I currently have a Windows box with many drives in it. Many of them are in pairs, using a software RAID 1 via Windows 7, which supports mirroring. The drives in the RAID are all formatted as NTFS.

Can I install Linux as a dual boot?

If I boot into Linux, will bad things happen to my Windows software RAID? Will Linux just ignore the drives and leave things alone? I do NOT need Linux to view the contents of said drives.

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    Nov 17, 2011 at 19:36

2 Answers 2


Do you want to install GNU/Linux on separate drive? Will the linux installation access the RAID drives? In case, you just install Linux on separate drive whithout access to your windows ntfs formatted drives, nothing bad should happen.


Yes you can, however better option is installing Linux on a separate drive or in a virtual machine.

These are approximate steps that you would need to take:

  • free some space on one of the arrays you have for Linux partition. Make sure you don't change order of your windows partition, so add Linux partition after the Windows one.

  • install Linux on created partition and install GRUB. It will be your boot loader from now on. When installing Linux you will be installing it on one of the halves of your mirror, but make sure when you install GRUB it goes onto your boot drive (i.e. drive that BIOS considers a boot drive).

  • You will see your Windows partitions from Linux not as mirrors bit as individual halves. If you intend to work with any of Windows partitions from Linux you better setup dmraid.

  • If you want to mirror your Linux installation as well go with mdadm.

Make sure you have a fresh backup before you start screwing around with your system - this is high risk operation. Have fun :-)

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