Switching to Linux, but don't wanna kill windows boot

I have my “old” i7 3770k PC running Windows 10. I converted over from win7 so it’s all setup how I like.
But I really wanna play with Manjaro as my primary since I have a GTX 1070 and heard Nvidia on Linux works good for gaming.

I probably going to just throw a new SSD into my desktop to install Linux onto, but have no idea how to make it so the windows bootloader, or grub would show up. Or how I could add windows boot options into GRUB.

And if I download new kernels and do a update-grub would it remove the windows boot option from grub?

If they’re both UEFI this happens automatically from my experience. This is how I roll my desktop, one drive Windows and another with Fedora.

Usually have:

Latest Kernel
Previous Kernel
Previous Kernel
Recovery/Single User Mode
Windows Boot Manager

as the options.

I’ll select Windows Boot Manager to start the spinning dots. Can’t speak for Manjaro, have never been able to get it to install lulz.

To make windows show up in grub you need to have os-prober, I think it should come with Manjaro but if not then pacman -S os-prober then update your grub.


“Most” of the time linux will install on a seperate drive fine and you will get a grub boot loader that has both options.

If you want to be careful. When you get the new SSD. Unplug the windows drive and install Manjaro.

You will need to select the boot drive from the bios but its not going to mess up boot loaders etc if you dont know how to fix them.

A side effect is you should be able to boot the windows drive in a VM inside Manjaro.

Like others already mentioned; buy a secondary SSD and install Linux on that. These days drives are plenty cheap, with something like $30-$40 for a 200GB SSD SATA drive. This is more than enough. My current Ubuntu system with all apps I need installed takes up around 20GB, where 10 of that is my home partition. Unless you are going to go absolutely batshit insane crazy with gaming or want to do heavy video editing, it will take a while before you need more disk space - at which point you’ve probably decided to nuke the Windows drive, with Win7 being unsupported at that point. :smile:

Dual booting linux/win on the same hd hasn’t been difficult in my experience. At one point I had a triple boot system running win7/ubuntu/backtack4 on one of my laptops - grub recognized all three without any additional tweaking. The trick to not breaking windows is using its native disk management to shrink the volume/free up space before installing linux. Ubuntu/mint/debian installers have worked pretty flawlessly for me and have yet to [completely] break a system. However, I haven’t found that to be the case with manjaro so far - which brings me to the, uh, 2 cents I actually wanted to offer…

I’ve only done one manjaro install so far and have a very limited few weeks of experience to speak from, but my impression so far is that I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it as the first distro to try for a new user. I mean, if your a natural born tinkerer, and trying to figure out why the system broke after you installed an update or whatever will be a lot of fun for you - then, maybe. I don’t mean to sound discouraging about manjaro in general at all - I think its is really cool - I’d just hate for someone to give up on linux because they picked a tricksier distro to start with. Others will disagree, but personally I recommend ubuntu 18.xx/gnome to start out with. It’s super intuitive in my opinion and the easiest to learn - even if other desktops have more of a windows look/feel. But heck, SSDs are so cheap now - buy two and install manjaro as well! I believe both will support your nvidia - which brings me to my third motivation for posting…

This is really a discussion for another thread - but you mentioned nvidia working well for gaming in linux - and I’ve mostly heard that support for amd chipsets is far better. But I’m not much of a gamer and I’ve only recently started looking into putting together a system (hence discovering Wendell on Youtube and landing on this forum). I love tinkering with old hardware, and my initial plan was to update an Intel 4th gen workstation for light gaming. But with the new AMD gen around the corner/prices plummeting, I’m very tempted to go all amd instead. Anywho, I’m currently shopping sapphire rx 580’s on ebay - if that isn’t the best way to go advice would be appreciated.

Other things to be aware of is whether you are using secure boot with Windows. Booting from grub won’t work if you have a bitlocker encrypted drive that works off TPM/secure boot. An alternative is unplug your windows boot drive, install linux on separate ssd, then use your UEFI bios to switch OS.

Dual booting from the same drive isn’t that difficult, no - but there are some extra steps involved that a $40 SSD drive can remove with ease.

nVidia will still give you the best performance in Linux if you use the closed source drivers, but AMD drivers are much more stable nowadays. It’s a question if you want less hassle or less performance. Hopefully this will change in the near future.

Oh, absolutely - didn’t intend to suggest that booting from a single drive was the better option. At this point, maybe only if you’re on a laptop w/ a single drive, or literally don’t have $25 for a 240gb SSD… and then, ONLY if you’re willing to risk breaking your other install/physically disconnecting the win10 hd is the only “safe” route.

And [email protected]… philosophically opposed, but that’s never stopped me from being practical (I’m typing this on a $150 re-purposed Dell/I7 workstation). Sitting on my hands waiting for the next month or two anyhow waiting for the new amd releases before buying any “new” hardware… maybe I’ll save the graphics card for last. Appreciate the reply.

I would also like to experiment with Linux and dual boot using different SSD’s for W10 and Linux, I currently have W10 installed on an SSD and then a HDD with two partitions setup in W10. If I add a new SSD just for Linux only how can I select the boot drive other than using BIOS boot options on startup?

Oh, same here. The performance difference for gaming is not that big (5-10%), but it is a cost. I gladly pay it personally for a much more stable system though, but YMMV. :slight_smile:

More stable, you say? That might make a difference in what I pick. I spent some hours combing through the hardware/gpu section for anything relevant… in terms of performance an rx 580 is definitely overkill for me (which seems the thing to go for if you’re going to pick amd). I have other hobbies, and while building a powerful passthru sys sounds fun/challenging, I don’t think I’d make much use of it/probably will be content just playing older games already ported to linux - so amd should do it, if i’m not missing something… but maybe shouldn’t get too far into it here/hijack this thread. Thanks.

I’m not aware of an install option that doesn’t require a reboot to bios or grub (tho I sure as heck don’t know everything). You can run it in virtualbox or just boot from a live cd/flash drive… depending on how far you want to take your experiment.

I have already tested in Virtualbox and want to try a full install on a new SSD, how would I go about doing this without screwing up the existing W10 install on a seperate SSD?

As noted by others above, unplug your win10 drive (and any other drives you don’t want to confuse) - if they’re not physically connected you won’t screw them up. Install the new drive, boot to bios, check that the new drive is visible, install boot media, set boot priority to boot from said media, exit bios and install. If you’re going with a major stable/LTS distro it’s pretty self explanatory - basically use the recommendations; install the 3rd party software if you want it (probably you do); don’t encrypt the drive unless you’re sure you want to. When you’re done you can reconnect the other hard drives, and you should be able to choose which drive to boot from bios. Finally, don’t take anything I say as gospel - check out a tutorial on the web - you might even find one using your particular system (or its sibling) as an example if you search for it.