Need Advice Which Linux Distro is the best for dual boot

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Gandalf_The_Grey

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Which Ubuntu varient is good? GNome or Mate? Which have near windows experience like linux mint ?
I would try Kubuntu (with the KDE Plasma desktop):
 

BoraMurdar

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Based on your hardware specs I would go with either Lubuntu or Linux Mint (Cinnamon or even Mint Debian edition).
You shouldn't worry too much about dual boot as long as you put the bootloader on the same phisical disk as your Windows installation.
 

anirbandutta01

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Thanks 👍🏿
I would try Kubuntu (with the KDE Plasma desktop):
 

wat0114

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MX-21 is not ideal for dual-booting with Windows because it doesn't support secure boot. But I like the distro immensely, and since I refuse to disable secure boot, I get around it with a somewhat unorthodox method that some people might not favor, but it's easy to use and adds only a few more seconds of manual user input to the boot sequence when booting into MX-21.

I have a recent snapshot .iso of MX-21 burned to a USB stick using MX Live USB maker. When I want to boot into Linux, which resides on the same hdd as Windows 11, but with its own partitions for root, home and swap, I simply first plug in the usb drive, tap F12 key when powering on laptop, then follow the next steps utilizing the grub rescue method:

grub01.jpggrub02.jpggrub03.jpggrub04.jpggrub05.jpggrub06.jpg

You just have to know where the grub menu is located. On my setup it's on hd1,6 as seen in the fourth screen shot. As an added bunus, if something goes wrong with the Linux environment installed on my laptop's hdd, I can simply boot to the USB drive and quickly re-install it from the live environment and return to the state the snapshot installed on the USB was taken.

I'm not sure, but I believe there are other Debian-based distros that include the boot rescue menus feature as well.
 

Raiden

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You've been given some good options. I would stick with a debian/Ubuntu based disto if you are fairly new to Linux. Debian/Ubuntu based distros (ie Kubuntu) have large commnities and therefore more info available to help you along the way.
Yes planning to install Linux on HDD.
Having a separate drive is typically the best approrach. You can use the same drive, but have a seprate partition, but sometimes issues can occur with that setup.
You shouldn't worry too much about dual boot as long as you put the bootloader on the same phisical disk as your Windows installation.
I depends in my experience. For example, on my gaming rig I dual boot Windows and Fedora. Both are on separate drives as are their respective bootloaders. I installed Windows first on one drive, then installed Fedora on the second drive. The grub menu saw my Windows drive and automatically added it to the grub menu...which was quite nice. When my system boots the GRUB menu appears and I can select whichever OS I want to use. I should also mention that I have disabled secure boot, so that may have played a factor as well.

The only caveat that one needs to pay attention to if they were to install both Linux and Windows and/or having the bootloader on the same drive is that Windows sometimes will do Windows things and override the Linux bootloader when it is doing a major upgrade (ie: uprgading to 22h2). It doesn't always happen, but the chance is still there. It's why most people will recommend using separate drives if possible as Windows won't be able to easily override the Linux bootloader if it decides to...

Thanks @Gandalf, I will take a look at that soon as I can. Is Ubuntu the better distro for a noob to start out with?

C.H.
Debian/Ubuntu based distros are typically a good placed to start (ie Kubunut, Ubuntu, Pop!_OS, Linux Mint) has they have the largest user base and comminites to help with issues/troubleshooting if you need it. That being said, sometimes it also depends on your hardware. In your case you will be fine either way as it's a older laptop, thus should be very well supported. If you happened to have a newer computer for example, then it may be a little different.

With Linux all the hardware drivers are built into the kernel, which is nice since you do not have to install drivers like you do on Windows. This greatly simplifies setup post install. There are some outliers (ie Nvidia drivers are not included in the kernel), but that is usually not the norm. Newer hardware support is always added, but only gets added into newer kernel versions. Debian/Ubuntu based distros typically only have major updates every 6 months and that typically includes major kernel updates. Because of this, more recent hardware support may be spotty at best. These distros will eventually get the newer kernels, but it may not be for another 6 months. In these cases I would typcially recommend a more rolling release-ish distro such as Fedora, as they get newer kernel updates all the time. Fedora does releases every 6 months as well, but newer kernels are always updated regardless which makes it a better distro (IMHO) if you like to run newer hardware.
 
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BoraMurdar

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@Raiden
My experience tells otherwise, but again there are multiple combinations.
I think you can install other OSes wherever you like but keeping bootloaders on the same phisical disk is essential. I always go with parameters like
mount point to /boot/efi. Crucial I think!
usual ext4 formatted partitions, / (root), /boot, and /home.
And the Swap at last.

Modern machines should use one EFI partition to store the bootloader (usualy GRUB) read by BIOS then ROM. I ve experimented in the past with keeping secure boot ON and the only way to keep two or multiple OSes, that will not mess each other, is to put bootloder on the same physical disk and each OS installed will only update (add a new chainload entry) to existing one. Even Windows with major upgrade will not touch its EFI partition.
On the other hand, while upgrading, Windows can mess the chain reaction of bootloaders if they are placed on different physical drives as it searches to make only one primary/active partition and EFI partition with deep hidden attribute. If it finds multiple ones on all attached but fixed media, it will try to find a physical disk that contains MSR partition (for no actual logical reason, but it does), and ignore other chainloading processes that comes from other media.
Windows Reset option is another thing. I think it will try to reset EFI partition as well.
Even if that happens BOOTICE or EasyBCD can manage to fix the boot problems, but it is unnecessary effort.
 

Orchid

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Jan 27, 2023
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Your specs should work on any Linux Distribution. If you are a new Linux user, I highly recommend Linux Mint. Linux Mint was the first ever Linux Distribution I tried when dual-booting and switching over from Windows, as Linux Mint looks similar to the old days of Windows (Windows XP and Windows 7). However, I want to mention Linux Mint does not support Microsoft Secure Boot. For dual-booting or installing a clean installation of Linux, disable Secure Boot.

If you don't mind taking risks and enjoying all that Linux Mint offers, this is the guide I recommend for anyone deciding to use Linux Mint on their computer. @anirbandutta01, don't be afraid to ask for help.

References
[TUTORIAL] Installing Mint on a Windows 8/8.1/10 Computer
Linux Mint Homepage
 

Malleable

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Mar 2, 2021
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Thanks @Gandalf, I will take a look at that soon as I can. Is Ubuntu the better distro for a noob to start out with?

C.H.
tldr: consider documentation

One of the reasons I personally chose headless Ubuntu (Server LTS) back in the days with no prior Linux experience is Ubuntu is very well documented. It is also fast to introduce new features which some consider a detriment from a stability standpoint but with our small employee base, allowing me the capacity to stay on top of things, I didn't. I am a few years not current on this however. As well as the Ubuntu forums the major hosting entities were a great source (probably better) of learning info once I sorted them out through trial and error and found who's info I always deemed reliable. At that time most offered how-tos in all the major Linux flavors for tasks such as installing and configuring OpenVpn, creating Samba shares, increasing security, and so forth. At the time (in my experience) I found DigitalOcean, Linode, Linuxize, Tecmint, LinuxBabe, LinuxHint and TecAdmin to be good sources of information with the first two being my go-tos in order and the following interchangeable.
 

anirbandutta01

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Your specs should work on any Linux Distribution. If you are a new Linux user, I highly recommend Linux Mint. Linux Mint was the first ever Linux Distribution I tried when dual-booting and switching over from Windows, as Linux Mint looks similar to the old days of Windows (Windows XP and Windows 7). However, I want to mention Linux Mint does not support Microsoft Secure Boot. For dual-booting or installing a clean installation of Linux, disable Secure Boot.

If you don't mind taking risks and enjoying all that Linux Mint offers, this is the guide I recommend for anyone deciding to use Linux Mint on their computer. @anirbandutta01, don't be afraid to ask for help.

References
[TUTORIAL] Installing Mint on a Windows 8/8.1/10 Computer
Linux Mint Homepage
Any easy tutorial ? Also I don't have UEFI motherboard, it's MBR type partiton.
 

SerialCart

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I also recommend Ubuntu family however, I personally do not like Ubuntu itself because of the decisions which Canonical is making.

I would recommend POP_OS from System76 and ZorinOS.

ZorinOS is more focusing on stability and has the nicest (IMO) customized Gnome interface.

With both I am using Wayland as my graphics card is Radeon and I am more than happy with them.

As @Gandalf_The_Grey mentioned before, Ubunto has one of the strongest communities and also one of the best hardware support.
 

piquiteco

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Oct 16, 2022
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@anirbandutta01 +1 I appreciate this kind of post that was waiting for some time dual boot with windows and linux. I don't know what awaits after 2025, by then everything can change, so I'll install Linux to get used to it. Does anyone know if there are any Linux distributions that install without disabling Secure Boot? Thanks! (y)
 

piquiteco

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Oct 16, 2022
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@Raiden
My experience tells otherwise, but again there are multiple combinations.
I think you can install other OSes wherever you like but keeping bootloaders on the same phisical disk is essential. I always go with parameters like
mount point to /boot/efi. Crucial I think!
usual ext4 formatted partitions, / (root), /boot, and /home.
And the Swap at last.
Taking advantage of the gain and your experience, linux mint XFCE tends to be light compared to other versions of linux mint, what do you tell me about Linux Mint Debian Edition? Thanks!
 
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Mathew_200

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Sep 27, 2022
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When it comes to dual-booting with Linux, any of the Linux distributions you listed (Linux Mint Cinnamon, Ubuntu GNOME, and Fedora KDE Plasma) can work well. However, Ubuntu GNOME and Linux Mint Cinnamon are generally considered to be more user-friendly and beginner-friendly than Fedora KDE Plasma. Ubuntu is particularly popular and well-supported, making it a good choice for beginners.

As for installation, you can install Linux alongside Windows without harming your SSD. In fact, dual-booting is a safe way to try out a new operating system without losing your existing data or programs. To install Linux alongside Windows, you'll need to create a bootable USB or DVD drive with your chosen Linux distribution. You can then boot your computer from the USB or DVD and follow the installation wizard to install Linux alongside Windows.

When it comes to partitioning your drive, you can allocate a portion of your SSD to the Linux partition, as long as there is enough free space available. In general, you should allocate at least 20-30 GB for the Linux partition, although more may be necessary depending on your needs.

Here are some general steps to guide you through the installation process:

Back up your important data before you begin the installation process.
Create a bootable USB or DVD drive with your chosen Linux distribution.
Boot your computer from the USB or DVD drive.
Follow the installation wizard and select "Install alongside Windows" when prompted to choose an installation option.
Allocate disk space to the Linux partition. In general, you should allocate at least 20-30 GB for the Linux partition.
Choose your installation preferences, such as your time zone and keyboard layout.
Create a username and password for your Linux account.
Complete the installation process and reboot your computer.
Choose the operating system you want to use at startup (usually by pressing a key such as F12 or ESC).
You're done! You can now use both Windows and Linux on your computer.
Remember to consult the documentation and support resources for your chosen Linux distribution for detailed instructions on the installation process. Good luck and have fun exploring Linux!
 

Zero Knowledge

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I would advise against Arch or Gentoo until your familiar with Linux. Get used to the system and its capabilities first with a distro with a good GUI.

I recommend MATE, GNOME or Cinnamon flavour then lastly KDE. It doesn't matter if it's Mint, Ubuntu or Debian. Just choose which one is best for you!
 

Raiden

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@Raiden
My experience tells otherwise, but again there are multiple combinations.
I think you can install other OSes wherever you like but keeping bootloaders on the same phisical disk is essential. I always go with parameters like
mount point to /boot/efi. Crucial I think!
usual ext4 formatted partitions, / (root), /boot, and /home.
And the Swap at last.
That is very true!

I had to go double check my system incase Fedora just did that automatically for me and I didn't realize it hehe, but yes in my case the boot efi's are on separate disks...so far so good knock on wood.:D I do agree though that your approach is the correct one.
@anirbandutta01 +1 I appreciate this kind of post that was waiting for some time dual boot with windows and linux. I don't know what awaits after 2025, by then everything can change, so I'll install Linux to get used to it. Does anyone know if there are any Linux distributions that install without disabling Secure Boot? Thanks! (y)
To be very honest Linux has come a long ways and continues to improve each year. While it still may not be on par with Windows in-terms of the overall software availability, in most cases unless you are running very specific software you can probably get by with another version on Linux. Heck even using the online version of Office is a great alternative if you need Office, but don't need every bell and whistle that comes with the desktop version of Office.

Even gaming has come a long ways where the vast majority of games work very well, including newer AAA titles thanks in large part from Valve. There are still some instances where some games do not work, but it's getting less and less IMHO. For example I dual boot on my gaming rig just incase there is a game I want to play, but doesn't work on Linux. In the last year and a half ever since I set it up this way, I only boot into Windows just to keep it up to date...I don't actually use it to game, all my gaming is done on Linux.

In terms of secure boot, I know Fedora works fine with secure boot. I think any distro with SystemD boot works fine as well (ie: Pop!_OS, Arch, EndeavourOS (based off Arch). I haven't tried Ubuntu with secure boot but it may work as well. You would just have to do some researching just to be sure. I think it use to be a bigger problem than it is now, but I think it's starting to become less of a problem as time goes on.
I would advise against Arch or Gentoo until your familiar with Linux. Get used to the system and its capabilities first with a distro with a good GUI.

I recommend MATE, GNOME or Cinnamon flavour then lastly KDE. It doesn't matter if it's Mint, Ubuntu or Debian. Just choose which one is best for you!
Same here,

While I Love Arch and installed it myself (it's actually even easier now thanks to the built-in install script), I think it still would be very daunting and probably drive you crazy to the point you may avoid Linux entirely. Unless you really want to challenge yourself, I think the best approach would be to start with a well established distro such as Ubuntu just to get familiar with how Linux works and what the terms mean. From there you can try out other distros including Arch.

Arch does have really good guides and stuff via the Arch wiki...the problem though is it's very much written at a level where they assume you already know the terminology and how to get around. For someone new who has never tried Linux, trying to make sense of it would be trying to learn a new language entirely.
 

Captain Holly

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How to Install Ubuntu Alongside Windows 10

Thanks @Gandalf for the link. @tipo, I think the video you put here will be really helpful for me, thanks very much.

I started trying Linux out yesterday during breaks at work, I decided to use Mint Cinnamon because 1. I read that it is easy for a noob to use and 2. it is a good distro to use for listening to music, has a lot of options and apps for playing and managing a music library. I followed the itsfoss tutorial and got Cinnamon installed on my old Lenovo laptop. I played around with it a bit during the day and was just amazed at the options it has and found it pretty easy to use, even though I had never seen the distro before. I really liked it and would like to use it. The music and online radio capabilities are very important to me. I also like very much that the default browser is Firefox.

However.......I could not get the dual boot/grub menu to work right. When I shut down and then started the laptop again later the dual boot just was not there and Windows 10 was the only OS that would run. Linux was nowhere to be found. I tried to fix it for several hours tonight and never could get it to work. I know I messed up the partitions and also messed up the usb formatting when I kept trying to configure the usb. I never could get Rufus to work either. That first time I got Linux to work I used the Universal tool from the itsfoss video, it was the only one I could get to work correctly. I also keep getting an error from the laptop that it doesn't have a USB boot option, which is also probably due to some mistake I made with the process.

I know I screwed the whole process up but I also know I had it working yesterday so I should be able to get it working again. I really did like the OS. It's totally different from Windows and I really did like how it worked, for the hour or so I had it working anyway. I am going to keep working on this till I get it corrected and working again. The laptop I am using for my Linux project is not my daily driver so if I screw it up again I can reset and start over. I made a Windows 10 recovery usb and also set a restore point before I started this project so I could get back to square one if anything went wrong. The laptop is on my work desk right now rolling back to Monday's restore point.

I want this Linux thing to work. If I had not been so impressed with Linux yesterday I would not be so determined but I really do like the OS and want to use and learn it a lot better. I appreciate any help or tips anyone here might have.

Thanks,

C.H.
 

Orchid

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Jan 27, 2023
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Any easy tutorial ? Also I don't have UEFI motherboard, it's MBR type partiton.

@anirbandutta01, having an MBR-type partition will make installing any Linux Distribution on your computer easier. Nowadays, more computers/laptops are shipping with UEFI. Some computer manufacturers may not allow you to disable Secure Boot. Anyway, for an easy tutorial for dual-booting Windows 10 & Linux Mint, I use this tutorial from itsfoss.com. This installation guide breaks down (step-by-step) instructions on how to dual-boot and install Linux Mint. I will mention you don't have to set up the partition beforehand. When installing Linux Mint, there is an option where Linux Mint does the partitioning for you when selecting Install Linux Mint alongside Windows 10. However, if you want a separate home partition (/home), manually partitioning your hard drive for Linux Mint might be best. However, that is for you to decide. This tutorial discusses both options. If you are a visual learner, ItsFOSS provides step-by-step instructions in a video.

References
How To Dual Boot Linux Mint And Windows 10 [Beginner's Guide]
How to Install Linux Mint with Windows 10 | Dual Boot Linux and Windows [Easy Way]

*Note* The video is from 2017, and they discuss installing Linux Mint 19. However, the same tutorial/video is for any version of Linux Mint you dual-boot/install.
 

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