I'm currently running Ubuntu 16.04.02 on a Samsung SSD. I would like to be able to dual boot my laptop so as to have Ubuntu running on the primary SSD for work purposes and then have Windows running on a secondary drive and use this for gaming and photoshop. I was given a 1TB HDD by a family member with the following partition table which I've just placed in my laptop's old optical drive bay using a hard drive caddy.

sdb             931.5G                 
├─sdb1 vfat       100M                 SYSTEM
├─sdb2 ntfs       900M                 Recovery
├─sdb3            128M                 
├─sdb4 ntfs     372.2G                 OS
├─sdb5 ntfs       450M                 
├─sdb6 ntfs     537.8G                 Data
└─sdb7 ntfs        20G                 Restore

For reference, this is my primary drive's partition table:

sda             232.9G                 
├─sda1 ntfs       450M                 Recovery
├─sda2 vfat        99M /boot/efi       
├─sda3             16M                 
├─sda5 ext4     224.5G /               
└─sda6 swap       7.9G [SWAP]

Is it possible to make a clean install of windows 10 on dev/sdb/ whilst keep my primary hard disk dev/sda/ unchanged with ubuntu running as I need this for work? Unfortunately, I do not have much experiences with partitioning.

  • My only concern would be the Windows installer might (unsure, that's why I don't write it as an answer) make use of the existing EFI system partition on the SSD instead of creating one in the HDD, which violates your requirement (and also making the Windows installation not standalone). One of the solutions could be (temporarily) changing the partition type of the ESP on the SSD to Microsoft Basic Data so that the Windows installer will not consider it as an ESP. Or if your laptop's UEFI has option to disable a disk, that would be a way too. – Tom Yan Aug 29 '17 at 12:58
  • @TomYan, they could also unplug the first drive as a solution whilst Windows is being installed. But first is the question of it being a laptop... – El8dN8 Aug 29 '17 at 13:06
  • 1
    Current install of Windows is BIOS with MBR partitioning. Since Ubuntu is UEFI, you really want to install Windows in UEFI boot mode and how you boot installer UEFI or BIOS is then how it installs. But can you directly boot from drive caddy. Some users have reported they cannot, others can? – oldfred Aug 29 '17 at 14:04

Yes it is possible to dual boot both Windows 10 and Ubuntu 16 on separate disks. Often times installing Windows 10 before installing Ubuntu is preferable because Windows is a little picky, but its issues can be resolved.

If you are certain you want to wipe the drive so you can install Windows 10, you may use "Disk Utility" found in Ubuntu or use the Windows Installation further on. In "Disk Utility" select the second hard drive, the one you wish to format and later be for Windows 10, Press Ctrl+F or right click and choose "Format Disk", to bring up a prompt labeled "Format Disk". Now of your choice of "Overwriting existing data with zeros" to make files non-recoverable or "Don't overwrite existing data (Quick)".

Before you installing Windows, you need to remove the primary HD so that Windows will not risk your primary HD. Assuming you know how to create an installation disk/usb for Windows 10, we'll continue with important installation steps for Windows 10. I'd recommend changing the disk partition table to GPT rather than MBR, for ease. Press Shift+F10 after when you choose "Install" for the time. This should open a command prompt. In the command prompt, type diskpart. List the disks available with list disk. The HHD should be listed with a number; select it with select disk 0. If you haven't formatted/wiped the disk run clean. To convert to gpt simply run convert gpt. Then finally, exit and exit again. Continue with installation. When confronted with the partitions allow Windows to do your work.

After you install Windows 10 re-install the primary HD (the SSD). In BIOS after doing so, you may have to change the boot order to the partitions such that the SSD is primary.

You should be able to access your grub; however, Windows may not be showing. So you would likely need to go back to Ubuntu where you would do the following steps (as found on this post in AskUbuntu):

  1. Boot Ubuntu and mount your Windows partition (simply open the disk on Nautilus)

  2. Run the following on the command line (Ctrl+Alt+T):

    sudo os-prober
  3. If your Windows installation was found, you can run:

    sudo update-grub

Note that step 2 is just for your convenience. You could just mount the Windows 7 partition and then run update-grub.

After that point, Windows in theory should show up in grub whenever you boot your computer, as well as Ubuntu.

I recommend being knowledgeable about partitioning. You do not want to mess up. This little guide was simple and quick, but it is always better to research by yourself before you start doing anything. If anything goes wrong, stop, and start researching the issue so you don't mess up.

  • Excluding the change I've made, this worked perfectly. Thanks! – Tom Pinder Aug 30 '17 at 7:32

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