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I have a 1 Terabyte HDD which is currently empty storage space for Windows which is on SSD. I want to split the HDD to two 500GB partitions and use first half as Windows storage space and the other half for Linux distro.

During Linux install when choosing to create the partitions yourself, there is an option to select the device for bootloader install. In this case i want to avoid dual-boot so i would choose the HDD for the Linux bootloader (so if i want to boot Linux, i would have to go through BIOS and change boot order between SSD and HDD).

I have done this operation before, but i used the whole disk back then for Linux.

What i want to know is if i install Linux on that other half of HDD, will it compromise my Windows install even if the bootloaders and installs are both on different disks?

Windows + Windows bootloader on SSD, and Linux + Linux bootloader on HDD.

Can the Linux install (other half) mess up Windows through the empty Windows storage partition (first half) on the HDD?

  • Just for clarification: Windows bootloader is on /dev/sda and if i choose /dev/sdb as the bootloader device on Linux install (Ubuntu or Mint for example), Grub will exist only on sdb and should not affect Windows bootloader on sda. At least on my laptop it worked like that, but it was full disk, not a partition. – K4R1 May 23 at 17:02
  • How dare you give Windows the better drive. Tisk tisk! – Anonymous May 23 at 17:08
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    Sacrifices must be made. This is my main computer and im still 95% Windows user due to video games that wont work on Linux yet. Besides, Linux loads from HDD faster than Windows. Other way around and my Windows would suffer from it. – K4R1 May 23 at 17:18
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...if I install Linux on that other half of HDD, will it compromise my Windows install even if the bootloaders and installs are both on different disks?

No.

Can the Linux install (other half of HDD) mess up Windows through the empty Windows storage partition (first half) on the HDD?

Not if you define you want a side-by-side installation on the HDD. Examples cannot be provided since you did not specify the distro you wish to use, so we can't know which installer you will see and what specific steps to take. That's another question to submit, anyway.

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    Actually, when i installed the bootloader on separate disk on my laptop, i did not receive the GRUB2 menu. it went straight to Windows. If i wanted to use Linux, i had to switch boot order from BIOS so that it would go to GRUB2 and through it to Linux. – K4R1 May 23 at 16:46
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    I think the GRUB2 takes over only if the boot device is the same as Windows. but in this case they are on different devices. – K4R1 May 23 at 16:47
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Another option that may make what you are doing easier is to install the rEFInd boot manager.
This can be done either manually with Windows or with a package manager in Linux.

On Arch Linux the command is:
# pacman -S refind-efi
# refind-install

This will attempt to find and mount your ESP, copy rEFInd files to esp/EFI/refind/, and use efibootmgr to make rEFInd the default EFI boot application.

On an RPM-based system:
# rpm -Uvh refind-0.11.4-1.x86_64.rpm

On a Debian-based system, the equivalent command is:
# dpkg -i refind_0.11.4-1_amd64.deb

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