Another dual boot

I think I’m going to have to dual boot. My current Fedora 32 is good, and I don’t really want to touch it, but it’s sitting on a 256 gb nvme drive. I know that’s not enough to house windows and my linux install so…

My board has a second nvme slot (aorus elite x570 wifi/3700x) and I could probably swing a new 512gb nvme drive.

Am I starting from scratch or is there a way forward without reinstalling my fedora install? maybe clone my current install to the new drive and then install windows on the 256? I’m worried about the boot loader though. I don’t want windows windowsing my linux.

If you must dual boot (virtualization is a better solution in nearly every way) give each OS a disk that the other doesn’t touch.

Select between them at boot using UEFI.

You can clone your existing Fedora installation using dd (built into most distros), and expand your filesystem to fill the additional disk space on the new disk.

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I dual boot with two Nvme SSD’s. All is working fine here, I’ve really never had any issues dual booting from separate drives. When I would dual boot on one shared drive, sometimes Windows update would overrun grub and boot into the Windows bootloader making grub inaccessible. As grub is now nstalled on the Linux Nvme, and Windows on it’s own, I haven’t had any issues since. Also grub finds the Windows installation just fine.

  1. ADATA SX8200 1TB M.2 (Manjaro)
  2. WD Black 512GB M.2 (Windows 10)
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This is the way.

  1. Clone fedora to new disk and resize partition (gparted or any other tool, there are plenty)
  2. Check if your cloned fedora boots from new disk. (disable/unplug old disk*)
  3. Disable (or take out) new cloned Fedora disk and install Windows on old disk.
  4. Enable Fedora disk/put it back in. Boot to Fedora and do update-grub. Your Windows install should appear in grub on next reboot.

Taking out drive isn’t necessary, but Windows install sometimes is messing with second drive if your’e doing default install.

Oh, and finally when you tired of dual booting, virtualize that windows install and never boot it again :wink:

*Edit: forgot about possible UUID duplication. sometimes it may cause consternation. Thx @jlittle for pointing that out.


This is the exact hand holding I needed. Thank you!

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You’re welcome.
One more thing “clone fedora” means usually cloning 2 partitions. EFI (fat32) and Fedora install (Ext4).
Generally you have to clone all partitions from old disk to new and resize ext4 one that contains Fedora.

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By EFI, do you mean /boot? Grub can boot from ext4 for quite a few years now. My Fedora install doesn’t even have a separate /boot.

EFI partition mounts usually into /boot/efi in newer distros.
Boot partition is something else, and usually extX. It is used when boot loader (i.e. grub) doesn’t directly recognize your OS filesystem.

Yes, if your filesystem is recognized by bootloader its easier to just go straight into it. Regardless of EFI.

However EFI partition is needed for UEFI bios to get loader from, based on EFIVARS. And it has to be fat32 according to rfc.

Of course if you dont have UEFI bios then its not needed , because bootloader is in MBR instead of EFI partition. However I would still suggest to make one on new installs, in case if you upgrade motherboard later.

Of course additionally its connected to MBR/GPT partition tables, but its another topic, and Linux is not really affected by this much, unless you’re dual booting and your disks are bigger than 2TB.

That reminds me, @TheF1sh, if your old drive is still MBR, it would be good idea to partition new disk with EFI on GPT partiton, and clone partitions instead of whole disk.
It’s bit more complicated, as it involves reinstalling bootloader from chroot, however since you have backup of your system anyway, you can try it without any consequences :slight_smile:

I was in a similar situation sometime back. I just installed Windows on a new media device and ran the existing Linux installation as a VM by using passthrough. It worked pretty well and I still can dual boot the other one with minimal modifications. You can go through my blog post if you are interested.

I’m on a last gen ThinkPad (T495s). I’m not sure if I have disabled EFI, haven’t been into the BIOS since I intalled Fedora :stuck_out_tongue: Since last week fwupdmgr has been complaining with:

WARNING: Firmware can not be updated in legacy BIOS mode

Based on your explanation, it seems that could be related. And maybe indeed I have EFI disabled.

Well, fwupdmgr is right :wink:
But if its about microcode update I cannot elaborate. I know principle, but not practice. So maybe someone else will explain. Also embedded systems have their own quirks, and I don’t have T495 laying around, so I don’t want to mislead you.
All I can say that on my E580 (yey thinkpads :slight_smile: ) and Manjaro I have UEFI enabled, disk with GPT, and fwupdmgr doesnt warn me about anything :slight_smile: Also I have 2 mounts extra compared to MBR boots(usually called CSM in new bioses):

/dev/nvme0n1p1 on /boot/efi type vfat
efivarfs on /sys/firmware/efi/efivars type efivarfs

As luck would have it, with a black friday deal on the 970 1tb nvme and a side job that paid quicker than expected I’m going to go that route for my linux drive and then have the 256 for windows alone.

One question about swap space. Does it need to be on the same drive as the root? I’ve been running the 3 partition swap-root-home. would there be any advantage to going root-home on the new drive and swap on the other m.2 through the chipset? I have 32gb ram and honestly have never seen the swap even hit while monitoring it. Isn’t it more for low ram situations?

Swap is there for when you run out of system ram for tasks, as well as being there for when/if you hibernate your PC. To save power without losing your work it compresses your session all in to the swap space for a quick bounce-back when you press the power button or space bar, since the system ram is also powered down during hibernate.

Swap will always benefit from faster read/write

We might be in the same boat,

read one above

with the new drive, I think I’m going to give Fedora 33 a try and then just start from scratch. if it doesn’t work out I’ll clone the fed32 drive and proceed as above.

I don’t know why, I’m a sucker for the “new release”

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I’d add the warning that if you clone a partition exactly, it has the same UUID as the original, and booting with both present can cause confusion, both to OS and user. (Confused the hell out of me when I did it.) If you really want to have both present, gparted can put a new UUID on one of them, but that messes with grub and /etc/fstab if they use UUIDs.

Very good point, I forgot to mention that. Gonna fix that guide. Thanks.

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