Question

Will upgrading to Win 10 64-bit wipe out my Linux partition?

Dec 31, 2019 2:04PM PST

I've had a good experience dual booting Win 7 and Mint, but now I'm biting the bullet and upgrading the home PC. First hardware - the existing motherboard, CPU, and RAM are eight years old. Then Windows - Win 7 32-bit has been running great for almost the same period.

When I upgrade Windows, I'll finally enter the 64-bit Windows world (better late than never). I know this will involve a lot of reinstalling the programs I use so being retired will give me the extra time to do it all. About three months ago I installed my Linux Mint 64-bit on a bootable partition. My question: When I scratch install Win 10, will it wipe out the entire hard drive, including the Linux partition, or will it only wipe out the NTFS partition? Mint runs great and I want a heads-up on the process to be prepared

Thanks.
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Answer
The partition may be fine. But.
Dec 31, 2019 2:18PM PST

1. Linux usually uses more than one partition so any Windows installer change may break other OSes. But the partitions for Linux do seem to survive, just no boot to Linux.
2. Microsoft always seems to replace the boot loader and more so my bet is the partitions will survive but your Linux installation will now fail to boot.
3. This is why you would make a clone of your working system and then test it on the clone copy. Any other method is the old "high wire act without a net." It can end badly.

4. Microsoft's installer will touch and later more than the NTFS partition. The Linux or non-FAT and non-NTFS partitions seem to survive. That does not mean the partitions that survived will boot and run Mint any longer.

Example priors: https://www.google.com/search?q=repair+mint+after+Windows+10+install+site:forums.linuxmint.com

Post was last edited on December 31, 2019 2:19 PM PST

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I may have a fix for this
Dec 31, 2019 3:59PM PST

That's a good point about the partition surviving but not bootable.

I use Acronis to clone my drive every week to avoid an abject disaster (once bitten, twice shy) and, when I start the clone operation, it tells me how to copy the loader from the installation disc. The ones it mentions are ASP and LILO, and it says there may be others. I'll have to investigate this.

If I'm in luck, because I haven't been down this road before, I can boot from the Mint DVD and find something similar to a repair operation. If nothing else works, I can always reinstall Linux, which will be a royal pain. I don't use it a lot but it's great to have when I want it.
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there could be issues
Dec 31, 2019 5:38PM PST

It is usually better to install windows first then install linux. since win10 was released, I installed both ways, linux first on one computer and windows first on another. It will work either way but it is a messier install when linux is already installed.

However, from my experience, when I was dual booting linux with win10 I found that every once in a while a windows update would kill the linux boot. sometimes was able to fix the bootloader and sometimes required a reinstall or at least it was easier to reinstall. I got tired of fixing it so I finally quit dual booting and kept linux.

the point is, no matter what you do, it could get messy. I did put win10 on an older computer in case it is needed but for the last couple of years, I have only used the win 10 computer was to get the latest updates. It is really not needed anymore for my use.

Post was last edited on December 31, 2019 5:48 PM PST

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Answer
I have to wonder
Dec 31, 2019 6:03PM PST

why someone would dual boot today ?
With today's Linux we can simply make a persistent flash drive and run off of it .
The days of worrying about partitions being fumbled are gone.
It's 2020 , join the rest of the world.....

Post was last edited on December 31, 2019 6:31 PM PST

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Because ...
Dec 31, 2019 6:50PM PST

Because I want to make the process easy for myself and the Bride, and hunting down a flash drive in a desk drawer full of accumulated stuff is a bit of a bother. If you could see my desk drawers, you'd understand. Besides, I want the mental exercise. Wink
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Been there done that
Dec 31, 2019 7:45PM PST

IMNSHO ,it's not worth the effort unless you just like to play and fix stuff every time you go to the new release of whatever distro you run.

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I did it this way
Jan 15, 2020 1:34PM PST

I ran into problems trying to retain the Linux partition on the drive when installing Windows so I deleted Linux, installed Windows, then reinstalled Linux. The GRUB worked right and I modified the menu to make the last loaded system the next to load. Since I didn't do much in Linux, I didn't lose anything significant. Everything is working great.

Thanks to all who made suggestions and offered opinions.
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actually
Dec 31, 2019 7:20PM PST

there are still some things windows does better than linux and sometimes those features are needed.

Post was last edited on December 31, 2019 7:22 PM PST

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Answer
Multiple installations work; you do need to fix boot loader
Jan 15, 2020 10:56AM PST

In the past as a systems administrator of multiple systems, including both Windows and Linux, I can say this:

1) Administrators sometimes have multiple versions of Windows, sometimes even on the same computer. They may have multiple disks, but somewhere in the infrastructure, there are ways to get, and boot, multiple operating systems, so from that perspective, the answer is yes. Digging deeper, it is not always easy, automatic, or standard.

2) Most systems that knowingly allow the use of multiple operating systems, (Linux and other) generally recommend compressing, compacting, and cleaning the disk organization before installing other software. In Windows, there are commands to make sure that instead of spreading the OS across an entire disk, you can run commands to make the Windows software fit into specific parts of the disk, and even from Windows, you can create other disk regions or partitions.

If you then install, or reinstall a Linux system in one of those other partitions, you can boot either of the systems. Recent bootloaders from Windows, believe it or not, can also handle "foreign" operating systems, but they may not be "identified" in a "friendly", easy to decipher manner. It's much easier to boot either from a Linux bootloader or from a vendor neutral bootloader that claims to be able to boot multiple systems.

The Website https://www.thefreecountry.com/utilities/multi-boot-managers.shtml has information about several bootloaders and boot managers. It may not mention every possible option, but it offers several, including the GNU GRUB boot loader used by most Linux distributions.

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