1.    28 Dec 2016 #1
    Join Date : Dec 2016
    Michigan
    Posts : 20
    Windows 10 64 bit Pro

    Safely dual booting linux without corrupting Win. bootloader? (UEFI)


    So for the last 4 years I have played with linux installs on and off. But something I ALWAYS encounter, is when I eventually get tired of linux (from not being able to play my games), during the removal process I always screw up my bootloader then struggle to fix it. Is there something I can do prior to this that will help?

    I'm only interested in UEFI mode anymore since if I use windows it is w10.

    If I create a system image of that drive with windows, could I just do windows recovery and get back that drive erasing whatever was on it prior? Would this also set the windows bootloader as the primary?

    For example , I want to play with VFIO. First, I want to preserve my virgin windows 10 install on my ssd via a system image. Then I want to wipe it and install ubuntu and then create a VM within Ubuntu running w10. If this all goes south could I wipe the ssd and use the system image to revert back to where I started?




      My ComputerSystem Spec
  2.    28 Dec 2016 #2
    Join Date : Jul 2015
    Posts : 9,626
    Windows 10 Pro

    We recommend Macrium Reflect Free and creating a Macrium Reflect rescue drive:
    Macrium Reflect Free

    It will let you make a backup image of your SSD, and you can restore the entire SSD from the image, or just a damaged EFI System partition. Also when you boot from the Macrium Rescue drive, under the restore menu will be a utility to Fix Windows startup problems which is very good at repairing the EFI System partition and BCD.
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  3.    28 Dec 2016 #3
    Join Date : Dec 2016
    Michigan
    Posts : 20
    Windows 10 64 bit Pro
    Thread Starter

    Quote Originally Posted by NavyLCDR View Post
    We recommend Macrium Reflect Free and creating a Macrium Reflect rescue drive:
    Macrium Reflect Free

    It will let you make a backup image of your SSD, and you can restore the entire SSD from the image, or just a damaged EFI System partition. Also when you boot from the Macrium Rescue drive, under the restore menu will be a utility to Fix Windows startup problems which is very good at repairing the EFI System partition and BCD.

    thank you so much. I have the understanding that EFI bootloaders are stored on the a physical drive, so in this case, the ssd.

    So if there were other EFI bootloaders present from messing around with linux, would a disk format prior to the disk recovery remove those other bootloaders? Or could I simply do the recovery and have the system image overwrite everything?
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  4.    28 Dec 2016 #4
    Join Date : Jul 2015
    Posts : 9,626
    Windows 10 Pro

    When you restore a partition to the drive you typically delete the old partition so the new partition is restored to unallocated space. There should be only 1 EFI System partition per physical drive and you pick which physical drive to boot from by setting the boot order in UEFI firmware settings, or entering the boot override mode in UEFI.

    I don't know if it is possible to have more than one EFI System partition on a physical drive and if it is possible, I am not sure what the consequences are.

    But, to answer your question, deleting all the partitions on the physical drive (SSD or HDD) and restoring the entire previous image should fix anything software related.
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  5.    28 Dec 2016 #5
    Join Date : Dec 2016
    Michigan
    Posts : 20
    Windows 10 64 bit Pro
    Thread Starter

    I see, thank you. The reason I ask is because of this mess That I'm currently trying to resolve.
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  6.    28 Dec 2016 #6
    Join Date : Mar 2015
    Philadelphia
    Posts : 1,174
    Windows 10 Pro x64

    As a suggestion, stop messing with dual-booting. This is a prime example of when virtualization is a much better option. Linux runs great in a VM and the entire setup costs nothing. Given the hardware available today, there's very little reason to consider multi-booting.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  7.    28 Dec 2016 #7
    Join Date : Dec 2016
    Michigan
    Posts : 20
    Windows 10 64 bit Pro
    Thread Starter

    Yep. The only reason I dual booted this time was to tinker with VFIO passthrough on a separate drive, thinking it would leave my main OS and bootloader untouched. I was wrong lol. But If I mess with linux again, it will be on bare metal and w10 will be the VM. i actually like linux much better, but unfortunately, 90% of the games I play only run on windows.

    VFIO passthrough seemed kind of daunting, not sure when I will mess with that. I might do it once I make a system image of my w10 OS on my ssd as a safety net.

    But yes, I'm done with dual booting after this.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

 


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