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I'm going to install Arch Linux on an UEFI computer. I've also Windows 8.1 installed and I would like to keep this operating system in dual boot with Arch. I should ask many questions, because this is the first time I have an UEFI computer with GPT (I have only used the MBR until now.).

My Windows 8.1 system uses these partitions:

  • OS: normal NTFS partition, Where the OS is installed?

  • EFI partition (100 MB): The EFI partition created by Windows.

  • Windows RE (900 MB): I supposed that this is the recovery partition?

  • Windows RE (20 GB): Why is there an another partition of recovery?

Instead, I've done the partitioning for Arch, with classic /boot, /root and /home partitions.

My questions are:

  1. Suppose I have GRUB UEFI and os-prober: If I format the EFI partition during the Arch installation, will I be able to access it in Windows without any problems? I read that this partition has to be formatted.
  2. I've also read that I should enlarge this partition to about 200 MB, because I could encounter some problems/mistakes with dual boot. Is this necessary?
  3. Is there any method to enlarge the partition, without touching other partitions?
  4. Is it necessary to keep TWO recovery partitions of Windows? If I remove one of these recovery partition, what could happen? I prefer to remove the recovery partition with 20 GB, in my opinion it's only a waste of space.
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closed as too broad by slm Jul 2 at 22:41

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
Hi Black_Ram, welcome to unix.SE. If you have several questions on a topic, it's best to break them up into individual posts (referencing each other if need-be. Note though that the fourth question here is not on-topic at unix.SE. –  drs Jul 2 at 21:36

1 Answer 1

The Arch Linux Beginners Guide is great source for the general installation procedure:

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Beginners%27_Guide

Backup!

Just in case something gets wrong, I always find it very convenient to have a full backup of the disc to restore. I would suggest to boot into the Arch Linux Live system and connect and mount a portable HDD with enough space (I assume you mounted the HDD at /mnt/usb_hdd in my example).

Try lsblk or fdisk -l and look for the device name (for example sda). Make a backup with dd:

dd if=/dev/sda of=/mnt/usb_hdd/full_sda.img bs=4096

To save space you can also directly compress the image:

dd if=/dev/sda bs=4096 | gzip > /mnt/usb_hdd/full_sda.img.gz

Question 1 - UEFI Partition

Important: Do NOT format the UEFI-partition! When you follow the Beginners Guide linked above, just mount the UEFI-partition (at my laptop it is /dev/sda1) to /mnt/boot (just as you have to mount root and home). In the UEFI partition the files used for Windows would be deleted if you format it. Continue with the standard installation procedure according to the guide.

After rebooting, you should have Arch Linux and Windows boot options. Just one last thing: As far as I remember I had to disable the secure boot-option in my BIOS to be able to boot into both systems without any problems.

Question 2+3

You can in principle do this, but depending on your partition layout you need to move the subsequent partitions (/dev/sda2 and so on) to have empty sectors right after your UEFI partition. So extending the UEFI partition without touching the other partitions is very likely not possible.

I did not re-size my UEFI partition, right now Windows + Arch Linux use only 59mb. A larger UEFI partition can be useful if you plan to keep many different kernel versions at the same time, but with just one or two 100mb should be sufficient.

Question 4 - Windows Backup partitions:

A solution to this problem is to backup the backup-partition to a portable HDD. For this you can again use the dd-command. Then you have those Windows backup partitions on a HDD and would be able to restore them if you really need them.

Just be careful and double check if this partition is indeed a backup partition and not used for Windows fast boot / hibernation. There should be some description when you look at your partitions with the Windows Disk manager or with fdisk (for example with fdisk: Type: Windows recovery environment in contrast to Type: Intel Fast Flash).

Hope this helps.

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Welcome to unix.SE and thanks for your contribution chris-sc. You could do better staying on the topics presented in the question. It's distracting to read about how to backup partitions or to review the steps in a Arch Linux installation guide. –  drs Jul 2 at 21:31
    
Question 1: Ok, right. But, in my BIOS it isn't possible to disable the secure boot, it's only possible to disable the secure boot control. So, when I started the live CD, I had to enroll the hash of secure boot by loader.efi and vmlinux.efi, to allow the running of Arch Linux. Future problems post-installation? Question 2+3: If I want to install, alongside Windows and Arch Linux, a system based on a Darwin kernel, like Niresh? Question 4: I didn't understand the answer. Could I remove these partitions (or at least one) after a backup on a portable HDD? –  Black_Ram Jul 3 at 9:46
    
Q1: Should be fine. Q2: No clue, sorry. Might be worth a new question as we both should have learned :) Q4: Yes, if they are only used for backup, you can delete them. What I meant was that sometimes there is a partition used for fast boot (often in the laptops sold as "Ultrabooks") and this partition is needed for Windows. –  chris-sc Jul 3 at 12:50
    
I used diskpart tool to view the partition type. "Windows RE" with 900MB has "Recovery" label, instead the other with 20GB has "Restore" laber. Which is the partition for fast boot? I suppose "Recovery", because "Restore" is related to a backup. –  Black_Ram Jul 3 at 14:30
    
Maybe you could ask this in a new question in the right section (superuser maybe!?) - Those names and partitions are different for different laptops. –  chris-sc Jul 5 at 19:53

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