I wanted to try Linux on my second SSD, so I downloaded the net install for debian. It would not connect to the DHCP, so I tried the full disk install. I used Rufus and UNetbootin to make an installation disk on a USB. When booting from the USB, it tried and failed to connect to the DHCP again, so I continued without it. When I got to the screen for partitioning drives, my 2 SSDs were not visible. There was only the USB. This was my main problem with Debian installation and I should have looked for help at this point.

Next, I launched the Debian installation disk from my main SSD. It started to setup a dual boot from the SSD, so I cancelled. I wiped my second drive; it has 100% unallocated memory according to disk management. I tried booting from the USB again and had the same result. At this point my PC has been turned off and on a bunch of times. A couple times it shutoff automatically during booting.

At this moment, disk management doesn't see my main SSD(960 Evo NVMe SSD), but it is seen in BIOS. Also, my second SSD(850 Evo SSD) will not hold a windows install. It goes into a startup repair loop.

So much stress from what seemed like a simple procedure. If anyone knows what I have done to my main SSD, I would appreciate some advice. Also, what steps should I have taken to prepare my second SSD for Debian?

closed as unclear what you're asking by Rui F Ribeiro, steve, schily, thrig, andcoz Jul 12 '18 at 16:04

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  • Need a lot more details... and a forum or chat room might be more appropriate. When you say "disk management doesn't see my main SDD" what tool are you using? Do you still have a functioning Windows install on a 3rd drive? Why are you trying to put windows onto a drive #2? (windows almost always needs to be on primary drive as set by bios, unless Win10 has improved things) Are you using classic-bios or UEFI bios? – dataless Jul 6 '18 at 1:55
  • From the BIOS I could see my #1 SSD as a boot option. When I was in my windows install on the #2 SSD I right clicked This PC and went to Disk Management. In there the #1 SSD was missing. – foolioskie Jul 6 '18 at 2:56
  • Next time I turned on the PC, the #2 SSD started the repair windows loop. The drive was plugged into the #2 SATA slot. You mentioned this is not a good idea. I am using Win10. As far as classic/UEFI goes, I think I boot with UEFI. I've since reinstalled windows to my #1 SSD. I'm worried about starting it up later and seeing the repair windows screen. – foolioskie Jul 6 '18 at 3:08
  • Back to the Linux install. Should I do anything to my #2 SSD before installing? I'm thinking about unplugging my #1 to avoid any complications. – foolioskie Jul 6 '18 at 3:10

I'm not much of an expert here, and was hoping someone else would chime in :-) I've set up dual-boot 3 times, but only once since Win10 came out, using Arch linux and the rEFInd boot menu. But, to provide some info you might find helpful....

First rule of dual-boot, make sure all your data is backed up! Make sure that you are prepared to freely wipe things and start over without worry about your data.

Next, I suggest using a Linux USB drive where you can boot off the USB and try and see if all the hardware is showing up. If not, you might need to browse around in your BIOS settings and enable/disable features that sound like "enable blah blah legacy mode". After doing this, you might also need to reinstall Windows (or put the settings back how they were to avoid that. Take notes about what it was when you started.)

With past versions of Windows on classic BIOS, there was a limitation where the windows boot loader needed to be installed on the first partition of the first bios drive. This might still be true. With great pain and perseverance you could get windows to live on a second drive, but then any changes to the layout of either drive would run the risk of damaging the windows loader.

While it's a nice idea to have the OSes located each on their own drive, the pattern that has yielded the most success for me is to set up the first drive with a small partition for boot-related things, then a main partition for Windows, then a main partition for Linux, (maybe a swap partition for linux) and then the rest of the space (on that drive and any remaining drives) as Fat32 or NTFS that I share between both operating systems.

Using this layout, I have in the past successfully wiped the individual OS partitions and reinstalled them without damaging the other OS on the drive, and this got easier with UEFI.

However, with UEFI it might also be possible to get Linux installed on a second drive more easily, since all you need to do (in theory) is tell UEFI to look to the second drive. Linux is usually pretty good about launching from wherever it was started from. For a debian-based desktop distro, I recommend Linux Mint. They have good forums where you could ask more specific questions about the install steps.

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