SolydX dual boot: Windows 10 on legacy MBR with hdd drive for /home in GPT format.

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SolydX dual boot: Windows 10 on legacy MBR with hdd drive for /home in GPT format.

Postby Tuna130 » 28 Oct 2019 22:17

I bought a refurbished pc with an SSD that has Windows 10 Professional pre-installed, and wished to install SolydX to dual boot. I had added my old internal hard drive to the system as a secondary SATA drive. The system drive with Windows is MBR partitioned, but my old ‘/home’ folder is on a hdd which is GPT partitioned. The SolydX installer sets up boot via UEFI, but fails to add Windows to the Grub startup menu, because the Windows drive has no efi boot folder.

If Windows is not registered yet, wait till after this procedure, and register once everything is set up correctly.

1. Boot Windows and check drive for errors in, My PC, drive C, Properties, Tools. Also run defragmenter. Then use Disk Management as administrator to shrink the NTFS partition. 15GB For SolydX is enough, if you put your /home files elsewhere. Leave empty space unallocated for now.

2. Have Windows make the EFI boot files.
From command line as administrator:

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bcdboot C:\Windows /s C: /f ALL /addlast
Check if C:\EFI\Microsoft\Boot\bootmgfw.efi was created.

3. Disable Fast Boot in Bios. Disable Secure Boot in Bios to run the usb live installer.
In my case this was not available in Bios. I had to boot Windows first, go the the manufacturers website and find the Bios update software. OK after the update.

4. Install SolydX with live usb installer. During the installation process you will get to a screen where the mount points are assigned. The newly made partition on the windows drive, probably sda3, should be assigned to the linux file system (“/”) and formatted ext4. Check the box for GRUB installation for this drive (sda in my case). The /home partition is assigned to the old hdd (in my case sdb1), and should NOT be formatted. Next I needed a swap partition and a small boot partition. Click on edit partitions and GParted will open. Make a swap partition at the end of the hdd (not on the SSD). I choose a big 32GB, and this went fairly quick. The boot partition should be at the start of the drive, and it needs minimal 100 MB FAT32 for mount point /boot/efi. Gparted took almost four hours to move my data to the right, so plan for a break. The installation should end successfully and SolydX should boot normal.

5. Add Windows 10 manually to the GRUB bootloader menu. Boot SolydX and open a terminal.
First, we need the UUID number of the Windows partition, by typing

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sudo blkid 
Copy the long number of the correct partition (probably sda2, and most likely the second ntfs partition). Then edit GRUB:

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 sudo mousepad /etc/grub.d/40_custom
and add this to the end of the file:

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menuentry "Windows 10" --class windows --class os {
    insmod part_msdos
    insmod ntfs
    insmod search_fs_uuid
    insmod chain

    set root='hd0,msdos2'
    if [ x$feature_platform_search_hint = xy ]; then
      search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root --hint-bios=hd0,msdos2 --hint-efi=hd0,msdos2 --hint-baremetal=ahci0,msdos2  XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
      search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    chainloader /EFI/Microsoft/Boot/bootmgfw.efi
Paste UUID where is says XX...X. Beware that in above text msdos2 refers to the second partition (for me sda2), and that may be different on another system. Then run:

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sudo update-grub
If it works fine, now is the time to register your Windows license. Just for the occasional game or so, cause SoldydX offers all you need for daily use.

A different way to solve this issue would be to convert the legacy MBR partition to GPT first, but I did not find an easy way to do that.

I hope this may help someone else, good luck!

Sources: ... techref-di ... e-via-grub

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Arjen Balfoort
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Posts: 9478
Joined: 26 Jan 2013 19:36
Location: Netherlands

Re: SolydX dual boot: Windows 10 on legacy MBR with hdd drive for /home in GPT format.

Postby Arjen Balfoort » 29 Oct 2019 08:27

Wow, that was a lot of work!

Thanks for sharing. :D

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