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Windows and Linux

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
So I know I could just dual boot but I'm curious... Can I install Windows 10 on a drive and install a flavor of Linux on another then unplug the drive I'm not using and plug in the drive I want to use without causing another issue? Obviously not hotswap but power down swap drives then power up. I know its silly but just curious. thanks
post #2 of 5
You can do what you describe to install the two. They can't see the other drive because it's not there, so they can't touch the other's boot loader and can't break anything over there.

Then afterwards, after you are done installing both onto their own drives, you can leave both drives connected. You can switch between the two by hitting your board's BIOS boot menu hot-key (like F11 or F12 or something).

Also, about that "disconnect" and "connect" action, you don't have to do it physically if you don't want to. You can "disconnect" individual SATA ports in the BIOS setup screens somewhere and can leave the actual cables connected to the drives and keep the case closed.

And about UEFI nowadays (as opposed to BIOS), on my stuff here things still work like described, meaning there's a boot menu hotkey from the board, etc.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by deepor View Post

You can do what you describe to install the two. They can't see the other drive because it's not there, so they can't touch the other's boot loader and can't break anything over there.

Then afterwards, after you are done installing both onto their own drives, you can leave both drives connected. You can switch between the two by hitting your board's BIOS boot menu hot-key (like F11 or F12 or something).

Also, about that "disconnect" and "connect" action, you don't have to do it physically if you don't want to. You can "disconnect" individual SATA ports in the BIOS setup screens somewhere and can leave the actual cables connected to the drives and keep the case closed.

And about UEFI nowadays (as opposed to BIOS), on my stuff here things still work like described, meaning there's a boot menu hotkey from the board, etc.

Awesome, great answer. Thanks!
post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by kgtuning View Post

Can I install Windows 10 on a drive and install a flavor of Linux on another then unplug the drive I'm not using and plug in the drive I want to use
Well, yes and no.

If you stop and think about it, when you install any OS there has to be a way for the computer to find the files it needs for booting and running that OS.

Back in the days when computers were being invented it was decided that all computers would always load a tiny snipit of code from the first sector of the first drive (drive 0, also called the Boot Drive) into their memory and then execute that code right after post (Power On Self Test - a hardware check). That code tells the computer where the boot loader is located and then the computer loads and runs the boot loader. The boot loader tells the computer where the files are that it needs for starting the OS. The OS files can be on any drive, any partition - just so long as the boot loader points to them.

So, when you say "install Windows 10 on a drive" what you are doing is putting the Windows 10 windows folder (and associated folders like Documents And Settings, Program Files, etc), on that drive, be it Drive 0, Drive 1, Drive 10, whatever. Drive 0 still gets the code that tells the computer where you decided to put those folders when you ran the Windows Install program.

Now back to your original question:
If you remove Drive 0 from the computer it will not boot - because it won't be able to find the boot loader. You get the "OS Not Found" error.

When you set up multi-booting the boot loader has to be modified to point to all of the folders that contain OS files and to pop up a screen that lets you choose which OS folder to use (ie, which OS you want to run). So, in the scenario you propose if the Windows folder is on Drive 0 and the Linux folder is on Drive 1 and you remove Drive 0 - No boot. If you remove Drive 1 (the"Linux drive") and choose Windows from the boot loader screen Windows will still boot, but you'll get the "OS not Found: error if you choose Linux from the boot loader choice screen.

I know what you're thinking now!
If I install Windows to Drive 0 and then remove that drive and then install Linux to another drive (that would now be the new Drive 0) I can boot either OS by just removing the drive with the OS I don't want to run.. That's true, but you'd have to be plugging and unplugging drives to make it work. You could just change the boot order in the BIOS in order to switch which OS you want to run (the boot loaders on the two Drive 0s would be different). There are a lot of other messy issues with doing it those ways that in my opinion make it not worthwhile to do, but it can be done. There's just no reason to do it.. Having a Drive 0 with a proper boot loader is the right way to multi-boot.

Keep in mind that the Windows boot loader can not load Linux . You need a third party boot loader to run them both. 
 
 
Edited by billbartuska - 7/18/16 at 1:31am
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My System
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
FX6300 Black M5A99X EVO R2.0 Nvidia GTS450 Team Vulcan PC3 12800 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Samsung 840 PRO Asus DRW-1608P (x2) Custom Water Cooling Win7 (Ult), Win 8.1 & Win Server 2012 R2 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
2 X Samsung 915N Ducky Shine III, Blue Cherry/Blue LEDs PCP&C 1kw Lian Li PC-71 (W/Window) 
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post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Honestly I don't want to dual boot but was more curious then anything. I just have an extra SSD that I thought might be fun to tinker with. I ran Arch Linux on both my machines for 6 months but went back in Windows. I still use Fedora on a live usb from time to time too. just thinking out loud. thanks for the input guys.
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