'Installation/Configuration' started by Sweta, Jun 29, 2020.

  1. Sweta

    Sweta New Member

    Hello all,
    I am trying to setup dual-booting with a Linux OS on my current Lenovo Flex 5 which is running Windows 10. I am having trouble with the process so I wanted to make sure this was possible. Is downloading Linux after a system is already running on Windows a hindrance? I also wanted to know if and how I can share files between both operating systems, and if they should be a specific file type to share them between the two operating systems. Additionally, is there a Linux distribution that works best for a dual-boot environment? I am trying to install Kali Linux but I wanted to check if it would be better to use Ubuntu in this environment.
    Thank you.
  2. ahrasis

    ahrasis Well-Known Member HowtoForge Supporter

    Dual boot has been possible for more than a decade for most linux distribution and grub2 has made it even more easier.

    In my experience, you'll need to create partition for linux in advance to ease its installation process, the sample of which can be google'd / searched.

    This will include shrinking windows partition if necessary, to create the needed partition(s) for your linux distro.

    File sharing is definitely possible between the two system one of which is via using nfs file server system.

    Windows shared folder(s) can also be shared to linux.

    In my opinion there is no such thing as the best linux distro for dual-boot as that is all up to you, your knowledge, expertise or experience; and kali is just a derivative of ubuntu, while ubuntu itself is a derivative of debian.

    They all are good and customizable for whatever purpose(s) you need to achieve.
  3. nhybgtvfr

    nhybgtvfr Well-Known Member HowtoForge Supporter

    i'm not sure about running nfs or shared folders as @ahrasis suggests, i don't see how that would work on a dual boot system, as the windows environment wouldn't be running, so how would it run nfs or cifs?
    however a running window machine would have no problems exposing files via nfs or cifs to other machines over the network.

    the hardest part of creating a dual boot system is usually getting the boot managers working without breaking/overwriting the windows one. but there are plenty of tutorial/howto's your can google that will walk you through it.

    on a dual boot system, modern linux releases should support ntfs out of the box, otherwise it can be added with fuse or ntfs-3f, so linux can access the windows partitions directly.
    similarly for windows to directly access the linux partitions, something like ext2fsd will allow it to access ext2/3/4 partitions.
    windows accessing xfs, zfs, btrfs, or other newer filesystems may be possible, i've not tried so not sure what options are out there.

    also, if you just want access to a linux environment, it's not actually necessary to dual boot, with windows having the linux subsystem included in it, bringing up an ubuntu environment from within windows is incredibly easy, and although you don't get the full desktop environment, if you install an x server like xming, you can export the display, and have native linux apps open their normal gui interface within windows.
    and when windows is updated with WSL2 at some point this year, it should run native linux gui apps, with full gpu acceleration without having to install a third party x server.
    and along with ubuntu, suse and fedora should already be freely available, if ubuntu's available, i'd be very surprised if debian wasn't also.
  4. ahrasis

    ahrasis Well-Known Member HowtoForge Supporter

    I was answering to this which mentions between the two operating system which I might misunderstood as both running at the same time which I may be shouldn't misunderstand given the question is about dual boot, so I stand corrected.

    I don't know how hard it could be for others to create dual boot, but most, if not all, of my pcs and laptops have tripple boot using linux grub2 to windows, linux and android x86.
  5. nhybgtvfr

    nhybgtvfr Well-Known Member HowtoForge Supporter

    yeah, i figured you'd misunderstood/misinterpreted that part, had to correct that, didn't want to get Sweta's hopes up.

    i remember 20+ years ago with the pre-release win2k from the insider program, creating a multiboot system, with win95, nt4 server, win2k, redhat linux, Solaris, and BeOs, considering the windows machines didn't like more than 4 partitions on a drive, and even dual-boots were much less straightforward back then, now that was a real pain in the arse to setup. i just don't see much need to dual boot anymore, just run one as a vm inside the other, or use windows WSL. guess needing/wanting the android os make sense for it though, not sure how much efforts been put into making that run well in a virtualized environment.
  6. ahrasis

    ahrasis Well-Known Member HowtoForge Supporter

    I don't really like to use vm may be because in my experience it is too slow and mostly unstable (my hardwares are not really high in specs); and I have never tried WSL because I think it is mainly pointless when you can actually run the whole system in full linux or andoid for trial, work or fun, so dual boot has been good for me especially after grub2 was introduced.

    My main boot will always use grub2, as
    Windows and other OS still boot smoothly from the grub's menu.
  7. Blubba

    Blubba New Member

    Just to add my 2 cents:
    • First install Windows on HDD1/SSD1
    • Then install Linux on HDD2/SSD2
    • option A: Insert a small extra drive for file sharing between both OSes (SSD3/HDD3)
    • Option B: Create a partition on the Linux drive (SSD2/HDD2) for file sharing. Format it as ntfs.
    Windows 10 is quite Linux-unfriendly and reserves all partitions on its own drive. You will have access errors when trying to write to a windows drive.

    Best use Ubuntu, if you are a total beginner.

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