[SOLVED] Dual Boot 2 Linux Distro's

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jeffk969
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[SOLVED] Dual Boot 2 Linux Distro's

Post by jeffk969 »

Hello Everyone,
As someone who solely uses Linux (Left Windows just over year ago) and am currently using Linux Mint 19 (Cinnamon) I am finding it
extremely hard to find tutorials/videos/guides for someone who wants to Dual Boot 2 Linux Distro's. Seems like 97% of what I have found
over the last few months deals with dual booting along side windows.
I would like to also use Zorin, but want to keep Mint as my main desktop. I would like to try other distro's, replacing the 2nd distro over
time and having new experiences, but never want to not have Mint as my Main OS. I have found different post, videos and have attempted
to dual boot, with some bad experiences and no luck. At this time I'd like to mention the importance of backing up and having a readily available
copy of Boot Repair Disk (which is truly a life saver, saved my tush).
My most recent attempt was following this guide: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/BootPartition. No luck.
I get root errors, bad disk issues (which I just put a new hard drive in my pc so that cant be the case, had the same issues with older HD).
I have searched these forums, tutorials. Does anyone know of a guide in which one can prepare their partitions correctly, and have step by
step instructions to dual boot 2 Linux Distro's using Mint as the main? And no mention of windows would be awesome....

Thanks for your time. They don't call us noob's for no reason...ha
Jeff
Last edited by jeffk969 on Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Dual Boot 2 Linux Distro's

Post by frosh »

Hey,

for what it's worth I'm thinking about dual booting Mint and Arch and found this tutorial quite informative. I'm guessing Ubuntu's installation process isn't too different from LInux Mint and while Arch might look confusing if you've never done it before you have complete control over the every step and learn what's going on in a graphical installer, so maybe you can use the tutorial as a guide for your dual boot anyway even if you have your eye on other distros. It looks a little more conclusive than the guide you referred to imho :wink:
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Re: Dual Boot 2 Linux Distro's

Post by slipstick »

I'm triple booting with W7, LM17.3 (soon to be replaced with 19.1) and LM18.3. You didn't say whether your system is UEFI or MBR - mine is UEFI, so I'll describe what I did to install LM18.3 after I had W7 and LM17.3 already installed. Actually, it was very simple - I used gparted to set up new partitions for / and /home (my home partition has very little in it - my data is on a separate Data partition), and a new partition for Timeshift. Then to install, I selected "something else" and set the mountpoints for the /, /home/ and swap partitions (the Data and TimeShift partitions were set up after the installation). I used the same swap partition that I already was using for 17.3. I did not use a separate boot partition. GRUB on a UEFI system goes into the EFI System Partition. The installer found my LM17.3 system and my W7 system and added them to the GRUB menu. After installation, I added a line to fstab to automount the Data partition at boot and added a Data directory in my home directory, as a mountpoint for the Data partition.

The installer makes the last system installed the dominant one; that is, the one which appears first in the GRUB menu (at least, that's the way it works on a UEFI system). If that's not what you want, after installing the new system, you will need to boot into the one you want to be dominant and reinstall GRUB. Alternately, I think you could install the new system and select not to install a boot loader by using "ubiquity -b", then running "sudo update grub" from the old system, but I have not tried this. EDIT: I think that "ubiquity -b" only applies to Mint/Ubuntu installations.
I think MBR installation works in a similar manner, but there is no EFI System Partition and I believe the boot loader goes into unused space between the MBR and first partition.

Please supply some more info about your system by opening a terminal and running "inxi -Fxz" and pasting the result inside code blocks in your post.
Also running "sudo parted -l" and posting the results in code blocks would be helpful. Note - that option at the end of that command is a lower case L, not a number 1).
Last edited by slipstick on Sun Dec 16, 2018 1:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dual Boot 2 Linux Distro's

Post by jeffk969 »

UEFI.. Dell inspiron 3847. Out now, look forward to reading your post as soon as i can...
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Re: Dual Boot 2 Linux Distro's

Post by slipstick »

jeffk969 wrote:
Sat Dec 15, 2018 9:05 pm
UEFI.. Dell inspiron 3847. Out now, look forward to reading your post as soon as i can...
Well, in the meantime, a little info about how Mint boots in UEFI, as best I understand it. You should have a small (typically 100 to 500 MB) FAT formatted EFI System Partition (ESP). This is where the UEFI firmware finds the boot loader. On my system, it ends up mounted to /boot/efi, but at bootup, of course, it is not mounted since the UEFI firmware doesn't know about ext4 file systems - but it can read a FAT file system and can find the boot loader which is listed first in the UEFI flash memory (you can run "efibootmgr" in a terminal to see the list, or "efibootmgr -v" for more info).

In my system, the efi partition has a top directory of EFI with three subdirectories: Boot, Microsoft, and Ubuntu. Boot, I think, is a fallback boot loader if no boot loader is specified in the efi flash memory, Microsoft, obviously, is for my W7 system, and Ubuntu is for my dominant Linux Mint installation, which is currently 18.3. In the Ubuntu directory is the boot loader "grubx64.efi" (or "shimx64.efi" for use if Secure Boot is enabled) and a file named grub.cfg - this file is not the same as the /boot/grub/grub.cfg, but is a pointer that the boot loader uses to find that file. So the boot loader uses the file /boot/efi/EFI/Ubuntu/grub.cfg to find the configuration file /boot/grub/grub.cfg, and then uses that file to generate the GRUB menu. Then when I select a system to boot, the bootloader proceeds with the steps to load and initialize the OS. Or if I selected to boot W7, the boot loader chain loads Windows using the Windows loader in the "Microsoft" directory.

Before I installed LM18.3, /boot/efi/EFI/Ubuntu/grub.cfg pointed to the file /boot/grub/grub.cfg in the / partition of my LM17.3 system. When I installed LM18.3, the Ubuntu directory was overwritten by the installer when it executed "grub-install", so now /boot/efi/EFI/Ubuntu/grub.cfg points to the file/boot/grub/grub.cfg in the / partition of my LM18.3 system, which is, of course, a different partition. So the GRUB menu is different on LM17.3 and LM18.3. On my LM18.3 system, LM18.3 is the top entry in the menu, with 17.3 farther down the list, but if I boot up on LM17.3, that system is at the top of the list. LM18.3 is also listed farther down, because after I installed 18.3, I booted into 17.3 and executed "sudo update-grub" which updated the 17.3 /boot/grub/grub.cfg file to include the new LM18.3 system.

Now you say you want to install Zorin, which I don't know anything about. I would assume that it will install its bootloader under some subdirectory of /boot/efi/EFI if it is also using GRUB and will become the dominant system because listed first in the UEFI firmware list. Hopefully, when you install it, it will find your Mint installation and include it in its own grub.cfg file.

I hope this info will help you to understand the UEFI boot process, if you didn't already know all this. In particular, be aware of the awkwardness due to only have one "Ubuntu" boot loader directory for multiple versions of Mint (or Ubuntu).
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Re: Dual Boot 2 Linux Distro's

Post by jeffk969 »

OK, so after reading slip sticks post, I changed the boot to FAT 32. So here's how my hard disk looks:
The attachment Screenshot from 2018-12-16 16-27-25.png is no longer available
Here's also the results from inxi -FXZ:

mint@mint:~$ inxi -Fxz
System: Host: mint Kernel: 4.15.0-20-generic x86_64 bits: 64 gcc: 7.3.0
Desktop: Cinnamon 3.8.8 (Gtk 3.22.30-1ubuntu1)
Distro: Linux Mint 19 Tara
Machine: Device: desktop System: Dell product: Inspiron 3847 serial: N/A
Mobo: Dell model: 088DT1 v: A01 serial: N/A
BIOS: Dell v: A08 date: 06/29/2015
CPU: Dual core Intel Pentium G3260 (-MCP-)
arch: Haswell rev.3 cache: 3072 KB
flags: (lm nx sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 sse4_2 ssse3 vmx) bmips: 13170
clock speeds: max: 3300 MHz 1: 1204 MHz 2: 1607 MHz
Graphics: Card: Intel Xeon E3-1200 v3/4th Gen Core Processor Integrated Graphics Controller
bus-ID: 00:02.0
Display Server: x11 (X.Org 1.19.6 )
drivers: modesetting (unloaded: fbdev,vesa)
Resolution: 1680x1050@59.95hz
OpenGL: renderer: Mesa DRI Intel Haswell Desktop
version: 4.5 Mesa 18.0.0-rc5 Direct Render: Yes
Audio: Card-1 Intel 8 Series/C220 Series High Def. Audio Controller
driver: snd_hda_intel bus-ID: 00:1b.0
Card-2 Intel Xeon E3-1200 v3/4th Gen Core Processor HD Audio Controller
driver: snd_hda_intel bus-ID: 00:03.0
Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture v: k4.15.0-20-generic
Network: Card-1: Realtek RTL8111/8168/8411 PCIE Gigabit Ethernet Controller
driver: r8169 v: 2.3LK-NAPI port: e000 bus-ID: 02:00.0
IF: enp2s0 state: down mac: <filter>
Card-2: Qualcomm Atheros QCA9565 / AR9565 Wireless Network Adapter
driver: ath9k bus-ID: 03:00.0
IF: wlp3s0 state: down mac: <filter>
Card-3: Atheros usb-ID: 003-005
IF: null-if-id state: N/A speed: N/A duplex: N/A mac: N/A
Drives: HDD Total Size: 1000.2GB (0.4% used)
ID-1: /dev/sda model: WDC_WD10EZEX size: 1000.2GB temp: 28C
Partition: ID-1: / size: 1.9G used: 33M (2%) fs: overlay dev: N/A
ID-2: swap-1 size: 4.29GB used: 0.00GB (0%)
fs: swap dev: /dev/sda3
RAID: No RAID devices: /proc/mdstat, md_mod kernel module present
Sensors: System Temperatures: cpu: 29.8C mobo: 27.8C
Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: N/A
Info: Processes: 185 Uptime: 19 min Memory: 602.3/3862.8MB
Init: systemd runlevel: 5 Gcc sys: 7.3.0
Client: Shell (bash 4.4.191) inxi: 2.3.56

And sudo parted -l:

mint@mint:~$ sudo parted -l
Model: ATA WDC WD10EZEX-22M (scsi)
Disk /dev/sda: 1000GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/4096B
Partition Table: msdos
Disk Flags:

Number Start End Size Type File system Flags
2 1049kB 1075MB 1074MB primary fat32
1 1075MB 996GB 995GB primary ext4 boot
3 996GB 1000GB 4294MB primary linux-swap(v1)


Model: PLDS DVD+-RW DH-16AES (scsi)
Disk /dev/sr0: 4700MB
Sector size (logical/physical): 2048B/2048B
Partition Table: mac
Disk Flags:

Number Start End Size File system Name Flags
1 2048B 6143B 4096B Apple
2 1937MB 1939MB 2392kB EFI

After, I changed to FAT32, ran boot repair and tried install again, only to receive these errors:
Screenshot from 2018-12-16 16-52-42.png
Screenshot from 2018-12-16 16-52-59.png
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Re: Dual Boot 2 Linux Distro's

Post by jeffk969 »

Oops...
Screenshot from 2018-12-16 16-27-25.png
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Re: Dual Boot 2 Linux Distro's

Post by jeffk969 »

Just noticed that FAT32 partition doesn't say /boot any longer. Also shows up as a separate drive now under devices.... Hmmm
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Re: Dual Boot 2 Linux Distro's

Post by jeffk969 »

The FAT32 is now displayed under my devices.
Screenshot from 2018-12-16 15-27-19.png
I'm also debating... Should I just do a fresh install and start from scratch and then go step by step so I can make a tutorial
so others can use for a 'How To' guide...? I'm thinking I my want to have 3 distro's on one hard drive, with of course Mint as
my main os.

But first, I think a dual boot guide should come first.
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Re: Dual Boot 2 Linux Distro's

Post by slipstick »

Something is strange. You said you are using UEFI mode, which is generally associated with gpt formatted disks, but your parted -l listing shows that your hard drive is msdos formatted. As far as I know, UEFI must be used with gpt disks, and legacy BIOS systems are normally used with msdos (also called MBR) disks. I have heard that it is possible to use a gpt disk with a legacy BIOS system if you use a separate boot partition, but this is not a "standard" configuration. And I don't think you can use a msdos disk with a UEFI system. The first thing to do is to determine if you are really in UEFI mode. I assume from your last post that you have managed to boot back into your system, so can you post the result of

Code: Select all

ls /sys/firmware
. If this shows a directory named "efi" then you are running in UEFI mode. If you are in UEFI mode, at this point it may be best to just reformat your disk with a GUID partition table and make partitions for the ESP (550 MB is generally recommended), / (30 GB should be adequate, if you use a separate /home partition, otherwise, make it large enough to hold your filesystem and data), and swap (your current 4 GB should be adequate). Then reinstall. If you are not in UEFI mode, and want to stay with a legacy MBR system, you won't need the ESP FAT32 partition - as for whether you would need a separate boot partition in that case in order to multi-boot, I don't have enough experience with MBR systems to say.

Here's some more info from various web sites that may be helpful:
https://www.rodsbooks.com/gdisk/booting.html
https://blog.uncooperative.org/blog/201 ... partition/
https://www.happyassassin.net/2014/01/2 ... work-then/
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Re: Dual Boot 2 Linux Distro's

Post by jeffk969 »

jeff@jeff-Inspiron-3847:~$ ls /sys/firmware
acpi dmi memmap

Think I'm just going to do a fresh reinstall and go from there. Easier to document for Tutorial Guide.
I reset the BIOS, thinking it's not UEFI. Sorry.

I also saw that my OS is on sda. It should be on sdb. So a fresh reinstall would only prove to me that's the case.
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Re: Dual Boot 2 Linux Distro's

Post by jeffk969 »

In BIOS, the 2 choices were Legacy or UEFI. It was set on Legacy.
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Re: Dual Boot 2 Linux Distro's

Post by jeffk969 »

OK... So to help make a tutorial for the Linux Mint Tutorials, I decided to do a clean install. I had almost everything backed up on an External, so it wasn't that bad... Easier to go step by step.

I appreciate the help, and your time, for those that posted. I would like to keep this simple. Because for noobs like myself, many of these terms befuddle us and seem to get us overwhelmed. Also, when someone says something like, create a /root. Instructions on how to do so, hopefully with GParted, would be welcomed...

So here's my hard drive after the clean install and creating a swap...
Screenshot from 2018-12-17 22-58-25.png
I used this link to create swap (Used Method 2): https://www.fosslinux.com/1064/how-to-c ... -mint.htm/

So everyone, what's my next step? Thanks
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Re: Dual Boot 2 Linux Distro's

Post by jeffk969 »

Also to note, Dell Inspiron, Legacy Boot. Linux Mint Cinnamon 19
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Re: Dual Boot 2 Linux Distro's

Post by fabien85 »

So you are using Legacy/BIOS mode. Forget everything about UEFI.
You didnt need to make a swap partition. The installer would either have made it automatically (Mint 18) or made a swapfile (Mint 19) by choosing the default install.

Ok now you have one system installed. You want to dual boot, so you need space for the second OS.
As you see on your screenshot, the current OS takes up the whole drive, there is no space left.
Simplest thing is to resize the partition to leave empty space for the new OS.
Steps:
- boot the live USB (you cannot do that from the installed system)
- open gparted, select the linux partition (sda1, blue one in your screenshot), click Partition > Resize/Move, use the slider to choose the space you want to leave free, click resize/move then "apply all operations"
- grab a cup of coffee, this may be a bit long.
It's much faster on an SSD than on a magnetic hard drive. It gets slower the more data you have, so in fact it would have been better to do it just after installing the system, before restoring all your backups. Anyway just wait, with a good SSD it can take only 10 minutes.
- when it's finished, close gparted, shutdown, unplug the live USB
- check you can still boot to your Mint, just in case. (there should be no problem, but it's always good to check)
- boot the live USB of the second OS you want to install. If it is ubuntu-based, the installer should provide an option "Install alongside Linux Mint" which should work out of the box. If it is another OS, you will have to ask them how they provide the option to dual-boot.
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Re: Dual Boot 2 Linux Distro's

Post by jeffk969 »

Good Morning Fabien,
So should I delete the swap? Or Leave it? Thought it was needed for dual boot.
Also, when you say default install, I choose the erase disk & install. Should I have done a different method?
How?

Thanks,
Jeff
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Re: Dual Boot 2 Linux Distro's

Post by jeffk969 »

Also, if I do "Install alongside Linux Mint", won't it go to the partition Mint is on instead of the free space created?
Or would it be the something else option?
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Re: Dual Boot 2 Linux Distro's

Post by fabien85 »

Leave the swap as is.
"erase disk & install" is fine, we are going to build on it. (a more expert method would have been to set up yourself all the partitions for the dual boot, and then use the "something else" to tell Mint where to install. But that's a bit more complicated, and in fine we are going to reach the same result)
"Install alongside Linux Mint" will tell the installer to make its stuff in the free unallocated space. That's exactly what we want.
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Re: Dual Boot 2 Linux Distro's

Post by jeffk969 »

Hello,
OK, all set. I have it set up as instructed...
Screenshot from 2018-12-19 02-54-58.png
So now I'm going to try to install Zorin Core 12.4 (Ubuntu) and will let you know results.

I also want to know more on how to set up partitions and using the something else. I tried that prior. Could boot Zorin, but not Mint.
Maybe with your knowledge I can see where I went wrong....
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Re: Dual Boot 2 Linux Distro's

Post by jeffk969 »

It worked... Yippie... Now have Linux Mint & Zorin in dual boot... I also downloaded grub customizer (I know, people say don't, but I'm not that adapt with codes yet, nor could find a clear cut way or link on google). I want to boot into Mint automatically.. I tried moving the Ubuntu, with Linux, but that didn't work...

Screenshot from 2018-12-18 23-26-41.png
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