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tinpanalley

Questions on Win10 - Linux setup

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I know, I know there are a lot of these already, but I haven't found a thread that answers these questions, so I'll get to it.

 

A brief summary of what I run right now.

- Win10 which is on an SSD

- Win7 which is on another SSD (only use for hassle-free loading of older games, never goes online)

When I want to boot to either I go into BIOS settings and select which drive to boot. I don't have a more intuitive way of swapping from one to the other only because I tried using EasyBCD once and something that went wrong with it which I never understood caused me to lose the ability to load either one about a year ago and forced a full reinstall of both. I now have the two systems perfectly backed up to an image I can reinstall whenever I want, but I'm too scared of everything going to hell again like it did that time and so I haven't tried using EasyBCD again and don't know what other option there is.

 

So, my questions with regards to Linux-Windows

1. What is the thing that controls the choice of booting to Win10 or Linux be it on separate drives or on the same one?

2. In the event of a need to reinstall Windows and the two OSes are on the same drive, how does it work? Is that Windows partition just treated like its own fully separate drive? I guess you lose space on that drive because you have to share it to two OSes, right?

3. Is there any reason why all my media and documents and other files would become a problem when used on one OS and then on the other. I'm talking about things like, "oh, you used this on Linux? Sorry, that document won't load anymore on Windows" or vice versa.

4. Let's say I want to test the games I play on Linux to see if they work. Does that require REINSTALLING each game in Linux? I don't even know if that's how you do it, I know nothing about this. (And to be fair, I tend to play older WinXP, Win7 sports PC titles and adventure games from 10-15 years ago not super popular games that probably get lots of support so I'm not expecting my games to run anyway, but just out of curiosity, let's say I wanted to try.)

 

Thanks for any help. I'm just getting fed up with Microsoft and though I'm glued to Windows for certain things like video editing and certain games, I don't see why I wouldn't benefit from something more clean and intuitive like Mint for my regular PC use which is 75% of what I do.

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23 minutes ago, tinpanalley said:

1. What is the thing that controls the choice of booting to Win10 or Linux be it on separate drives or on the same one? 

That's the job of the bootloader. The Microsoft one is called BOOTMGR, and the most commonly used GNU/Linux one is called GRUB.

Both support multi-booting, but you're most likely going to have a far easier time with GRUB.

 

23 minutes ago, tinpanalley said:

2. In the event of a need to reinstall Windows and the two OSes are on the same drive, how does it work? Is that Windows partition just treated like its own fully separate drive? I guess you lose space on that drive because you have to share it to two OSes, right? 

Yes, the Windows partition will be treated as its own drive, and the GNU/Linux distro install will be treated as its own drive. HOWEVER, please be aware that the two OSes can in some cases interact with each other. For example Microsoft has at some occasions released update to Windows 10 which breaks GRUB. One example of this was the Creator's update which for seemingly no reason created a hidden partition after the first partition (thus changing the partition table on the HDD, which creates a mismatch between it and where GRUB looks for files).

 

23 minutes ago, tinpanalley said:

3. Is there any reason why all my media and documents and other files would become a problem when used on one OS and then on the other. I'm talking about things like, "oh, you used this on Linux? Sorry, that document won't load anymore on Windows" or vice versa.

Windows does not support things like ext4, which is the file system used on most GNU/Linux installs. What this means is that while you will be able to read files saves on the Windows partition while you are in GNU/Linux, the reverse (read files saved in GNU/Linux, while in Windows) will not work.

It's probably best to create a third partition on your drive and keep the stuff you want accessible on both OSes in there.

 

24 minutes ago, tinpanalley said:

4. Let's say I want to test the games I play on Linux to see if they work. Does that require REINSTALLING each game in Linux? I don't even know if that's how you do it, I know nothing about this. (And to be fair, I tend to play older WinXP, Win7 sports PC titles and adventure games from 10-15 years ago not super popular games that probably get lots of support so I'm not expecting my games to run anyway, but just out of curiosity, let's say I wanted to try.) 

It might be possible to map things, and work around it, but it will not be an easy thing to do, in some cases maybe even impossible.

You're most likely going to have to reinstall all the games in GNU/Linux if you want to run them there.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
3 hours ago, LAwLz said:

That's the job of the bootloader. The Microsoft one is called BOOTMGR, and the most commonly used GNU/Linux one is called GRUB.

Both support multi-booting, but you're most likely going to have a far easier time with GRUB. 

Why in particular will the Linux bootloader be easier than the MS one?

 

3 hours ago, LAwLz said:

For example Microsoft has at some occasions released update to Windows 10 which breaks GRUB. One example of this was the Creator's update which for seemingly no reason created a hidden partition after the first partition (thus changing the partition table on the HDD, which creates a mismatch between it and where GRUB looks for files). 

Ugh.. what a mess. Thanks again, Microsoft. Well, then maybe it's just easier to run the Linux on a different HDD altogether rather than messing with a bootloader? What size HDD would I need to run Linux alone properly before installing any software? Is it as space intensive as Windows is as an OS?

 

3 hours ago, LAwLz said:

(read files saved in GNU/Linux, while in Windows) will not work. 

I'm talking literally about productivity files, video, audio, imaging files, Firefox browser backup files, etc. Nothing else.

 

3 hours ago, LAwLz said:

You're most likely going to have to reinstall all the games in GNU/Linux if you want to run them there.

So reinstall those games to another place to try running them through Wine or whatever. Ok, but they won't run from the 2nd harddrive I already have them on that I load them from with Windows. It's THAT installation you're saying probably won't run, right?

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Posted · Original PosterOP

This is all super useful by the way, thank you all. I just don't think I have any more power outlets in my desktop so I was more intrigued by the idea of partitions. But that seems complicated. I'll dig around in my tower, but I'm certain I'm all full in there.

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On 3/12/2019 at 3:02 AM, tinpanalley said:

Why in particular will the Linux bootloader be easier than the MS one?

Because MS stuff usually doesn't play along well with things outside of Microsoft products.

If you for example try and install Ubuntu on your machine which already has Windows installed, it can neatly and nicely take that into consideration and create partitions, and link to your Windows install too.

If you do it the other way around, install Windows on a machine which already has Ubuntu on it, Windows will most likely pretend like Ubuntu isn't even there and overwrite stuff, breaking it.

 

On 3/12/2019 at 3:02 AM, tinpanalley said:

Ugh.. what a mess. Thanks again, Microsoft. Well, then maybe it's just easier to run the Linux on a different HDD altogether rather than messing with a bootloader? What size HDD would I need to run Linux alone properly before installing any software? Is it as space intensive as Windows is as an OS? 

It will have the lowest failure rate, but in general running it alongside Windows on a single machine will work.

The biggest risk is Windows updates breaking something, but that hasn't happened too many times.

How much space you need will vary from distro to distro, but in general GNU/Linux installs are much smaller than Windows. It is possible to get something like Ubuntu running on just a couple of GB of storage, but I would recommend at least 20GB. That should take care of the installation, updates, and some programs.

 

On 3/12/2019 at 3:02 AM, tinpanalley said:

I'm talking literally about productivity files, video, audio, imaging files, Firefox browser backup files, etc. Nothing else.

Again, Windows will not be able to access files saved on the GNU/Linux partition since Windows does not support the file systems GNU/Linux uses. However, GNU/Linux supports NTFS and will have no problems reading from that.

It does not matter what type of file you access. What matters is the file system used to partition the hard drive.

GNU/Linux supports basically everything under the sun.

Windows only supports a few.

 

On 3/12/2019 at 3:02 AM, tinpanalley said:

So reinstall those games to another place to try running them through Wine or whatever. Ok, but they won't run from the 2nd harddrive I already have them on that I load them from with Windows. It's THAT installation you're saying probably won't run, right?

Yes.

If you want to play a game on both Windows and GNU/Linux, you will have to install it twice. Once on Windows, and once on GNU/Linux.

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Is there a "best" way to create a Linux Mint USB flash drive to play with it for a few days?

Although I'm thinking, maybe I'll just create a partition on the Win7 SSD for this seeing as how there's plenty of space on that drive and I don't actually allow the Win7 to go online so updates, etc don't affect me in any way.

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On 3/16/2019 at 12:35 AM, tinpanalley said:

Is there a "best" way to create a Linux Mint USB flash drive to play with it for a few days?

Although I'm thinking, maybe I'll just create a partition on the Win7 SSD for this seeing as how there's plenty of space on that drive and I don't actually allow the Win7 to go online so updates, etc don't affect me in any way.

Use a program like Rufus to create a Mint installation USB, and then boot from that. It will give you the option to boot to it rather than install it.

But I would recommend Ubuntu rather than Mint. You will have an easier time finding support if needed, if you use Ubuntu.

 

Or you could try it in a VM, but that will be quite slow compared to running it on real hardware.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
15 minutes ago, LAwLz said:

Use a program like Rufus to create a Mint installation USB, and then boot from that. It will give you the option to boot to it rather than install it.

But I would recommend Ubuntu rather than Mint. You will have an easier time finding support if needed, if you use Ubuntu.

 

Or you could try it in a VM, but that will be quite slow compared to running it on real hardware.

Hmm.. I don't like a few things about Ubuntu. The look is way too Apple for me, the dock, the font, really rubs me the wrong way. Also, I'm not cool with all the Amazon integration and other data collection I've read about.
 

What I did was create a Live USB flash drive, but it doesn't seem to want to let me install to the other flash drive I have that I want to install it to. I have very fast flash drives that I wanted to run Mint on for a few days but without being able to save any settings it's kind of pointless.

 

Whether it's ubuntu or mint, what do you think about the idea of partitioning that Win7 drive I have? I literally use it to play certain games and never go online with it. There's about 200GB free on it. And what if I do partition that Win7SSD, install Linux, don't like it. Can that partition then be removed and the space reassigned to Win7?

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In the past, I have kept game saves/shared files on a seperate NTFS partition/drive for sharing between Win 7 (in my case) and Linux. So that could be a possibility.

 

PS, generally Linux does not install to a USB. You can use software to format a USB to a live distro (similar/same as the CD/DVD version). It generally only installs to HDD/SSD. I did run a bootable USB distro for a little while, but it's storage space was really restricted, and IIRC did not support updating of the distro on the USB, only adding some files to user space.

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On 3/11/2019 at 9:59 PM, tinpanalley said:

'm just getting fed up with Microsoft and though I'm glued to Windows for certain things like video editing and certain games, I don't see why I wouldn't benefit from something more clean and intuitive

Try OpenBSD.


Write in C.

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19 hours ago, tinpanalley said:

Also, I'm not cool with all the Amazon integration and other data collection I've read about.

Not personally an Ubuntu user but, the Amazon stuff was removed years ago and there is an option for whether you want data collection to be active when you are installing the distro.

4 hours ago, Dat Guy said:

Try OpenBSD.

Ignore this.  While OpenBSD (and other BSDs in general) are very good and stable systems for some purposes, if you are new to unix-like systems and interested in gaming this is not a path that you want to go down for now.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
1 hour ago, Koeshi said:

Not personally an Ubuntu user but, the Amazon stuff was removed years ago and there is an option for whether you want data collection to be active when you are installing the distro.

Ignore this.  While OpenBSD (and other BSDs in general) are very good and stable systems for some purposes, if you are new to unix-like systems and interested in gaming this is not a path that you want to go down for now.

Ok, and I imagine I can use all manner of fonts and themes and colours to change the way Ubuntu looks? Does Linux read Windows fonts?

And I've read thoroughly about BSD and whole I love the fact that it exists, I don't think I'm ready for anything quite that specialised yet. I've been a Windows and MS-DOS user for 30 years now since childhood. Baby steps. 😁

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Posted · Original PosterOP
21 hours ago, TechyBen said:

PS, generally Linux does not install to a USB. You can use software to format a USB to a live distro (similar/same as the CD/DVD version). It generally only installs to HDD/SSD. I did run a bootable USB distro for a little while, but it's storage space was really restricted, and IIRC did not support updating of the distro on the USB, only adding some files to user space.

Oh really? I was told you could do that so that it could be portable and to try the full install without getting a new hdd. I think my best bet is partitioning that Win7 ssd I have but what Is want to know is if I can 'unpartition' it and give that space back to Win7 if I don't like it?

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You can use live USBs and even install to USB, but you will be bottlenecked by the device in comparison to using something on a SATA connection.  As for the partitioning, Windows is perfectly capable of seeing non-Windows partitions, MS just likes to pretend otherwise to prevent compatibility.  If you decide you want to get rid of the Linux partition you can use Windows partition manager to delete the Linux partition and then extend the Windows partition back across what will now be "free space".

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