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I have Arch linux installed on my PC and I recently bought an SSD so I could install Gentoo on it. I am just unsure how to go about this. Do I need separate boot partitions if the two distros are on different drives? Do I need to mount my Gentoo drive on my Arch drive? Any help would be appreciated as I see people talk about dualbooting on multiple drives and I rarely ever see people talk about dualbooting two linux distros in the first place. Thanks.

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It sounds like you don't know much about dual-booting so maybe dual booting is not what you actually want? If you just want to try out Gentoo, probably the easiest way is to create a chroot. This is the same idea as in the Arch install guide.

Another easy option is to create a virtual machine. That way you can easily switch between the machines as well.

I have Arch linux installed on my PC and I recently bought an SSD so I could install Gentoo on it.

You don't need a separate physical drive to dual boot. You can just create a second partition on the same drive. Of course, since you have the drive now anyway you might as well use it.

Do I need separate boot partitions if the two distros are on different drives?

No. You don't need a boot partition at all if you use EFI. If you're using BIOS and installed something like Grub, your motherboard will boot into the one boot partition, and then Grub's UI (or whatever you have) will let you choose which OS you want to boot. Grub supports booting across drives, otherwise it would be quite a silly limitation.

Do I need to mount my Gentoo drive on my Arch drive?

It's not necessary. However, you may decide one day that you want to mess with Gentoo's files from Arch - then you can mount it if you want.

What I do with stuff like this is create 3 partitions:

  • 1 small for system files of OS 1
  • 1 small for system files of OS 2
  • 1 large for my actual data

And both OSes mount the data partition.

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  • I'm aware that a separate drive isnt needed for multiple os's, I just wanted a spare one for more space. I already had 2 drives before that. Thanks for the rest of the info though.
    – gansceal
    Commented May 19, 2023 at 21:25

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