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Let me start by saying that I know this isn't the right site to ask but I do need an opinion. I recently bought Lenovo L340 with 1TB HDD + 256GB SSD with windows 10 home pre-installed on SSD. I wanted to install Linux Kali alongside it and was wondering if it'd be okay to install Linux on SSD and windows on HDD. Would it work properly? If not, what combination should I go for? With windows on HDD MBR will be on HDD and Linux on SSD will make grub on SSD. I think I'll have to choose to boot from a sleceted disk through bios every time I boot up.

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  • If Windows pre-installed then it is UEFI with gpt partitioning, not old BIOS with MBR partitioning. You want all installs to be UEFI. Your SSD is large enough for both installs, if you store larger data files on HDD. Linux typically only needs 25 or 30GB for a / (root) partition if /home or all data normally in /home is in another partition. Then both sytems will be faster as system is on SSD. Only data not always accessed is on slower HDD. Not Kali but similar since Linux: help.ubuntu.com/community/UEFI
    – oldfred
    Jun 26, 2020 at 16:34
  • I understand that windows is installed conforming UEFI spec with gpt partitioning and that both the OS'es can be installed on SSD. What I'm trying to understand is that if I reinstall both the OS with underlying UEFI rather than legacy mode(of course, each OS existing on different disk as I mentioned originally in my question), how difficult my life would it make and what kind of problems it might create. I perfectly understand as to what'll happen with legacy mode but don't for UEFI. Jun 26, 2020 at 18:13
  • Do not know if Lenovo has available a Windows image with its drivers. Otherwise you install the standard Windows and have to download all the Lenovo specific drivers from Lenovo's site. I have not installed Windows since XP, but typically more difficult than a Linux install.
    – oldfred
    Jun 26, 2020 at 20:25

1 Answer 1

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Moving Windows installs is not easy and, yes, way beyond the scope of this site. However from experience I would avoid trying to move a Windows install unless you are going to completely reinstall it. Since it came pre-installed you almost certainly don't have the install media to perform a fresh install.

The main difference between UEFI and legacy is that UEFI stores a file on a formatted partition (the EFI partition) where legacy installs it (or part of it) at the start of a disk or partition.

Unlike legacy, UEFI supports multiple boot loaders to be installed at the same time; they just have different file names. So you can cleanly install multiple operating systems wherever you like without isolating an OS per disk1.

If it were me, I would shrink your Windows c: drive on the SSD. And install your root (/) Kali file system on a new partition on the SSD. I've never needed more than 50GB for a linux distribution OS. If you are planning to store anything bulky in Kali then you can always add a partition on your large HDD and mount it as /home. Kali likes to do everything as root so you can make your own decisions about /root.

The purpose of doing it this way is that shrinking Windows partitions is relatively trivial compared to moving them entirely (in my experience). SSDs improve performance a lot when your program files are installed on them. SSDs make less difference when your documents are stored on them.


1 One caveat... Large Windows upgrades (Windows update?) have been known to completely reset / reformat the UEFI partition. It's rare but it does happen.

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